How to Teach Yourself Krav Maga
Krav Maga is a military combatives style originated by the Israeli Self-Defense Force. It became popular as a civilian martial arts style during the early 2000s. Like all martial arts, there is no substitute for learning Krav Maga live from a qualified instructor, but you can begin learning the martial art on your own if you live in an area without a Krav Maga school, or if you don't have the time or money for personalized instruction.
Stand comfortably and upright. Unlike some other martial arts, Krav Maga does not use difficult or esoteric stances. It teaches you to fight while standing like you naturally stand.
Turn your upper body so your weak arm is pointing toward your training partner. This minimizes your "target silhouette" and makes you harder to hit.
Lift both arms by bending the elbows, your hands closed into fists. Unlike a boxing stance, keep both of your arms in front of your face, with your fists just below eye level.
Bend your legs slightly. You shouldn't feel any kind of burn in your thighs, but you should feel an increased springiness that becomes improved mobility.
Experiment with shifting your weight from one foot to the other. Try moving with different distributions of weight to help you begin to understand about how you want to set your weight in different situations.
Horizontal Elbow Strikes
Stand in the basic stance, about 3 feet away from your target. Your hips, eyes and lead shoulder should face the target.
Shuffle forward until you are less than a foot from your target. This should take only one shuffle.
Roll your lead shoulder to strike your target with the elbow of your lead arm. On a human target, aim for the temple or jaw. Support the strike by rotating your hips in the same direction your arm is moving.
Reverse the direction of your hips to retract your lead arm. Continue to rotate as you roll your rear shoulder to deliver a second elbow strike with the opposite arm.
Shuffle away from your target to asses the situation.
Krav Maga Pulse
Begin this technique in the basic stance.
Wait for your training partner to throw a punch or other one-hand strike.
Shuffle toward your partner as you block the strike by moving your nearest hand upward and outward.
Punch your partner with the other hand directly in the sternum.
Practice the timing of this technique. Your best results will come when you make the punch as your partner is still moving forward with the momentum of his attack.
Practice each of these techniques 10 to 20 times per day for a month or more. One key to Krav Maga training is the mastery of basic responses to the point that your body remembers them under stress, even when your mind forgets them due to panic.
Even if you practice by yourself, Krav Maga training can cause a variety of injuries. Consult your physician before you begin any Krav Maga program. Wear protective equipment -- such as full headgear, hand wraps and gloves -- if you spar with another Krav Maga student.
- Dave Coffman; Martial Arts Historian; Hillsboro, OR
Henry is a Philadelphia-based personal trainer and writer. He has trained a wide range of clients, from professional athletes to working professionals. Feel free to contact Henry with any questions regarding an article that he's written.