If you practice a martial art, Krav Maga is likely a fighting system you’ve heard of. Thanks to its rising popularity and increasing roster of celebrity practitioners, many people outside of the world of martial arts are starting to take interest in Krav Maga –– and even recognize it by name, if not by its principles. While Krav Maga is often lumped in with other martial arts, make no mistake: Krav Maga is neither a combat sport nor a martial art. It is a self-defense system built for survival.

“Art” Vs. “System” A martial art is a codified system of physical movements meant for a competitive, combat, or combat-like activity. Krav Maga, on the other hand, is more properly defined as a practical self defense system. It combines effective techniques from other arts, including wrestling, boxing, and street fighting, forming a system of powerful combat skills.

Designed to Combat Real Threats Krav Maga techniques and training scenarios are designed for real-life threats. It’s not meant to score points with judges or teach students honor and discipline. Instead, the goal is to put your attacker on the ground hard and fast. Training is based around the muggers, gunmen, and angry drunks you could meet in a dark alley alone.

No Choreographed Moves Many martial arts competitions take on a choreographed appearance because students tend to practice the same routines, or katas, from the same books. Unlike a traditional martial art, Krav Maga trains you to be versatile and to improvise. While everyone may learn a straight punch, your specific situation determines how you counter it. You use your intuitive body movements to counter attackers, then attack in turn.

Learn To Survive If you encounter a threat, there is only one rule we teach: survive! Whatever it takes––whatever you have to do––you’ll have the skills to be the one left standing. In combat sports and martial arts, there are disallowed strikes and holds that are considered dishonorable or unsportsmanlike. In Krav Maga, the groin is as good of a target as the nose, throat, or solar plexus if that’s what it takes to live.

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