Principles of Krav Maga
Imi Lichtenfeld, the founder of Krav Maga, often discussed four main principles of Krav Maga. These guidelines did not refer to the tactical and technical nuances of the system, but rather to the mindset of the people teaching and learning this style. As another great year is coming to a close, we wanted to share with you and reflect upon Imi’s views of Krav Maga to help you better understand the philosophy of the system and get a better insight into how these ideas influence the way we run Impact and structure our training program.
- “Do not get hurt”. This is the number one rule in Krav Maga. The concept is to minimize injury at all costs. This refers to the street, but also to training. In training you must be respectful of your own limits and that of your partner’s. It is unnecessary to go full force and full speed in training and suffer injury that will limit further training and restrict progress. Continuous, progressive training is essential to develop a higher level of technical proficiency, as well as physical ability to be better equipped to deal with more contact, higher paced attacks and more dangerous scenarios. Safety is one of our main priorities, so people coming to us to learn self-defense feel welcomed knowing that they will not be thrown in the “deep end of the pool”, but will advance gradually in a safe and welcoming environment. That’s why our classes build off each other. Our striking classes feed into the Krav Maga lessons, our fighting classes harden the body and perfect previously learned skills, and our advanced classes take the training to the next level.
- “Be modest”. Although Imi went through a few wars, developed one of the most lethal fighting systems in the world and taught it to thousands of people, Imi was a very modest man. He never boasted about his skills, nor did he look for confrontations to prove his might. Krav Maga should only be used when needed, not because you want to show off your skills or teach someone a lesson. Ego has no place in Krav Maga, whether it is in the street or in training. Impact students are always respectful of each other and not try to show off their skills at the expense of others. Similarly, we as instructors strive to be humble and modest as well. Our goal is not to build ourselves up, but rather to better our students. So whether it’s through interactions with our students or with teachers of other fighting styles, we always strive to stay respectful and learn from everyone. The more we learn, the more we can offer our students.
- “Act correctly”. This principle has a variety of meanings. From a self-defense perspective it refers to developing the necessary skills needed to carry out the most appropriate defense for the corresponding attack. It also suggests that you should not bind yourself by rules common to sports fighting systems. Remember, in the street there are no rules, hence using anything and everything at your disposal is crucial to your survival. These skills can only come from regular training in a school that understands that Krav Maga is not a competitive fighting style, and although we routinely incorporate elements from jiu-jitsu and boxing in our Krav Maga training, we do so as part of our Krav Maga curriculum. Staying true to the idea that unconventional threats call for unconventional actions, and the ability to “act correctly” when facing violent threats requires focused training where self-defense is the first and foremost priority for students, as opposed to tournaments and competitive matches.
- “Become proficient, so you do not have to kill”. This is by far the most important element to Krav Maga. The ultimate goal in Krav Maga is to do the minimum damage necessary to break the attacker’s will and/or ability to attack. Your defense should be proportional to the threat at hand. If someone insults you, there are numerous ways to deal with this confrontation that does not involve violence. However, if someone is trying to physically harm you or your loved ones, your response should be immediate and assertive. Ultimately, the more you invest into your training, the better you are able to perceive the level of danger in front of you and more options become available to you to deal with the confrontation with the most appropriate level of aggression. Therefore our mindset is always keep training and always strive for improvement. The more you invest into Krav Maga, the more you will get back from it. We’ve said it many times, Krav Maga is more than just self-defense, it’s a lifestyle.
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