June 16, 2024, Israel

There is a lot of what we do at IKI that does not fit the classic mode of Krav Maga. As with religion people accept certain ideas as truth, not to be questioned, not to be challenged, Dogma. At IKI we have no Dogma other than - This is your life, this is your survival, question everything. 

There is a great deal of ideas, concepts, and techniques in Classic Krav Maga that we reject, we do not "hold these truths to be self-evident". And I do believe that if the guys who were instrumental in the early development of Krav Maga were here today, they would agree with much of what I am saying. And again, like many systems, a false history is passed down, because it benefits those who propagate the myths. For a more accurate of view of history, please see Krav Maga History, and Krav Maga History interview. The Truth matters. 

I am amazed when I hear students from other styles repeat like a religious mantra, Every Defense is Also an Attack, really? Why? (No one ever really answers). Or the idea that aggression is always appropriate in all situations, (Cleary not so).

I already wrote a blog about the venerated Knee Kick, which is a Go-To technique of Classic Krav Maga. The knee kick is presented as Thee kick of Krav Maga, without properly understanding its many shortcomings and limitations. 

A technique we often see in Commercial Krav Maga, is the Eye Gouge. Just think of any Krav Maga poster; a big strong guy grabbing a woman, she reaches for his eyes, and with your thumbs she pierces his eyes. His face shows excruciating pain, and the assumption is that this works, and he will let go.

I don't think so. 

Let us analyze this for a moment. First let's look at the Wikipedia page on eye gouging; "Training in eye-gouging can involve extensive grappling training to establish control".  The reference here is to martial arts that use the eye-gouge. In other words, before you reach the point of implementing the eye-gouge you will have to struggle to get to the correct position. Now, I do understand that the Krav Maga eye-gouge that is frequently advertised is from a position where the path to the eyes is wide open, i.e. the guy is grabbing/hugging the women, her arms are free, and his face is unprotected. But still, I do not believe this is an easy technique.


1. The way the body is built affords natural protection to the eye. It is a small area surrounded by hard bone. One would need to be very precise, a direct shot to the eye. Not as easy as it seems.

2. A person naturally protects the eyes. When the sun enters, we squint, if someone splashes at the beach, or throws sand, we naturally close our eyes, or turn our heads, or tilt our heads. It is difficult to imagine that a smaller, weaker, person would so easily be able to reach and penerate the eyes and disable the attacker. Seems more likely to me that the Bad Guy would close his eyes momentarily, or tilt his head, or adjust his body. Any one of these minor adjustments would be enough to negate the eye-gouge, and, put the women in a worst position. And yet this is presented as a quick and easy solution. Why? Because it sells! It looks easy and effective, but that is far from the truth.  

3. If the eye-gouge fails, where does this leave you? In a very vulnerable position. You are overly relying on this questionable technique. We prefer techniques that improve our escape and defense position, and even if they do not work perfectly, they get you out of the immediate danger.

4. We can never really practice this technique. We can only simulate it. You can actually punch a person, you can punch a bag, but imagine if you always pulled your punches, stopped short of the target, you would never develop the muscle memory and the psychological ability to hit. If the first time you actually did an eye-gouge was in a real-life violent situation, Wow, I think that is very risky. 

5. Many people will never be able to do this; to actually stick your finger in someone's eye! Most people would be repulsed by this, and in the moment of truth find themselves unable to do this. And again, they would have never really practiced this. We can do an actual gun disarm, with a fake gun that looks and feels real, or a real gun that has a safety mechanism on. We can train in knife defense and it will feel real. We cannot actually practice eye-gouges

For all these reasons I do not teach the eye-gouge as I do not see as a realistic usable technique. We have far better, and safer, ways to handle this situation. 


Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.

Understand the Israeli Fighting Mentality - Israel a Nation of Warriors by Moshe Katz


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