Three Krav Maga Techniques That Everyone Should Know.
When you are training in self-defense and martial arts there’s inevitably going to be a time that someone asks you something along the lines of, “Can you show me some Krav Maga?” or “What’s the best Krav Maga move?”. These sorts of inquires seem to come from both curiosity and doubt and it can be both amusing and, at the same time, frustrating to show someone or to demonstrate techniques to someone who is not genuinely interested in what you are doing.
That’s ok, though. It’s part of the deal when training in self-defense and martial arts. People who don’t train in Krav Maga Worldwide® self-defense don’t entirely understand Krav Maga, the intensity in which we train, or the mentality behind it. The reality is that if someone asks you to “show some Krav Maga” you can’t just punch them in the face. If there was sufficient time however to show someone several techniques that could actually make a difference to them in a life-threatening situation, it would give them a better understanding of our system and inspire them to train. Similarly if that person is asking you for a demonstration because they are coming at you from doubter’s angle, you might be able to change their mind about the effectiveness of the Krav Maga Worldwide® self-defense system.
Krav Maga Worldwide® self-defense as a system can seem somewhat broad when you look at all of the techniques on paper, and it would be pretty hard to pick just one technique as a paragon to convey what we do to someone who is asking. All the techniques in our system are incredibly valuable to learn and to be consistently training on. For this blog we picked three to discuss because of their overall value to self-defense and how they represent our system should anyone be curious about it.
Front Kick To The Groin
Krav Maga Worldwide® self-defense has a reputation for being no-holds barred, which some people consider to be synonymous with “dirty” or “unfair”. While we do train to be aggressive in defending ourselves we are not operating from the standpoint of initiating a fight or any kind of physical encounter. As such, we don’t take any sort of rules or the idea of being “fair” into account when we think about defending our own life or the life of someone important to us. One of the first things we teach students is to kick to the groin.
To deliver an effective kick to the groin, start by driving one knee forward straight out in front of your body. Your leg should look like a triangle or an arrowhead driving forward with your lower leg still folded back at the beginning of the kicking movement. A good way to think about getting this movement right is to drive your knee forward by driving your bellybutton and hips forward while your head and shoulders (counterbalancing your lower body) rock slightly back. A kick is a longer range strike so you want it to extend out away from you body. Once you get a good feel for this initial part of the kicking motion, instead of keeping your knee bent you simply let your leg unfold up and through (foot traveling south to north) to deliver the kick. Imagine the kick going straight up an opponent’s body, essentially from their groin to the top of their head. When delivering the kick you want to keep your foot flat and wide, not pointed up to the ceiling or sky. The striking surface for a kick to the goin is going to be the top of your foot (where your shoelaces would be) or any part of your shin.
A front kick to the groin that lands flush on anyone is going to have an immediate effect on them. There is no way that people can condition their groin to become stronger or to absorb damage in a way that doesn’t cause this immediate reaction…that’s why we teach it. It’s an incredibly effective way to cause damage to someone and to limit their ability to function. That’s exactly what you want in terms of self-defense because if you kick an opponent in the groin and they double over or even fall down it gives you a chance to get away from the situation altogether. Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense isn’t about getting into a prolonged encounter, we want to defend ourselves aggressively and get away as quickly as possible.
A front kick to the groin is also, as mentioned before, a longer range strike. It’s ideal for doing damage from a distance. If it’s possible to keep someone away from you and not give them a chance to grab, or pull, or choke, or otherwise be in close to you, that increases your chances of getting away from the encounter.
Front kick to the groin is simple to learn and to remember how to do under stress. It’s effective. It keeps an attacker at a distance. It’s one of the fundamentals of Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense because of all of these factors.
Bearhug Defense/Takedown Defense
Keeping an attacker at a distance is ideal however you have to know what to do if you can’t accomplish that and you find yourself in someone’s grasp or, even more dangerous, wrapped up by them in bearhug fashion. Realistically the bearhug itself isn’t going to be super dangerous. There’s very few people in the world who are going to be strong enough to crush your bones and internal organs or choke the life out of you simply by bear hugging you…it’s possible but pretty unlikely. What’s dangerous about a bearhug type of scenario is what happens after you get wrapped up. Most likely you are going to be taken somewhere you don’t want to be taken.
This could mean that you find yourself dealing with being abducted and removed entirely from the location, or it could mean you are taken to the ground where there is most likely going to be a prolonged struggle and fight. If you are taken to the ground, it’s probably not going to be done gently. The chances of you getting slammed to the ground on your head or neck or back are high if you are caught in a bearhug. If you are taken to the ground the dangerous variables increase significantly in terms of time as well as any underlying conditions involving the location and situation ie; what type of surface you are on, what’s on that surface, does the attacker have friends coming to join in, etc. The Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense system does teach ground fighting but we generally don’t want a fight to go to the ground if we can help it because of how quickly the danger increases and the chance of escape decreases.
There are several variations to how a bearhug attack can come on but the danger is the same in all of them. Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense uses one principle to defend against bearhugs that come from the front or back and that is the idea of “base and space” to fight back and prevent the ongoing attack.
When you feel yourself grabbed in a bearhug drop your weight immediately by bending your legs and doing a shallow squat. This lowers your center of gravity and makes you much more difficult to pick up, move, and deal with in general. This is basically the initial movement of a “sprawl” which is an explosive dropping of your body weight used when someone tries to tackle you around the legs. Since the bearhug will be higher up on your body, most likely around your elbows and arms or underneath your arms, there’s no need to drop your weight all the way to the ground in a full sprawl, but you do need to lower your weight to give you stability and a solid “base”.
From here you can start to fight back. You have to create space from the attacker in any way you can. Specifically you need to get their hips away from your body and create “space” for yourself so you can fight back. If the attacker has wrapped you in a bearhug and their hips are close to you, there is a better chance that they can lift you. Think about it, nobody lifts something heavy from a position in which their hips are super far away from the object. They get close and get their hips underneath it. Dropping your weight into your base might create enough distance from the attacker’s hips but if not, start striking at their groin to get their hips away from you. Once you have some space from their hips, continue striking and fighting back (use that front kick to the groin) until you can get away.
Utilizing the concept of “base and space” will prevent you from being taken to the ground or moved and it will give you the chance to fight back and get away if an attacker gets close enough to you to wrap you in a bearhug. This is crucial in overall self-defense and it’s something that everyone should know.
If you think about the first two techniques listed here, one is a striking technique the other is essentially a grappling technique…but what if the attacker is armed? The dangerous variables are multiplied tenfold, maybe one hundredfold.
When people think about an armed attacker it’s probably an image of an attacker with a gun that first pops into their minds. Knives however are widely considered to be even more dangerous than guns. In contrast to a gun, a knife is much easier to acquire, a knife is much easier to use effectively, a knife is easier to conceal, and a knife is quiet so it doesn’t draw attention. Think about it. How many knives are in your home right now? How much easier is it to stab or slice someone than to shoot accurately with a gun? When dealing with knives, law-enforcement agencies have a philosophy that involves being at least twenty-one feet away from someone who is known to be in possession of a knife. A knife wielding attacker essentially has a chance to cause fatal damage from as far away as 21 feet. Having at least some basic knowledge of what to do if you are faced with a knife is critical to self-defense.
All weapons defenses in the Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense system are built on some basic principles that can be described as “Redirect. Control. Attack. Takeaway” or “RCAT”. The application and execution of these principles changes somewhat based on the weapon, the method of attack, and the situation and that’s why consistent training is so valuable. Here’s a video showing these principles in one variation of a knife attack, a downward stab.
Redirect – Essentially you want to redirect or stop the initial attack and couple that redirection with some sort of strike that will give pause to an ongoing attack. That initial counterattack is part of your redirection or stopping technique. If you think about a “sewing machine” type stabbing attack where an attacker is repeatedly stabbing at you, you have to redirect or stop the stabbing and counter with a punch or kick that will slow the attackers ability to continue. Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense stresses defense with simultaneous counterattacks for this reason in particular.
Control – You have to assert some sort of control over the knife so that the attack cannot continue at the attacker’s will. Again, the technique for this will change depending on if the attack is a stab, a slash, coming from up, down, sideways, backhanded, etc.
Attack – Once you have some sort of control of the weapon, you have to make damage to the attacker to the extent that they cannot continue to fight. A front kick to the groin can be very effective here but, again, depending on the range you are in, the position you are in at that range, and how the attack occurred, other strikes and combative can be employed. This is where you really have to take over the fight and give yourself a chance to get away with aggression and the “don’t quit” mentality that Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense training instills.
Takeaway – You want to get that knife away from the attacker if possible. If the knife drops to the ground, kick it far away from your location if possible. If you are in a position where you are controlling the weapon and attacking as in the previous phase of the defense progression you will be set-up for an opportunity to take the knife away. The takeaway technique will vary, again, based on the variables in the attack and what has occurred up to this point. Attacking aggressively until you make enough damage to “soften” the attacker is essential in being able to take the knife away.
Weapons Defense Principles:
“Knife Defense” is a pretty broad technique. Consistent training on knife defense is key in being able to recognize attacks and to effectively execute the “RCAT” principles. It’s important to note however that in the case of a knife attack, you cannot just defend agains the stabs or slashes. You have to do something to stop the ongoing attack and give yourself a chance to fight back. In this regard having some knowledge of the RCAT is crucial and makes the basics of knife defense one of the Krav Maga Worldwide techniques that everyone should know.
Train At A Krav Maga Worldwide Certified Training Center
Front kick to the groin, bearhug/takedown defense, and knife defense are three Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense techniques that everyone should know…or at least have some knowledge of as a means of increasing their personal safety. These techniques are effective, easy to learn and to recall under stress and, in a broad sense, very representative of the Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense philosophy.
Consistent training on these techniques builds proficiency, power, speed, situational awareness, and all of the ancillary skills needed to be as effective as possible. Krav Maga Worldwide certified training centers offer the best way to train on these techniques. Our instructors dedicate their lives to helping people build the skills they need to be stronger and safer. Make sure that you are training at a certified Krav Maga Worldwide training center so that you are getting the best training to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Right now many of our certified training centers are using GTech Clean and the GTech line of products, along with rigorous health and safety protocols, to disinfect and protect against viruses and bacteria. We proudly offer the best training in the safest possible conditions.
Click here to find the certified training center closest to you or call us at 800-572-8624 and we’ll help you.