I’m often asked what is the difference between the self defense classes that I teach and Krav Maga.
There are certainly differences. I do not and have not practiced Krav Maga, and I imagine there is variation between classes.
However based on research and conversations I can make some distinctions.
Krav Maga has its origins in the Israeli military, and has become a successful martial arts brand in its own right.
When people think Krav Maga the images that they have are often militaristic – kill or be killed commando style, hard work, shouting instructors, who drill deadly techniques, preset sequences for different attacks.
The majority of Krav Maga classes have three main parts
1. Fitness and conditioning
2. Drilling techniques on pads and with partners
3. Sparring in various ways.
This is great, no nonsense, focused on developing physical skill. It works this way because of the military origins. In the military legal and moral constraints are not up for debate. You do what you need to carry out your mission. You do not question authority. The government is on your side if you kill the enemy.
Krav Maga is focused on the physical battle.
Once you are in the physical battle this is correct, you keep your attention there, there is only the present moment.
In my classes you will also train for those moments.
The difference: You will also prepare for what happens before, and after those moments
Violence is a last resort, and mostly avoidable. There are rules you can follow that make it far less likely to happen to you. These rules overlap but differ for men and women.
If you do have to fight to survive or get away you need
1. Not to be inhibited, not to doubt your ability or the need to act
2. The ability to justify what you did afterwards, to your conscience and to the law
The physical techniques you will learn build on your existing natural reactions and instincts.
You will learn to do things that are simple, but devastating.
You will learn to trust your ability to know when to use them.
As well as physical techniques you will learn
Awareness and intuition methods
Cues to danger in different situations
Body language you can use to de-escalate, distract, disengage and deter
Emotional readiness to counteract ‘freezing’
Techniques to learn from, and recover from trauma
The techniques you will learn with me come from a variety of sources and the deep roots of traditional arts give advantages that you will get access to. Let me explain.
Chinese arts are integrated through different levels of activity. The same breathing principles used in deep meditation are also used in martial arts. What makes you stronger also makes your more sensitive, balanced and aware.
The control you will learn when you tap into your physical power is also the control you can use for relaxation recovery and intuition.
You can use this control in the face of fear.
This power and awareness is something you will use every day, and not just the bad ones or the truly terrible ones.
You will be able to connect your training in a continuous thread from social interaction, through violence and survival and back to normal life again.
I doubt you want to be a killer, or a soldier, to be paranoid and isolated, or a victim.
I imagine you want to have choice and flexibility, dignity and integrity, connection and meaning. I imagine you want the ability to tap into your own power, which involves but is more than a collection of deadly techniques
That’s what I want to give you, ways to train your body, breath and awareness, so you can get home safely.