Home » General » Are you learning ‘Watered Down Krav Maga’

Just last week I had a new student show up to an Induction class. He was like countless others who have trained in other systems of Krav Maga, but in this case one of the more curious ones. He was one who really wanted to sit down with me and talk and see how I felt about that organisation of Krav Maga compared to how we do it at Krav Maga Systems.

Well, you know me, I love to talk so I took the opportunity to sit down, hear the guy out and discuss the general state of things. He had been training for about a year, and he felt that the whole learning process was too much based on a curriculum. He was going through P1 and P2, which is like the white/yellow belt equivalency in the industry.He was sick of doing the same things and a little questioning of the level of realism in what he was doing.

He actually said to me: ‘I’ve heard ***** Krav Maga is no longer modern. What do you think?’. Wow, there’s a question to ask… I had to think about it and then I told him straight. Yes.I think it is very possible that the organisation you were training with, is stuck in the 80’s/90’s approach to self-defence; a time when we didn’t face the same level of dangers or with an opponent who has grown up in a modern mma era.

In such places Krav Maga is often watered down and what happens is you have an organisation with a curriculum that lacks a holistic nature. They think that it’s holistic, but it’s not, it’s seriously lacking in solid basics. They work from static all the time, they work from the most unrealistic situations without stress, like dummies performing a circus act. I call it the ‘demonstration model’ and the instructors think it looks so cool that a large majority of them have come to believe in the bullshit. I was like that once upon a on a time.

On the other hand, you’ve got the other side that focuses purely on the brawl/melee. They focus more on principles and not enough on technique. You watch videos and opportunities to solve the problem are being lost simply because they aren’t practising technique enough. You can say whatever you like about humans being simple and that under stress we’re like monkeys, but I don’t agree. I’ve been in far too many situations where I held my own real well and it was my technical training that helped. A pure and balanced approach is needed!

Unless they have previous training a lot of these guys and girls (ones training with the average orgs) can’t punch or strike properly, you can see it in the tapping of their palm strikes, the lack of footwork fundamentals and the strange punches they do with over-emphasis on rotation. They have poor agility on their feet, they can’t deal with someone who grabs them in a clinch, and basically they would be practically useless against someone with solid foundations in MMA, wrestling, bjj, kickboxing or Muay Thai. Even with that groin shot, and even with the good-old ‘fingers to the eyes’ or the bite. I believe the KM schools of the world (with students that have no previous training foundations) can be beaten by someone who has solid foundations in any or all of these styles too easily. It’s sad to think about! (Yigal agrees, watch his video chat here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BC_D0xKhSwk)

Sure, focusing on the bread and butter stuff like situational awareness, prevention and talking your way out of a fight, is essential in solving problems before they get too far. What happens when that doesn’t work, or you have no chance to apply any of that? Sure you may say “don’t get there in the first place”, but too bad if you end up there then and don’t know what to do. Ultimately you need know how to fight, the anatomy of the fight and how to gain the advantage from any point in the timeline.

That is why fighting skills need to have as much emphasis as the self-defence skills in your Krav Maga journey.

If your organisation tells you that ‘we don’t do that, this isn’t Krav Maga’, then you should be able to really see the truth for yourself. Krav Maga means contact combat right? All the things you need to learn for reality will be: striking, wrestling, grappling, takedowns, weapons use and defences, self-defence techniques, multiple attackers, restraints and controls, tactics, mindset, principles, etc.

People seem to forget that the founder of Krav Maga was a wrestler and a boxer, so it makes sense to believe that when you go into a good Krav Maga school that you will become proficient in striking and grappling ranges (stand-up to ground wrestling, ground fighting, the transitions and so on…).

I said to the student asking the question, ‘Did you learn any grappling in your curriculum?’. The answer was ‘no, not really’. He mentioned the choke from mount, but really that’s being taught to people all around the world with details lacking. What happens when the person gets high in the mount, what if they post, what if they’re punching and so on? Must I wait a year or two to learn this stuff?

If you’ve gotten caught in a choke from mount you’ve missed opportunities to stop the attacker from getting the dominant position. Why don’t you learn how to get the advantage first, before they start striking you or choking you or pinning you down and establishing a dominant position?

Next question, I asked ‘How about anything that resembles wrestling?’. The answer this time was a right out ‘No’. The people in power have always done what they are good at and what they believe is right (while potentially letting what they’re not good at fade in the distance). This in and of itself doesn’t make it true or a fact that what they’re teaching is based in any sort of reality. Everyone needs to be given credit on their merits, no one should claim to have all the answers or the only right answers. Doing so is a complete lie!

I explained to this guy that the ranking systems can be very limiting (however, they can be a good tool to focus the student’s progression and skill development). It definitely pushes business along, but for the majority of big KM organisations the curriculum is poorly thought out, and doesn’t bring the big picture together for students.

Let me say this, you’ve heard it before! I don’t want to have my students wait 2 years to learn a stick defence because they’re ‘not the right rank yet’. I don’t want them to learn half a ground technique and then 2 years down the track learn how to defend from the same position against a simple punch. If the student has the ability to use inside defences from a standing position at P1 level, then they should have the ability to do it from the ground as well, it’s really not that different and it doesn’t makes sense for them to wait till P4 to learn it.

I want my students to know solid basics within a few months and because of rotating curriculums it’s very possible. Sure, it’s not possible to teach someone everything in a short enough period (to a point of great skill) but to hold someone back due to rank is purely business in my opinion.

I think for the most part the majority of KM schools are just following that mass marketed model and it’s seriously hurting the reputation of Krav Maga. The moral of my article is quite simple, I’m promoting a Krav Maga that is holistic and real, and which teaches you to fight and to not only survive, but to win. It teaches you all the aspects of Krav Maga, but with a clear intention to keep it real and relevant, without kata, without fakery, without greed.

What we do at Krav Maga Systems is keep it simple and realistic. We aim to teach people to be good at all ranges of fighting, with and without weapons, with or without multiple attackers and in different situations: striking range, trapping range, grappling range, ground and so on. In our system you will learn all aspects of neutralising a threat from takedowns, to armbars, to knockout/stun, to refrain/control or submit and so on. You will learn how to talk someone down, you will practice it, you will learn all the important stuff like awareness and prevention too.

We are evolving quicker than ever! It’s been 3 years that I have been away from the poison of the organisation I used to represent. I’ve lost contact with the majority of the old (the average), and made stronger relationships with the best of the best. It’s allowed me to look at everything I’ve come to learn and experience in my years and really put it together in a new honest way.  Over and out…

Written by Kurt Colpan
Your Krav Maga Expert.com
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