So you’re interested in Krav Maga. Maybe you’re considering getting started. Perhaps you’ve already begun but haven’t quite gotten your bearings yet. In any case, you likely already know that it’s a system famous for its by-any-means-necessary approach to self-defense.
Especially for beginners, Krav Maga demands dedication and hard work. As such, it’s best to educate yourself as thoroughly as possible about the realities of Krav Maga—and to dispel some common myths—before setting foot in the gym. To assist you as you begin, we’ve compiled a list of seven things every beginner should consider before starting Krav Maga.
1. You’re Not Alone
Krav Maga is well-known for its use on and off the battlefield by the Israeli military. While this might intimidate some beginners, Krav Maga has a lot to offer for anyone willing to learn.
Krav Maga is popular in the law enforcement community and is gaining popularity for its use in competitive fighting. Mostly, Krav Maga is practiced by ordinary citizens interested in self-defense and fitness. Regardless of your background, you can rest assured that Krav Maga is accessible to people with diverse interests and levels of experience.
The fact that Krav Maga has a diverse and active community is no coincidence—in fact, it’s a reflection of the system’s underlying philosophy. Krav Maga has, since its beginning, been passed down from trainers to students through one-on-one training. This emphasis on person-to-person transfer of knowledge has ensured that Krav Maga education remains faithful to founder Imi Lichtenfeld’s vision.
Krav Maga, for beginners especially, requires the guidance of knowledgeable instructors. You should resist the temptation to try learning Krav Maga solely through online resources or books. While these tools can be useful, working with trainers and fellow students is in keeping with the spirit of Krav Maga and will ensure that you learn best practices early in your training.
2. Know Your Goals
As you make preparations to begin, it’s important to consider your reasons for choosing Krav Maga over other systems.
Are you interested in the personal fitness benefits that studying Krav Maga offers? Or is your main goal to equip yourself with self-defense skills? Or are you a competitive fighter interested in adding techniques from Krav Maga to your repertoire?
Whatever your reasons for taking up Krav Maga, it’s important to identify your goals before starting and to share these goals with your peers and instructors to ensure that you continue to make steady progress towards your objectives.
3. Track Your Lessons and Progress
Although as a beginner you’ll depend on your peers and instructors for training, your Krav Maga education doesn’t start and stop in the gym. In fact, your progress will depend in large part on what you do when you’re at home.
Many students at all skill levels keep journals or notebooks. By keeping detailed notes, you’ll be able to better remember important ideas from lessons, track your work on strength and conditioning, and stay focused on your goals.
4. It’s Not a Martial Art
A common misconception is that Krav Maga is a martial art, like Karate, Jiu-Jitsu, or Taekwondo. However, this is inaccurate.
Traditional martial arts often have a belief structure beyond self-defense, including in the realms of spirituality, entertainment, and cultural heritage. Unlike the martial arts, Krav Maga’s main objective is self-defense.
Of course, Krav Maga has historical and cultural significance to the people who practice it—but these are tangential to the system’s goal of personal protection and will not be emphasized in your training.
5. It’s Not Just Physical
As a practitioner of Krav Maga, you’ll learn not only the mechanics of how to fight but also the ability to decide when and—perhaps more importantly—when not to fight. Krav Maga is about ensuring personal safety, and avoiding conflict is generally the best course of action to avoid personal harm. As such, you can expect to spend a lot of time honing not just your physique but also your awareness and judgment.
6. Stay Safe
As with any new form of physical training, it’s important that beginners do their best to minimize their risk of injury, as well as to maximize their comfort. There are a few steps you can take to ensure your entry into Krav Maga is as safe as possible.
Work at your own pace
No one likes to be the least experienced person in the room. This can cause beginners to push themselves beyond their abilities in hopes of keeping up with their peers. While pushing yourself is a great way to progress, it can often result in injury and undo the progress you’ve worked so hard to make.
You should work at your own pace and listen to what your body—as well as your instructor—is telling you. It’s important to start with a Krav Maga class for beginners and work your way up to more advanced courses as you progress. Injuries are extremely rare in Krav Maga Level I, and the right training can help you to avoid injury even as you rise through the ranks.
Invest in high-quality equipment
While Krav Maga can be practiced with a bare minimum of equipment, beginners can benefit tremendously by investing in the highest-quality gear they can afford. At the very least, you’ll want the following equipment:
- A pair of high-quality athletic shoes. Although you might be tempted to save a few bucks by using your worn-out running shoes, you’ll be spending a good deal of your training on your feet, so don’t cut corners when choosing footwear.
- A set of striking gloves. These are essential, and it’s important that you select a pair that fits you well. If it’s your first time selecting a pair of gloves, you should consult your instructor for recommendations.
- Protective equipment. This might include a mouth guard, headgear, or groin protection. Different classes can have different requirements, so be sure to ask your instructor for specific suggestions.
7. Krav Maga Is Fun and Rewarding
Clearly, there’s a lot to consider before starting Krav Maga—but don’t be discouraged! Krav Maga is as fun and rewarding as it is challenging. If you’ve considered the suggestions outlined above, you’ll be better prepared to study Krav Maga safely and efficiently.
For more information on Krav Maga, check out the Krav Maga Worldwide YouTube channel. There, you’ll find even more detailed information about Krav Maga for beginners.