Krav Maga Street Self Defense
By Moshe Katz and Hal Herndon

June 24, 2013

I would like to present a guest blog by my friend, colleague, and I am honored to call him my student, Mr. Hal Herndon. But first, a few words of my own.

Many Krav Maga schools try to present themselves as Para-Military organizations with all the bravado that goes along with it. As Hal will point out there is a great deal of "Machismo" involved. This has little or nothing to do with the real life self defense needs of most people who turn to Krav Maga for help.

As part of our Tour and Train program we do offer Counter Terrorism training. This is useful for several reasons: the instructors reinforce my message about the roots of Krav Maga as they have developed in Israel, our unique situation as a nation under attack, and our fight for survival. All this helps the Krav Maga student/instructor from abroad understand why our style of Krav Maga is as it is.

Our Counter Terror training is not designed to turn you into an Israeli counter terror expert but to give you a feeling of what it means to live under the constant threat of terrorism. This in turn will greatly deepen and enhance your understanding of Krav Maga.

There is a huge difference between the training Counter Terrorism experts must undergo and that of Krav Maga students. Our instructor Steve Gar points this out, and Hal echos these sentiments in the blog below.

Steve tells the following story.

"My best student was nearing the completion of his training. I decided to do everything possible to make his life a living hell. Everyone went for a 4 kilometer run. I told this guy, 'Chil out, take it easy.' When the group came back and I measured their timing, I took the best time for the 4 kilometer run and said to the guy who was chiling out, OK, now you have to run 4.5 kilometers and beat the best time by the rest of the group.

He ran so hard than when he came back he vomited. He pushed his body to its limits and beyond, he graduated the course."

The student taking the counter terror course was preparing for a career as a counter terror expert. He would certainly face situations where he had to run several kilometers and then attack a terrorist. He had to be able to sprint (not run) long distances and then attack. This, however, is not what the average person, soldier or civilian, will need in their everyday life. The average person coming to learn Krav Maga will not be required to face that sort of situation. The average incident is between 3 -5 seconds. The average terror incident is about 7 seconds.

Counter Terror training and Krav Maga training are not the same thing. Using military machismo to sell Krav Maga is simply poor ethics. Our Krav Maga is for EVERYONE.

Steve Gar, Counter Terror expert.

Guest blog
By Hal Herndon



I see blogs, Facebook posts and other internet “posts” where martial artists are espousing their “macho-ism” and likely trying to impress potential and current students with their ability and/or willingness to run 20 miles every day in 120 degree heat, run up and down bleachers or other significantly difficult (for normal or mortal people) in similar conditions. 

As a point of departure for this post please take note that I totally respect, admire and envy (In a way) anyone who can do this on a consistent basis.  These folks set a great role model image for those of us who are less inclined to spend our lives emulating their achievements. 

All of this “extreme?” conditioning is great and certainly productive if your approach to training is geared to enable you to fight and/or defend yourself on a regular basis, such as MMA or UFC or similar endeavors.  

Active military personnel who will be logically going into combat zones need all of this and more to survive and hopefully that is a “given” to most of the readers of this post.

Then we come to the “average person” who simply wants to learn how to deal with a potentially life threatening situation or a situation which may end up with either the defender or his/her aggressor in a hospital in intensive care, etc.

In the U.S. our society is without question deteriorating into a situation whereby most of us may well need to learn how to stop an attacker.  The current and devolving economic situation dictates that a number of people are destined to do things that they would, in other (i.e., more normal or perhaps more hopeful) situations, would never previously even considered doing…..Home invasions, muggings, random carjackings and just plain killings of innocent people are becoming more and more normal in our environment and are becoming all but rampant in some areas.

At the same time, extreme liberal thought tends to excuse virtually any act of violence and blame same on anything that the general (and generally uneducated) public will accept as “a given” and that we have to accept it as a part of our politically correct environment….

All of this as a ‘given’ point of departure, I have to admit that I tend to defer to the old testament concept of “an eye for an eye” , etc.  Unfortunately our continually devolving legal and political system is not conducive to this concept so (within the current politically correct parameters of behavior we must “forgive” anyone who does something wrong (regardless of the severity of those actions)  and permit them to continue (in perpetuity, so it seems) to continue to repeat that ‘wrong’ in spite of the fact that many (actually most) of them cannot be “rehabilitated”.

After all of the above banter and a sort of rant we absolutely have to consider alternatives….

Consider the typical (i.e., ‘normal’) person in the U.S…. Let’s call him/her “Joe” or “Jane” USA and for the sake of simplicity let’s just refer to him/her as “PV” (for potential victim).

Without further qualification, PV is not at all interested in learning how to fight, how to win an MMA or UFC contest or even spending the time and effort (and, in some cases, money) to learn and become proficient at a traditional martial arts system. 

In reality, PV simply wants to learn how he/she might have a better than average or better than ‘normal’ chance of surviving what may be a life threatening confrontation.

This brings me to IKI/Krav Maga.  This is what we do and what we (GMKM/IKI Krav Maga) teach……I have had a number of people come to me and say they want to learn how to fight.  I tell them that we (I) do not teach people how to fight…..((Rest assured that we can, but we (I) choose not to do that)).  We teach people how to avoid fighting.  I have had others who seem to relate the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) “Systems”  to a means of learning how to “kill people”.  My personal response (based on well over two decades of training) is simply this:  “I can teach your how to kill somebody but I will not ever do that…..If you are a good and dedicated student I will give you options which, with good judgment and awareness can result in more or less damage to an attacker or aggressor but how, where, IF and when you opt to implement these options becomes your responsibility. 

What a lot of people fail to understand is that the Israelis respect the life of any individual (even a defined and committed enemy) much, much more than most of ”us” do.  This (killing people) is NOT Krav Maga…..Krav Maga is purely simplified and totally effective self defense and personal survival which, in the vast majority of instances, does not involve killing or even seriously hurting anyone. 

Note that by any standards or definitions of survival the best possible self defense of self protection tactic is simply “Don’t Be There”…..((Easier said than done in some circumstances and in some communities but regardless it is always the best alternative)).

Unfortunately some of the people who have broached this subject are beyond baffled at my response.  Indeed I am capable of showing someone how to kill and/or maim…..I do not promote either unless there is no option available at the time and that is and should be, frankly very rare.  It is important to remember that we must live with the consequences of our decisions, even if those decisions are forced upon us under great pressure.

Passing thought or comment…..Death is  permanent…..Survival is momentary and satisfying…..There may come a time when you have no choice but to neutralize (or otherwise permanently disable) an aggressor……Only you can decide in that scenario. 

We (IKI/KM/GMKM) promote individual survival no matter what it takes. That is who we are and what we do.

Hal teaches Krav Maga at Georgia Mountain Krav Maga in Gainesville, Georgia (USA) and can be reached at

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