The past few decades have given rise to very unique changes in the landscape of martial arts. The popularity of martial arts, the practice of martial arts, the marketing and promotion of martial arts, have all been affected by mainstream media distributing more live combat sports and martial arts based programming than ever before.
At the forefront of this wave of popularity is, of course, the incredible rise of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The UFC was created by a group of people (mostly jiu-jitsu practitioners) who basically wanted to experiment with martial arts and fighting styles to determine which one was the “best”. What they inadvertently accomplished was essentially creating a “new” form of martial arts training, called Mixed Martial Arts.
Over the course of years of consistent competitions and the promotion of different personalities in the UFC, it became clear that in order to be an effective competitor, UFC athletes had to be proficient in stand-up fighting, ground fighting, and some form of grappling involved in transitioning a fight from the feet to the ground or vice versa.
This clear definition of the phases of a fight, and what it takes to be an effective and successful “fighter” also inspired a new wave of interest and concentration on each particular phase of fighting. The past several years have brought new levels of interest to combat sports like boxing, jiu-jitsu, submission grappling, wrestling, and judo.
The ripple effect of the UFC basically creating Mixed Martial Arts as a sport was a huge opportunity for gyms to offer this MMA-type training to the public. In this way, people have been given the chance to feel as though they are participating in one of the most popular sports in the world. They can feel as though they are a part of the action. In this way, MMA and high level combat sports have come to define what people think of as “martial arts”.
The reality is that the athletes people are seeing on the biggest stages of combat sports are professionals. By and large, training to compete in combat sports is how these athletes earn a living. It could be argued that it’s just as difficult to make it to the highest levels of combat sport promotions as it is to be drafted into the NFL, NBA, MLB, etc. This has lead to a bit of a misconception that comes from the feeling of involvement in these hight level combat sports by way of participating in similar workouts and training.
What’s been lost somewhat in this unique era of combat sports popularity is the fundamental purpose for training in self-defense and martial arts. That fundamental purpose is self-protection. Developing skills that will help you defend yourself, and the people closest to you if there is no other option but physical confrontation. Learn to fight to protect yourself. Fighting in and of itself is not self-defense.
It’s great to be inspired by the incredible athletes we see in the UFC octagon, or on the mats of IBJJF and ADCC championships. It’s definitely valuable to get the experience of testing your skills in a competition. However the everyday purpose and reality of your training should focus on being safer, and getting stronger so you are prepared to defend yourself in a situation where the rules and regulations of competition do not apply.
Fight back. Win. Go home safe.
The Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense system was developed specifically to bring people with little to no hand-to-hand fighting skills, to a high level of proficiency in self-defense and fighting skills, in a very short period of time. The system was created by a man named Imi Lichtenfeld in the 1940’s. Imi grew up training in stand-up fighting, ground fighting, and grappling long before these combined elements were recognized as being the basis for Mixed Martial Arts. In a way, he was ahead of his time and he transferred all of that experience and knowledge into the Krav Maga fighting system.
There’s a big difference between Krav Maga self-defense and traditional martial arts. While there is a Krav Maga belt system and various Krav Maga belt levels that students progress through, there are not ceremonial elements like katas, performances, and traditional uniforms. It can also be said that Krav Maga is not necessarily a “martial art”. Krav Maga training is a principal based system that anyone can learn. It is objective as opposed to subjective.
Students who train at a Krav Maga Worldwide certified training center are taught a principle based system that can be applied at all levels. Progressing through the Krav Maga belt system means training in increasingly complex situations and, accordingly, learning more complex techniques. However the principles of the system do not change and are not based on one particular “master” teacher’s interpretation or impression.
The other major difference between the Krav Maga self-defense system and other marital arts is that Krav Maga students learn to fight without rules. There are “no holds barred.” Krav Maga self-defense teaches students to target vulnerable areas on an opponent or attacker. That means using techniques like groin strikes, eye gouges, and strikes to the back of the head, which are considered illegal in a sanctioned sport fight.
When you learn Krav Maga and learn to fight at a Krav Maga Worldwide certified training center, the focus is on survival. The focus is on staying safe. Sometimes that means deescalating a situation or avoiding a situation. This type of thinking and consistent focus in training leads students to developing what’s known as “situational awareness.” The ability to recognize where dangers might be and, ultimately, avoid them.
The mission of Krav Maga Worldwide is to empower every person with real skills to be safer and stronger. It’s not about preparing for a competition. Now, there’s no doubt that people training in combat sport related martial arts will be developing fighting skills and learning to fight. In fact, much of the same striking and grappling that Krav Maga teaches, can be found in other marital arts. What’s significant is that the consistent focus on survival based training, the idea that you are training to “Fight back. Win. Go home safe.” helps students develop a mindset and a skillset that is different than that of one focused on competitions.
Think about your "why ?"
Inspiration and motivation for self-defense training is unique to every person, and it should be. Whatever that inspiration or motivation is, the goal of self-defense training should be about your own safety and the safety of the people closest to you. Unfortunately, it’s unrealistic to think that you are going to learn to fight like John Wick, or one of the Avengers, or like the characters on “Cobra Kai”. For most people it’s equally as unrealistic to think that you are going to be the next big star in the UFC.
What is realistic is that training at a Krav Maga Worldwide certified training center will give you a well rounded and essential set of skills that make you safer. You’ll learn all three elements involved in MMA, i.e. stand-up fighting, ground fighting, and transition grappling. Imi Lichtenfeld designed the Krav Maga self-defense system with all three elements in mind.
Self-defense training isn’t glamourous. It’s most likely not going to be your job. It’s a commitment to yourself, your own personal safety. Krav Maga self-defense classes and Krav Maga self-defense training is challenging. Students internal motivation is what keeps them involved. Our training programs and our self-defense system ensure that the focus and the results are about being safer and being stronger.
If you are the type of person who, like the creators of the UFC, is interested in the idea of Krav Maga vs. bjj, or Krav Maga vs. Muay Thai, or Krav Maga vs. MMA. That’s great. Try a variety of training to see what is best for you.
Krav Maga is the best self-defense system because it’s easy to learn, easy to recall under stress, and is all about surviving at all costs. At the end of the day, that’s what’s most important, that’s the goal of getting involved in self-defense training. The idea that what you are learning will actually help you defend yourself if you need it. Training to compete is valuable but it’s not the same type of focus. It’s not the goal of self-defense.
Krav Maga Worldwide certified training centers.
Get stronger. Be safer. Learn Krav Maga at a Krav Maga Worldwide certified training center.
To get the benefits of Krav Maga for yourself, start training at a Krav Maga Worldwide certified training center near you. Krav Maga Worldwide certified instructors have dedicated years of their lives to learning the Krav Maga self-defense system and learning how to empower others by training. Many of our certified training centers will let you take a trial class for free in order to see what we’re all about. To find the certified training center closest to you click here and enter your zip code into our searchable map or call us at 800-KRAV-MAGA we’ll help you.