joint locks krav maga

April 25, 2022, Israel

Everything in life evolves. We no longer use the same means of communication as we did in the 1950's, or even as we did a few months ago, so why should I be expected to use the Krav Maga of the 1950's? We bow to no man and we make no man a god. Everything must be reevaluated to suit our needs. 

History is distorted to make legendary founders appear as god-like, and the followers, they follow. The point in question here is Krav Maga, as I pointed out in the History of Krav Maga there was no single founder and we owe allegiance to no man. Respect, yes, religious devotion? no.   

Now the question of what is Krav Maga today?  Members of our On Line Training Program send me videos (usually advertisements from other organizations). I watch and I gasp in horror. Why? I will answer that in a minute.

What is Krav Maga today? For the most part, in most places, it is boxing, with kickboxing, MMA, and jujitsu combined with gun and knife defenses from the 1950s'. It is an aggressive fitness workout designed to make foreigners feel really great about themselves, pumped up Israeli macho style and a personal feeling of empowerment.

But feeling empowered, while great for your personal self-esteem, will not stop a terrorist or a mad man or a rampage, nor a home-invader or a rapist. They do not care how empowered you feel. They do not care what belt rank you have or how fancy your diploma looks, do not care if you have direct linage to the alleged "founder". And therefore, neither do we, your instructors at IKI Krav Maga, Israeli Krav International.

Back to the video that was recently sent to me, and why it was so disturbing. I too once believed in the martial arts myth, the fantasy. I too once believed that if I only applied myself enough I would be able to perform this wonderful techniques. But I sobered up, it took a long time. I recall the early UFC bouts, masters from all styles came in and were summarily beaten to a pulp. Only on very rare occasions were they able to apply any of their techniques. The only occasions were jujitsu joint locks were applied was after a "Ground and Pound", in other words, once a man has been punched, kicked, beaten down, then a joint lock, as a winning finishing move could be applied. And again, these are professional athletes in the prime of their fighting career, these are hardly example for what you and I can do in a violent encounter that is not a sporting event.

And yet these locks are taught as real self-defense. In the video in question a young petite woman is caught by surprise. She is bear hugged from behind and pulled into a waiting car. Next we are shown the defense. She lowers her body, good start, and then reaches back (oh my, never a good idea) and grabs the burley man's arm. Now she is able to get him into a joint lock. Well, I am speechless. 

It looks great and there is a deep desire to want to believe that indeed, with some martial arts training, this will work. And for years I was among those believers. But this is totally unrealistic, I personally, after all my years of training, could not pull of the joint lock in the video. Joint locks are not effective means for self-defense. They are not effective means for defeating an attacker, they are designed for control, and that only after a criminal has been totally subdued.  

We use only simple techniques, we use gross motor moves, we do not rely upon precision, or speed, or great strength. This is a matter of life and death. As Woody Allen said about his character in The Purple Rose of Cairo, ultimately the character had to choose between reality and fantasy, she chose reality, despite the fact that it is harsh and bitter.  

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