When you reach Level 3 in Krav Maga at Krav Maga Worldwide you will begin to work on takedowns. You’re probably familiar with the idea of takedowns if you follow fighting sports like Mixed Martial Arts or Wrestling. But Krav Maga isn’t practiced to win points or put on a show. Krav Maga training is practice for the real world where another person may actually be trying to kill you.
Krav Maga takedowns are useful techniques for anyone interested in becoming proficient in self-defense. It’s important to learn fundamental takedowns but it’s also important to know when not to attempt them. Here, we’ll take a look at this tactical self-defense option and assess how you can use them most safely in a confrontation.
About Takedowns in Krav Maga
A great deal of Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense training deals with staying off of the ground in an assault or self-defense situation, so that the defender can more easily escape the situation and/or not be put in a vulnerable situation while fighting on the ground, ie. multiple attackers.
In higher levels of Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense training, however, students work on making takedowns as a means of controlling the fight. Krav Maga takedowns are used for establishing a dominant position making damage to the opponent, and getting out of the fight. Learning Krav Maga takedowns starts with the double-leg takedown and the single leg takedown. These fundamental wrestling techniques give the top position in the ground fight which allows the defender to achieve the principles of control, damage, and get out.
There are variations of the double-leg and single leg takedown that involve the changing directions of the shot and finish, as well as variations of how the opponent’s legs are manipulated to get them off balance and complete the takedown. Krav Maga takedowns also involve some throws and trips which, again, are used to employ the control, damage, get out, tactics.
Takedowns for Beginners
Krav Maga Worldwide typically starts teaching takedowns at training level 3. These introductory takedowns focus on different positions for how you are attacking the legs and the position of your head. Here’s some points to remember about each:
- Legs: The two types of leg takedowns that are important for Krav Maga are the double and single-leg takedowns. These are useful to learn because they provide a simple, direct way of unbalancing your opponent and sending them to the ground. A double leg takedown involves wrapping your arms around an enemy’s legs, usually from a crouching position, and rushing them to the floor. A single-leg takedown is much the same, except one only puts their arms around one leg, and keeps their head on the inside of the attacker’s stance.
- Head: The position of your head when executing Krav Maga takedowns can be put into two different categories relative the the attackers: inside and outside. The techniqes involved in the single-leg and double-leg takedowns will vary depending on the position of your head when you are working these Krav Maga takedowns with caution. Generally speaking, on a single-leg takedown, you want your head on the “inside” closer to the opponent’s chest. When working a double-leg takedown your head is generally going to be on the “outside” of your opponents legs and chest, with a strong posture to prevent your neck getting attacked/wrapped for a guillotine choke.
Once you’ve mastered these basics, your instructor will likely move on to more advanced techniques that you can add to your arsenal. These include:
- Throws: There are many different kinds of throws that are appropriate for a variety of self-defense situations. A hip throw is typically performed whilst standing parallel to the attacker and involves knocking them off balance and lifting them up; arm throws and takedowns, meanwhile, are useful for Krav Maga because they can be used to turn the tide against an assailant that’s putting pressure on you, since you’re relieving them of their primary mode of attack. Learning which throws are ideal for which kinds of situations can be tricky, and it’s one of the reasons most Krav Maga instructors won’t introduce them into their curriculum until their students have a baseline of level of experience.
- Trips: Tripping maneuvers are another variant of Krav Maga takedowns that take some getting used to. Trips involve subtly knocking your opponent off balance with your feet and are most effective when mixed in with sweeps, which can utilize more of your or your opponent’s legs. Trips are difficult to pull off because they require your attacker to be particularly vulnerable and are best used at a moment of inattention, but they’re fantastic for quickly turning the tide of a fight.
The Krav Maga Worldwide Fight program also gives students a chance to work on developing takedown skills that might be used in the context of a sport fight. Fight program techniques will start with the basics like double leg and single leg takedowns as well as carries and high “c” takedowns…and it’s the same basic principles of getting to a dominant position. In the context of a “match” or sport fight, however, the emphasis of using the technique will be about winning and scoring points, not doing enough damage to get safely away from the encounter.
Takedown Defense in Krav Maga
Krav Maga takedown training also involves takedown defense. Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense training can teach students how to fight out of a bad situation if they are taken to the ground or end up on the bottom position of a ground fight…but we’d like to not end up there in the first place.
Krav Maga takedown defense involves defending against basic holds like bear hugs, and body locks, which can lead to very damaging takedowns. Takedowns like bear hugs and basic grabs aren’t super technical but can be just as dangerous as very technical takedowns like double and single leg takedowns. Krav Maga Worldwide students also drill on how to defend takedowns in all of these sorts of scenarios.
When (and When Not) to Use Krav Maga Takedowns
As we talked about in our entry regarding wrist locks and throws, takedowns have a time and place in Krav Maga and shouldn’t be attempted lightly. This is because the object of Krav Maga is to survive.
If you must incapacitate your attacker to get away from them, or apprehending them falls in your line of duty as a soldier or officer, then you may more readily consider them.
Because takedowns inherently require you to entangle your body with that of an attacker or suspect, you may be bringing yourself closer to danger if they are armed or you are outnumbered. Krav Maga takedowns shouldn’t be attempted in these circumstances.
Instead, it is best to use Krav Maga throws and takedowns when you know that an attacker or suspect is unarmed. Remember, you’re not learning Krav Maga to look cool or show off fancy footwork, you’re learning it to take as quick of a path from a dangerous situation to a safe one as you can. Krav Maga takedowns are a fantastic technique to have in your arsenal, but you should still be making strikes as your primary action against a potential attacker.
Sign up for Training at Krav Maga Worldwide Today
Krav Maga takedowns and takedown training are used for different purposes in the context of Krav Maga self-defense training and Krav Maga Fight training. The basic idea remains the same in both contexts and someone looking to become well-rounded in takedowns and takedown defense can do so by training at a Krav Maga Worldwide certified training center.
If you don’t know a takedown from a two-step, Krav Maga Worldwide is here to help. We have classes and curriculums for Krav Maga initiates of every level of skill and experience, from military-grade training to those just looking to tone up. Whether you’re looking to master the dynamic subtleties of Krav Maga takedowns or just get a feel for what our self-defense practice is all about, Krav Maga Worldwide teaches this discipline in a way that’s as accessible as it is thorough.
Use our finder tool to locate a certified Krav Maga training center near you, and leave us a comment below if you have a question or story about learning Krav Maga throws and takedowns that you’d like to share. Join Krav Maga Worldwide today and experience a new level of personal power and self-reliance.