Short Courses Krav Maga
By Moshe Katz
Head Instructor Israeli Krav International

January 14, 2019, Israel

You have seen them advertised, short term self-defense courses. 5 hours, 7 hours, perhaps even a full day or a few short sessions. Are they have any value?

You have seen them, thought about them, and wondered, Should I?

I have met many of the graduates of such programs. When they hear I am a Krav Maga instructor they say, Oh, I took one of those courses. And then I ask them to tell me what they remember or show me what they learned. 

The answers have been ...disappointing. 

I would say that the overwhelming majority of such courses are useless and a total waste of time, but wait, before you dismiss the idea, there are some exceptions. 

What should those successful short term courses include.

They must focus on things the average person can learn and retain. As we say in IKI, easy to learn, easy to apply in a variety of situations, easy to remember. That is essential.

I would begin with understanding the nature of violence. I would focus on Situational Awareness and Violence Visualization. I would do scenario training.

In terms of techniques I would use only simple gross motor moves. I would focus on body movement rather than on rapid hand movements, more suited for magicians and musicians than for ordinary people trying to survive a violent encounter. 

What we the instructors must understand is that most people have no clue about personal safety. Common sense is not common, it must be learned.

A few examples: today I heard of a man in Israel, he withdrew a great deal of cash from his account, put it in his bag, placed the bag on the seat next to him on the bus and fell asleep. Note, the bag was on the aisle seat and he was on the window seat. Result? You guessed it, when he awoke his bag was gone, the cash was gone, his credit card and his ID. We must train people to think defensively. It is not obvious. 

  • A tourist, one of our own members, lost his wallet with all his cash and I.D.s how? Apparently as he removed some coins from his pocket, while sitting on the bus, the wallet came out (happens). He did not pay attention and only noticed it when he came to pay me his Krav Maga dues.
  • Solution: Awareness, when I travel I keep checking my pockets to make sure I know where my passport is. I check; cash, credit cards, passport. Paranoid? I think not. I don't want to find myself in a foreign land without my cash, credit cards or passport. 
  • Two girls on the dream vacation. As they arrive at the airport, with their passports and cash in the back pocket of the backpack, you guessed it, Gone, along with their dream vacation. Should be obvious, but instructors should not assume anything. This must be taught. 
  • Two tourists in New York, walking down the subway, unaware of how to hold their obvious bags. Two teenagers walk by and grab the bags, it is no struggle, the bags and cash are gone.
  • A man walks into Western Union to send cash, owed to another individual. But first he is approached by a man with a gun. The cash was nicely placed in a handbag.  I, the intended recipient, never received the money owed to me. Don't carry cash in a bag as you walk into a money exchange place. should be obvious. 
  • Walking out of a parking lot, talking on the phone to your kids, car keys in hand. You are totally distracted. Guess what? There is a guy looking for a woman just like you. Soon he will be driving off in your new car, with your bag and all your cash, and that fancy cell phone.

All of the above should be obvious? Perhaps to you, but not to the average person. All these cases happened, I know them personally. 

So if you are going to teach a short-term Krav Maga or self-defense course, focus on these points plus a few very basic gross motor techniques. And, make it clear that this does not make them Krav Maga experts. I have heard this too many times, "You are a Krav Maga instructor? Oh, yes, I too took a course", and therefore they have no need for further training (in their own minds).

Would you hire an electrician who took a 5-hour course?