Krav Maga and Mixed Martial Arts
By Moshe Katz
Krav Maga Instructor, Israel

January 30, 2010

I am often asked if training in mixed martial arts is the same as training in Krav Maga, or if training in Jeet Kune Do is similar to Krav. My answer is straight forward; No!

The only styles that are similar to Krav Maga are things that sound like, "World War Two Combatives", or "Reality Based Self Defense", etc. Everything else is art, sport, or health, but not self defense.

Let's analyze this. The first question you must ask is what is the intent? In the "Big Lebowski" Walt takes out an assailant by bowling a bowling bowl at the guy, hitting him in the stomach. Similarly you can throw a basketball at an assailant or hit him over the head with a baseball bat, yet few would argue that learning to bowl or play baseball is your best bet in self defense training.

So let's ask ourselves what is the intent in mixed martial arts training? Is it hard core street survival? No, this falls into the category of extreme sports, or extreme martial sports. Would a mixed martial arts champion have some strong self defense abilities? Certainly, but so would a home run champion with a bat, or Walt with his bowling bowl. The point is this is not focused self defense training, this is sports training. Ask an MMA guy (Mixed Martial Arts) what his goal is, it will be; win the UFC title or some other tournament. I doubt he would say, "Get home from work in one piece."

So MMA, Jeet Kune Do, and all those other Do's (Judo, TaekwonDo, Aikido, etc) are not about street survival. They are about fighting, which is not the same as surviving, or about art, culture or sport. Krav Maga is about surviving. Side benefits include fitness, health, fun etc, but those are not the focus just as a side benefit of some martial arts is survival but that is really not the focus.

It may come as a surprise to some people that most martial arts are not about self defense and survival, as they usually claim they are. In fact they began as such hundreds of years ago but evolved into sports or cultural activities. Ask any instructor this one simple question; how often do you change techniques? When was the last time a technique was dropped because it failed a real life violent encounter? If the answer is never, then this is no longer a street centered form of self defense.

As Bruce Lee pointed out so many years ago, most martial arts have become fossilized, stylized, and useless. They are museaum pieces. A true self defense martial art must be constantly evolving, taking current circumstances into account. Krav Maga is such an art, it is alive, as we hope it's practitioners will be as well.

Krav Maga has one goal, your personal survival. We don't care about trophies or tournaments or titles; leave that for the other arts.

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.