August 11, 2015, Israel
The question comes up now and then; is there a place for sparring, or fighting in Krav Maga?
The answer is simple; yes and no.
When I see "Krav Maga competitions" or "Krav Maga tournaments" that is a sure sign that someone misunderstood what the term means. There can be no such thing as a Krav Maga competition.
Krav Maga is not a sport. It is not kickboxing, or Judo or MMA or anything along those lines.
Terrorists, muggers and rapists are not sportsmen. Rape is not a sport nor is hijacking.
The entire point of Krav Maga is pure self-defense and nothing else. The entire point is you will not be in the mood for a fight, you will not be looking for a fight and you will not be prepared to fight just now.
You will be out for dinner with your family, you will be waiting impatiently for the train or bus to arrive, you will be withdrawing cash from the ATM.
You will be wearing a business suit perhaps, a dress, a skirt, a winter coat, not a karate gi or Thai boxing shorts. You could be in an elevator, a narrow stairway, a small entrance to an apartment building, on a boat, on a goat, with a bat or a cat, at night with a kite, at day or at play...anywhere, anytime.
You will not chose the time of the event or your "partner".
So there is no sparring in Krav Maga. However...
Sparring does have its place as a supplement to Krav Maga and we really should include it in our training, within limits.
Moshe during Black Belt kickboxing test, with Itay Gil...long time ago...
Pros and Cons:
Pros: We must all learn to cope with fear and pain. We must all know what it is like to see a punch or a kick coming our way. We must feel some pain, perhaps even see some blood and keep on going. We must test our will to live, our will to survive.
Feeling a little fear, a little pain, is an important part of our Krav Maga training. Sparring gives us that opportunity, to feel fear and pain, to experience a little bit of a real confrontation.
Cons: Some people may develop "Sporting habits". We must remember that a kickboxing fight, or MMA style fight is very different from a real attack.
We do not want to see our students rolling around on the ground looking for an arm-bar, or dancing around in circles trying to get that perfect roundhouse kick. We must remember that this is not a Jean Claude Van Damme movie. The incident must be over in a matter of seconds.
Conclusion: Krav Maga is not a sport. It is an art of self-defense and survival. Getting home alive is your only trophy. Other activities can be great supplements to your Krav Maga training such as sparring, general fitness, good nutrition and learning foreign languages.