DO YOU need to be fit to do Krav Maga? 

 November 10, 2020  

Fat Tony Salerno, a real gangster, Genovese crime family. 

This is not one of our students, although all are welcome. This is a professional fitness model. 

In America Krav Maga is often advertised as a fitness activity; as in: Hey Folks! Learn to defend yourself and get fit at the same time at Krav Maga...XYZ. I hope you know by now to avoid these commercialized programs with highly diluted self defense at best. This is not Krav Maga, perhaps it is a good fitness program, I have no clue.

My point is that while certainly many have lost weight and improved their fitness with Krav Maga, that is not our goal and it is often contradictory. If I need to explain a technique, well, you are not burning any calories while I am speaking. You are also not burning calories while we are learning a new technique and doing it slowly until everyone understands it. When we train full force, when we kick and punch, yes, you will burn plenty of calories then, but that is only part of the lesson.

What I wish to address today is how fit do you need to be to do Krav Maga? How fit do you need to be to use Krav Maga effectively as self-defense? Is top physical fitness a prerequisite for being able to use Krav Maga.

Many Instructors will say yes, I say no. 

As part of my Krav Maga studies and as a general interest, I study the lives of gangsters, past and present. In the old days Gangsters' had colorful nicknames. Some of my personal favorites are Cadillac Frank, Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonanno, Louie the Lump, and Kid Twist. There were actually two Kid Twists, the first was Max "Kid Twist" Zwifach, a nice Jewish kid from Brooklyn. The other was Abe "Kid Twist" Reles, another Jewish kid from Brooklyn. His parents came from Austria seeking a better life. His father sold knishes on the streets of Brownsville, Brooklyn, but young Abe wanted more. He hung out with guys like Harry "Pittsburg Phil" Strauss and Bugsy Goldstein. He also mingled with many Italian friends such as Harry "Happy" Maione and Frank "Dasher" Abbandando. 

Another cool nickname was Fat Tony, as in Fat Tony Salerno, a notorious gangster, and here we get to the point of this stroll down gangster memory lane. You did not want to mess with Fat Tony Salerno. Based on his nickname I would assume he was not very fit. In fact when you look at photos of gangsters few are very fit. Having buddies like Michael "Trigger Mike" Coppola helped.  

So you can be a cover boy for Muscle and Fitness magazine, but what if a guy puts a gun to your head? All this means is you die fit. What about a sudden stab to the throat? If you end up duking it out on the street, sure, fitness will be a factor. But most crime takes just a few seconds, and that is where Krav Maga training comes in. You need to understand crime, violence and self-defense. Being fit will not tip the scales in your favor.

With our style, IKI Krav Maga, we encourage you to be fit, but we do not make this a perquisite for training nor do our techniques depend upon anything but average or below average fitness levels. We are here for you, the regular person; Fat Tony, Skinny Milly, Fit Tim and Slim Jim. 

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