Krav Maga and Fighting


Many of our Krav Maga students in the Los Angeles area have no interest in fighting. In fact, I would say that the vast majority of people come to Krav Maga because they want self defense instead of fighting.  And many Krav Maga schools market themselves as “reality based self defense” schools and either avoid fight training or lower their standards for fight skills to the point of non-existence.  


Well, I don’t care how a school markets itself. Ultimately, that is between the school owner and the prospective buyer.  


However, fight training must be part of any good self defense program, including Krav Maga.  Every self defense situation becomes the fight, even if it’s a short fight of a few seconds, so if we are not teaching our students competent fighting skills then we are not teaching them good self defense.


Not every bearhug defense ends with the attacker curled up in the fetal position; not every choke defense will drop the assailant to his knees. Some attackers will react to the defense with more aggression, either because the technique was not executed effectively enough or because the bad guy is tough enough and determined enough to take the punishment and fight back. At that point, you are in a fight, and your success is now dependent on your own ability and willingness to engage in that fight.


If you are a beginner, don’t worry.  You won’t have to spar professional fighters, and it doesn’t mean you have to walk into a school and fight on your first day.  At our school, Alliance Krav Maga and CrossFit in Culver City, students don’t spar in the beginner class, although they do learn some fight skills. We introduce the idea of a fight by doing non-compliant attacker drills, wherein the attacker makes a self defense oriented attack such as a choke or bearhug; when the defender executes a defense, the attacker steps back, then comes back forward with a punch. These are fairly simple drills, but they introduce early on the concept of the ongoing physical confrontation.  For those who do want to spar right away, we have an Introductory Fight program that starts with only a few techniques and light sparring, then gradually adds both options and stress as time goes by. In the regular Krav Maga curriculum, the students begin more serious sparring drills after the first 4-6 months, and within a year they are engaging in controlled sparring against a non-compliant opponent.


We know the majority of our students want self defense rather than fighting, but it’s our job to teach them that quite often, the two are the same.

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