Why Most Krav Maga is Useless
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

January 13, 2020, Israel

My personal journey involved many martial arts. While at first I was the "master say, student do" type, gradually I began to question techniques and ideas. When I say gradually I am speaking of a period of decades, not minutes.

My journey really began when I started teaching. I noticed students having trouble with some of the techniques. I recall walking over to a girl having trouble with a gun disarm, fully ready to point out the mistakes she was making and explain to her what she was doing wrong. To my surprise she was doing nothing wrong, she had followed the instructors perfectly but the technique still did not work.

I looked at her skinny arms and small frame and realized at once that she was built nothing like the person who had taught me this technique. I had to change the technique, and thus, a new journey began. 

I began to look at my students, average men and women, and developed techniques that worked for them and not against them. I needed techniques that gave them confidence rather than a feeling of failure and inadequacy. I needed techniques for the person with average ability, average build and average body. I needed techniques for people who were not going to drop everything, move in to the Shaolin Temple and devote themselves full time to combat training, mind, body and spirit. I needed techniques for regular people, not stunt actors or magicians.

Most of what I see advertised as Krav Maga falls into two categories, often combined; Slight of hand magicians and Body building brawn, beat 'em. 

The slight of hand techniques depend upon the same qualities a professional pick pocketer uses; slight of hand, the hand is quicker than the eye, surprise, agility and highly developed skill levels. The Brawn approach is simple; massive body building, fitness, a mean expression on your face etc. 

If you think about it you will realize that these are not for the average person. The average person will feel frustration, "out of their league" and will drop out quickly. The truth is that even for the person who attains this skill level it will be near-impossible to perform these feats in a real life violent situation. 

The magician performs in front of a crowd. He has the stage to himself, the room is silent and he is ready to perform. But imagine him being chased by a man with a knife, an ax or a machete. Imagine a man pointing a gun to his head; would he be able to perform with the same agility and expertise? Would he be willing to bet his life on these slight of hand techniques? That is the situation of most Krav Maga styles today.

Do not be fooled by videos, anyone can look good in a video, it is called acting, choreography, make up, editing etc. Can you tell the difference between a movie scene and reality?

So you think you can tell heaven from hell? Blue skies from pain?

Good rule of thumb to follow: If it looks too good, too cool etc, it probably is worthless. It pains me to see so many people looking for real self defense only to fall into the hands of these instructors; tough poses, fancy videos with amazing disarms. It is like watching a child crossing a busy street without looking both ways. You want to shout STOP.

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