Not Hard Enough
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

July 2, 2014

Training with John Liptak, Florida, USA

Sometimes I feel like I am banging my head against the wall.

Why can't people get it?

Our Krav Maga is designed to save lives. It is not the K-1 fights, it is not the world boxing championship, it is not the UFC - Ultimate Fighting Championship and it is not any form of martial sport.

Our goal is for you to get home alive. And who is you?

You is everyone: the young and the old, the fit and the unfit, those of you with perfect bodies who live in the gym and those of you are overweight moms.

You is the size Small to the size 5XL T shirt. You is the guy with the bad knee and the woman who is so skinny a strong draft will knock her down.

You is the 70 year old man and the teenage girl who suffers from anorexia.

Our techniques are built on the nature of surprise. That means that work better when you are surprised. If you train with anticipating the technique it will not work so well, for they were not designed for that.

We use the element of surprise to our favor. Like Aikido and Judo we use the force, the push, the energy of the other person to our benefit. We go with the flow.

We use natural simple movements. We do not rely on memorization or on strength. Simply put these will fail you in a real life encounter; tried and proven.

We train for reality.

Now some folks think that "training for reality" means going full force and beating the crap out of everyone in your Krav Maga class. Nope, sorry, you got it wrong, that is Fight Club.

Training for reality means exactly that; training for the type of circumstances you might encounter in a real life violent situation.

We train for logic.

Many styles of Krav Maga automatically throw in a bunch of knee kicks and elbows. Now those are of course solid techniques but there are not always necessary, in fact often they are counter productive. It is like saying salt is good so lets add salt to every dish, no matter what. That will ruin most dishes.

Just yesterday I was discussing some defense vs stick attack with IKI Black Belt instructor John Liptak from the USA. We viewed some clips and he said..."not big on the first elbow strike". i.e. in the defense he was discussing the elbow strike was counter productive. The attacker had a stick and the main goal is to secure the arm with stick so that the person cannot continue hitting you with the stick. But letting go of his arm in order to do the elbow strike you are giving him a way out. You can giving him a golden opportunity to escape your hold.

In the commercial video of course the bad guy gets beaten up but in real life that elbow but miss, or not knock him out and then the guy will pull his stick away, (since you released his arm in order to do the elbow) and he will hit you with it repeatedly.

The point is our goal is to survive. Sometimes that involves hitting and sometimes it does not. Wisdom is the key here.

And yet one of our members just wrote me the following about a friend who trains in a different style of Krav Maga,  "Of course he got interested in what I learned in IKI, but is suspicious, that your way of training is not hard enough for him".

"Not hard enough for him". Is that the goal? to be hard, or to survive?

Who said survival had to be hard? We can go as hard as anyone, if need be. If need be.

If I said there is a way to get out of a situation by telling a joke, would someone say, "it is not hard enough"?

In the example with the stick attack, the hard attack would be counter productive and may lead to your rapid death while the smart approach would save your life, even if it is "not hard enough".

This way of thinking I feel is a product of misinformation and reckless advertising. Sadly the public believes that self defense must be "hard".

An effective method of self defense is viewed as "suspicious" because we do not beat up our students enough. What a strange world we live in.

Sometimes a smaller caliber weapon is the correct choice, it should not be dismissed because it is "not hard enough", it might be just the right caliber for the job.

Train responsibly.

Be open minded, not hard headed.


I do not mean to criticize other methods of Krav Maga just because they use a different approach. However there are people who come to learn self defense, not wrestling, not sparring, and are not there for a "good sweat" or a work out.

Many of the Krav Maga schools out there do not really focus much on teaching actual self defense, for the very reason that it may appear "not hard enough".

An American visiting in Israel contacted me about learning Krav Maga and complained bitterly about wasting his time and money with another school. I will include his letter but I will not mention the name of the school.

It was with one of the XYXY instructors on Hilel and I took classes from Dec to June. All we did was run around the mat and do some cardio for 45 min. Then we did more kick boxing and the instructor only showed us a couple defense against a knife attack, how to sprawl, and boxing techniques. 

I explained to the instructor I wanted to learn techniques but we spared every class and I know how to fight. I have taken karate, wrestled all through high school. Taught Defensive Tactics in police for 25 years. I currently am approved through the US Department of State to teach Defensive Tactics to Protective Services Personnel. My current job is protection, I simply wanted to learn all Krav Maga has to offer and apply that to my current skills. I felt like the instructor did not want to listen to my concerns so I left him with 500 shekel and walked away. I don’t want to talk bad about another place, but I am sure you understand with taking many different types of martial arts. 

We also have to maintain a high level of fitness for our jobs, so running around a mat and doing wind sprints in a room with a bunch of push ups and boxing was not productive for every single class...

In another case a friend wrote about a class, where she, someone not trained in boxing or punching, was told to participate in a drill where one punches "as hard and as fast as one can".

She broke her wrist.

This should never happen in a class.

Another case, in the USA. After one lesson this woman decided to quit Krav Maga. Sadly she will not return to Krav.

I had a friend take a photo of my injury after my first day in KM. The bruise was so deep, I could feel it in my bone, thus ending my desire to learn KM. I don't even practice boxing anymore because my wrist is fragile.
I moved on to other ways to defend myself.


A Personal note

Something I have rarely shared with anyone. I usually state that my martial arts training began when I was a rabbinical student in Jerusalem my first experience was actually much earlier.

I believe it was first grade when for some reason I signed up for a Judo club, an after school program. All I recall is being slammed to the ground by the teacher. Before long I was spending the time riding my bicycle and then coming home just after the lesson was over. My parents never knew.

Thus, if I had a wiser teacher, one who knew how to teach rather than bully a small, undersized child, my career could have begun 15-20 years earlier.

Something to think about tough guys.


Hi Moshe,

It must have been that somebody doubted something, right...?

I can say from my part, and confirm what you said in your mail - IKI has it all!

Let me refer to one example which doesn't involve exactly power/aggression/resistance - I will explain my impression.
I still remember when I attended Tour and Train (June 2012 I think) and in the evening hours we all sat down after the training and one of local students stepped up.  It was his time to be tested (the young man, whom I met again in June 2013 on my way to the corner shop, at the time serving in IDF, the name was Maher I think, sorry if misspelled).
He went through all spectrum of techniques (gun, knife, rifle, all), and I remember his amazing speed and accuracy while doing everything, the flow, it all made me so highly impressed.  In everything he did I saw your expertise and methodology delivered and applied.  And I said to myself 'this is result of IKI training', and it was a green belt test.  I was hundred percent sure that he would know how to handle any situation at hands.
So every time when I'm there I look at the guys like Laizer, Baruch and Jonathan and I know for sure that any of them is more than capable to turn ballistic, literally, if they would be pushed 'against the wall'.  

Finally, if anyone questions lack of fighting and aggression, let me say on my part, if I would be forced to, I would surely know how engage full force, aggressively, moving forward - the training I have covers all, upgrades new things and all put together makes a whole that would surely come out in right proportion of technique and force. By all means, IKI KM works, and it has all!!!


 Great Blog Moshe Katz! The question is NOT if IKI is hard enough ... the question is are the others intelligent enough

Jürgen Köhler 


IKI Krav Maga, does not prepare or train for high competition champions or experts to military missions.

IKI Krav Maga prepares all people who want to learn simple and effective ways to defend themselves against the daily hazards techniques. Without putting anyone out nor religions or martial She has worked.

The IKI Krav Maga is to concern the defense of all who seek wisdom to practice every day in self defense and in daily life.

From my experience in Krav Maga, I can say that I found on IKI the most practical and functional aspect of Krav Maga.

I know many schools in my country and elsewhere, that some instructors think that beating up students, do aggressive confrontations in students from knees, teeth, twist the neck, the shoulders move etc. .. it all has to be part of the formation of Krav Maga. You are very wrong.

This is to teach students aggressiveness and techniques wrong and wrong spirit and essence, this is not the way of IKI.

In human and technical training, it is important to prepare the student to the physical but psychological level to level so the engine is doing repetitions and repetitions to automate body. But a serious trainer helps and prepares the trainee the psychological level to help in everyday life, in reality and not from film.
In seminars I attended with several masters and many countries. I note that the true masters, go to show the essence of his art school for 3 hours and some techniques that indicate the essence and purpose of the school.

BUT, also saw some false teachers to show in seminars pure aggression, this is the wrong way. Because an international workshop with a founder, is something different because the founder will convey the soul of your school and art.

The physical preparation and the fight must be performed by teachers in their classrooms and not a seminar. A seminar is a meeting, sharing with the founder to guide us in the best targets.

This is the philosophy of IKI Portugal, drinking daily in essence the mother IKI.

Luis Osorio
IKI Portugal
iki.portugal @

On the Topic of Krav Maga Seminars

Yes that is right ... IKI SEEMS soft at your seminars... because you do not use full power, full speed! For You it is maximum important to show us the way of the technique.

If you do it in real speed ... no one will learn it correctly.
why should you come the long way – why should we pay a lot of money .. only for beating us hard?? for doing some stress-drills, push ups, crunches, whatever! All these nice stuff I can do it in the regular class .. but not in a spezial seminar with you!

But if the students train your techniques in the “home gym” or Dojo ... with full protection gear ... wohooooo IKI is hard enough!

Yesterday – for example – I taught my Class the front choke defense ... all of them used Helmets with face shield .. now all of them saw the hard way of IKI.

Krav Maga is not only knee and elbow !

Imagine a hunter ... which is hunting a deer ... he can use a bow and arrow .... but he can also use a AK 47 machine gun.

of course .. he will kill the deer also with the AK 47 and also with the arrow ... but which will be the better way .

Jurgen Kohler, IKI Germany

Moshe, It is a shame that people misunderstand this point. In the seminars we do train with "aliveness" without beating each other up. The point you make about the full contact training is very valid. I have over 32 years in martial arts. I have trained day in and day out with arguably the best striker in the UFC, Stephen Thomas and his brother in law in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Champion Carlos Machado. Over the years I have also trained with multiple All American collegiate and Olympic wrestlers. When we trained normally the sessions were brutal. I usually had to ice up at night and was sore the next day.

However when any of these guys did seminars there was almost never any full on sparring or grappling but rather technique and drilling. The are the best in the world and they have nothing to prove by beating up some schlep at some local seminar. I would expect the the same from my KM seminar.

What I have learned from IKI KM is not necessarily the better way to kick, punch, submit, or takedown someone but rather how those basic concepts can be simplified to better suit the realities of self defense. The advantage a BJJ instructor does have is that he can go almost full technique and cause the person to submit without hurting them. He "taps" out and the instructor proves his point. Unfortunately for KM instructors we will hurt them.

We still train MMA fighters that are now training KM as there base style, to include Kaleb. There are 64 illegal techniques in MMA that we can not use in the cage that we do use in KM. We are 4-0 vs the Gracie Schools we have faced with 2 stoppages and 2 unanimous decisions. Yes we can train and fight with aggression and resistance against the supposed "best" style in the world even without the "nasty" techniques we would use in a real fight. To be sure MMA and self defense are 2 different things but to those that argue IKI Instructors can't fight please send them to us. BTW Kaleb (1st degree IKI KM Blackbelt) won unanimous decision two weeks ago over Relson Gracie Fighter out of Atlanta. 

I have trained with the best in the world in striking and grappling and I am the person that chose to become a member of IKI. I hope that alone means something.

Best Regards, Chris (Chris Cromer, IKI South Carolina, USA)

Moshe: Yes, it means the world!!

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