Krav maga Means “Contact Combat”

KMG’s Krav Maga is an integrated system of self-defence, combat & fighting, VIP & third- party protection.

Imi Sde-Or (Lichtenfeld), founder of Krav maga, started teaching hand-to-hand combat in the haganah (pre-state defence militia). Imi continued teaching in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) School of Combat Fitness as the Chief Instructor for physical fitness and hand-to-hand combat, where he developed what later becam known as Krav Maga.

Active Shooter: Someone using a firearm to actively shoot unsuspecting people. Motivations may be personal, political or religiously motivated.

Active Stabber: Similar to an Active Shooter an Active stabber is someone using an edged weapon to actively stab or slash unsuspecting people. Motivations may be personal, political or religiously motivated.

Adrenaline: Also known as epinephrine, in the context of Krav Maga, is a hormone that triggers with an adrenaline dump during flight or fight responses. The body is adrenalised causing vasoconstriction while blood pressue increases. Hormones are immediately injected, blood sugar levels spike, along with elevated heart rate to increase blood flow for increased physical exertion capability. Endorphins are released to temporarily mitigate pain. Hormone levels are effected by high stress, impairing memory. Hence the importance of training in instintctive / conditioned responsesfor self-defence.

Ambush: A surprise attack by people lying in wait in a concealed position.

Anatomical Targeting: A key tenet of Krav Maga is to attack whatever primary targets the opponent presents.

Such anatomical targets are:

  • Eyes
  • Throat
  • Nose
  • Ears
  • Groin
  • Base of the skull
  • Chin, jaw and mouth
  • Knees
  • etc

Balance: The ability to maintain balance or stability along with fluid movement

Ball of the Foot: The practitioner normally moves, pivots and kicks (reflexive front kicks, roundhouse kick) utilising the ball of their feet.

Bear Hug: An opponent wraps his arms around the defender’s torso or both arms and torso from the rear or from the front effectively hugging the defender.

Body Defence: Defender moving there body off the line of an attack

Body Shovel Punch: Targets the stomach or internal organs. The hip rotation is similar to a straight punch.

Body Strike: As you strike, move the entire body in concert to use one’s entire torso. As you propel all of one’s strength and body weight through the strike, you’ll maximize one’s strike’s impact.

Brace/Brakes:  A position on the ground where the defender rolls slightly onto his side to place his bottom leg’s heel on the opponent and his top leg’s shin to push the opponent away to create distance or kick the opponent.  The position prevents the opponent from gaining a mount or maneuvering between the defender’s legs (sexual assault.)

Bratislava, Slovakia (1939); Czechoslovakia (Present): Imi Lichtenfeld’s home town where he began to develop Krav Maga.

Break Falls:

How to fall down properly whether by accident or if you are taken down or thrown.

  • Forward “Soft” Break Fall: The forward “soft” break fall gently brings you to the ground when you are falling forward.
  • Forward “Hard” Break Fall: The forward “hard” break fall is a sudden prevention before hitting the ground when you are falling forward.
  • Rear Break Fall: By using one’s body to create the broadest possible striking surface against the ground, the backward fall break will reduce one’s impact with the ground, distributing the force of the fall through the more durable areas of one’s body: the gluteus and one’s forearms. The importance of this safety technique reaches well beyond self-defence applications.
  • Side Break Fall: The side break fall prepares you in case you must fall to one’s side.

Breath While Striking: Exhale as you deliver the strike. Some people like to use a blood-curdling cry as they strike. Either technique—the cry or exhale–will prepare one’s body for both delivering a strike and receiving a strike. Exhaling facilitates oxygen transfer to one’s muscles, tempers one’s movements to keep you in control, and creates a vacuum to defend against a counter-strike.

Bucket Takedown: The Bucket Takedown also known as The Machinegun Takedown is a potent takedown that allows you to strike the opponent’s groin from the rear, while dropping him face down onto the ground. This technique can be used as a follow-up to many techniques, including an outside block against a hook or the sliding punch defense.

Building Block Learning Process: Learn one elemental technique at a time and then build on it over time.

Carjacking Defences: Krav Maga defenses against carjackers with firearms follow the system’s core disarming principles. A few essential scenarios begin to develop the Krav Maga practitioner’s training development. The key is to react and disarm having exited the vehicle and at the opportune time.

Cavalier: A wrist takedown forcing an adversary’s wrist to move against its natural range of motion. Cavaliers are designed to use your powerful hip muscle groups and body weight to torque an opponent’s wrist to take him down while establishing strong control over the weapon for removal. There are two types of cavaliers frequently used in Krav Maga. Cavaliers are preceded by combatives against the assailant including full force strikes to the groin, neck, eyes and other vulnerable opportunistic targets.

Choke Holds: In Krav Maga parlance, there are two types of Choke Holds, known respectively as “air chokes” and “blood chokes.”

  • Air Chokes cut off the oxygen supply to the brain by preventing air from refilling the lungs.
  • Blood Chokes or strangulation techniques stop the flow of blood by constricting the carotid artery and jugular veins on the sides of the neck that carry oxygenated and deoxygenated blood

Choke Holds Rear:

  • Blade of the Forearm Choke: Blade of the Forearm Choke applies crushing pressure to the opponent’s windpipe, depriving his brain of oxygen by the pressure of the radius or blade of the forearm.
  • Crook of the Elbow Choke: The Crook of the Elbow Choke or “V Choke” applies pressure to the opponent’s carotid sheath on both sides of the neck, occluding blood flow to his brain.
  • Professional Rear Naked Choke: The blade of the forearm and bicep apply pressure to the opponent’s carotid sheath on both sides of the neck, stopping blood flow to his brain.

Choke Holds Standing Side:

  • Standing Triangle Choke: The Standing Triangle Choke or Kata Gatame is a choke when trapping the opponent’s raised arm against his carotid.
  • Standing Professional Underneath Choke: The Standing Professional Underneath Choke may be used when the opponent’s level is down using a underneath figure 4 “vise grip” similar to the Rear Naked Professional choke.

Choke Holds Principle Collar Chokes:

  • Cross Collar Choke: a choke when one collar is secured and the choker uses the other arm to secure the opponent’s collar to punch across thereby executing a choke.
  • Knuckles Choke: a choke when both collars are secured and the choker uses both hands’ knuckles to press against the carotid sheaths thereby executing a choke.
  • Thumbs-in Choke: a choke when both collars are secured and the choker uses both hands’ thumbs to press against the carotid sheaths thereby executing a choke.
  • Single Wing Choke: a choke from the rear when the choker traps the opponent’s arm while securing one collar and wrenching the garment across the neck thereby executing a choke.
  • “X” Choke Palms Facing: a choke when the choker reaches into the opponent’s collar crossing his arms with his palms facing himself to twist and wrenching the garment across the throat thereby executing a choke.
  • “X” Choke One Palm Away Other Palm Facing: a choke when the choker reaches into the opponent’s collar crossing his arms with one palms facing himself and the other to twist and wrenching the garment across the throat thereby executing a choke.
  • Forearm Choke: a choke when the choker secures the opponent’s collar and forces his forearm against the attacker’s windpipe and compresses it thereby executing a choke.
  • Wrap-around Choke: a choke from the rear when the choker reaches around the front of the opponent’s collar to loop and wrench the garment across the throat thereby executing a choke.

Choke Holds On The Ground:

  • Rear Naked Choke: Similar to a standing rear naked choke, the choker’s arm wraps around the opponent’s neck while the support arm folds behind to create a vise cutting off the brain’s blood supply. Several grip variations are preferred depending on one’s build.
  • Ground Triangle Choke (Kata Gatame Variation): The Ground Triangle Choke or Kata Gatame is similar to one’s standing Triangle Choke tactic; however, it is even more powerful, because you can use one’s body weight and gravity to aid you in the choke.
  • Triangular Leg Choke with Combatives: Triangular leg chokes are an extremely powerful combative utilizing one’s strongest muscle groups and core strength against an opponent’s vulnerable neck

Choke Hold Releases: Krav Maga emphasizes instantaneous chokehold releases by relying on the body’s natural instincts to immediately pluck at a choking implement which is combined with a simultaneous or near simultaneous counter-attack.

Choke Releases Front:

Krav Maga’s choke defenses build on instinct and are particularly illustrative of Imi’s practical approach to self-defense. Most people, for example, will reach for their throats when choking on a piece of food. Similarly, if a garment is too tight around one’s neck, you will automatically pull down on the constricting material to give one’s self breathing room.

  • Front Choke Release #1: Pluck and use a modified #1 or horizontal elbow to release the attacker’s hands followed by immediate counterattacks.
  • Front Choke Release #2: Pluck and use an inside eye gouge or linear strike to release the attacker’s hands followed by immediate counterattacks.
  • Front Choke Release #3: Use a double pluck while simultaneously kneeing or delivering a shin kick to the attacker’s groin.

Choke Releases Side:

Krav Maga’s choke defences again build on instinct and are particularly illustrative of Imi’s practical approach to self-defense.

  • Side Choke Release #1: Pluck and use a modified #1 or horizontal elbow to release the attacker’s hands followed by immediate counterattacks.
  • Side Choke Release #2: Pluck and use an inside eye gouge or linear strike to release the attacker’s hands followed by immediate counterattacks.
  • Close Side Choke Release: Pluck and use a groin strike followed by a #7 vertical elbow strike.

Choke Releases Rear:

Krav Maga’s choke defences again build on instinct and are particularly illustrative of Imi’s practical approach to self-defense.

  • Rear Hand Choke Release: Double pluck and use a modified #1 or horizontal elbow to release the attacker’s hands followed by immediate counterattacks.
  • Rear Choke with Push Forward Release: Takes natural motion into account by stepping forward to clear the attacker’s hands and counterattack.
  • Rear Choke with Pull Release: Turns 180° into attacker to release hold and counterattack.

Chops: The Chop is a strong combative that can be utilized on whatever opening one’s opponent gives you, especially the carotid artery, windpipe, throat, neck, and nose. It may also be employed to target internal organs such as the kidneys, spleen, and liver.

There are two basic types of chops:

  1. Inward Chops
  2. Outside Chops

Chop Front and Rear Chop Combinations: A highly effective combination involves an Outside Chop followed by an immediate Inside Chop targeting the same anatomy point.

Clampdown: Clampdown: Locking down the opponent’s arm or wrist.

Clinching: In a superior clinch position, one opponent can trap the opposing opponent’s head and torso making both attack and defense difficult while maintaining his own combative options, primarily elbows, short uppercuts and hook and shovel punches, knee strikes to the groin and midsection (especially switching knees and roundhouse knee shots), locks, chokes, takedowns, and throws.

Clinching Positions:

  • Crown of the Head Clinch: This powerful combative allows you strong control of one’s opponent by clasping the crown of his skull setting you up for knees, vertical elbows guillotine chokes, and neck torquing movements. You may also gouge his eyes with one’s thumb prior to encircling his head with one’s arms.
  • Clinch Canting Opponent’s Neck: This clinch variation gives you the ability to take one’s opponent down with severe torquing pressure on the neck or a neck crank.
  • Rear Body Clinch: The rear clinch allows you to position one’s self behind one’s opponent for control and takedowns.

Clinch Defences: Defences against a clinch attempt, especially, when the attacker is trying to secure the defender’s head and deliver knee strikes.

Clawing: Clawing: Using the fingers to scratch or gouge an opponent’s eye(s).

Closing the Body: If you are attacked unexpectedly by a hail of incoming blows to one’s head, one’s instinctive reaction will be protect one’s self by raising one’s arms to one’s head. Krav Maga builds on this natural reaction.

Combative: Any manner of strike, takedown, throw, joint lock, choke, or other offensive fighting movement.

Compound Kicks: Compound kicks use the same kicking leg epitomize economy of motion by harnessing the momentum from one kick and using it instantaneously to launch another kick.

Compound Kick Variations:

  • Compound Straight Kick into Sidekick : A Straight Kick may be followed immediately by using the same kicking leg to deliver a devastating Sidekick to an attacker’s knee. This combination same-leg kick harnesses the straight kick’s power and natural “bounceback” from the strong contact it makes with an attacker’s groin or torso.
  • Compound Roundhouse Kick into Sidekick: A Front Roundhouse Kick against an opponent’s forward leg may be followed immediately using the same kicking leg to deliver a devastating Sidekick to the opponent’s rear knee. This combination same-leg kick harnesses the Front Roundhouse Kick’s power and natural “bounce-back” from the strong contact it makes with an attacker’s front, targeted leg.
  • Compound Kick Roundhouse Kick into Ankle Stomp: A Front Roundhouse Kick may buckle an opponent’s front leg, sending him to the ground. If the kick is powerful enough, it may drop the opponent immediately, allowing for a devastating follow-up stomp to the opponent’s exposed Achilles tendon or ankle.

Conflict Avoidance:

Nonviolent conflict avoidance is always the best solution. Becoming an accomplished observer helps you resolve a situation before it fully evolves or gets out of hand. By constantly surveying your locale and its dynamics, you will notice at all times who and what surrounds you.

Walking away from a confrontation is a test of mental discipline and moral fiber. For example, if a situation involves someone taunting you, attempting to embarrass you, or assert social hierarchy, take the sensible action and walk away. Should one (correctly) walk away, be sure to disengage with a heightened sense of potential confrontation awareness. Until you are safe, continue to maintain both a mental and physical preparedness to spring into action. Extricating yourself from a potentially violent situation is both wise and pragmatic for myriad reasons including avoiding potential injury to you, your family, and to avoiding criminal and civil liability proceedings.

Use common sense, basic precautions, and a confident demeanor to minimize your chances of being targeted and assaulted. Notwithstanding these preventive measures, accept the possibility of violence targeting you. There are several types of violence including social, criminal, sociopathic, and professional. Statistically, you are most likely to face the first or second categories, social or criminal, respectively. Terrorism usually falls into a blend of the latter two categories. While you need not live in fear, denial is the most common obstacle to taking appropriate action. This is why you must be prepared if you must face down a violent situation. Sharpen your mental and physical skills so you can implement them without thinking.

Compound Kicks: Compound kicks use the same kicking leg epitomize economy of motion by harnessing the momentum from one kick and using it instantaneously to launch another kick.

Control? Escort Holds: Krav Maga uses nine different control hold-variations. These are usually preceded by a combative distraction or retzev to thwart the opponent’s ability to resist or undermine the hold.

Control Escort Hold Variations:

  • Control Hold #1: a standing armbar escort hold.
  • Control Hold #2: an escort hold trapping the opponent’s arm behind his back.
  • Control Hold #3: an escort hold trapping the opponent’s arm behind his back.
  • Control Hold #4: a “gooseneck” escort hold trapping the opponent’s arm next to his side.
  • Control Hold #5: an escort hold trapping the opponent’s wrist in an upside down “L”.
  • Control Hold #6: a standing kimura trapping the opponent’s arm behind his back.
  • Control Hold #7: a standing figure 4 wrist lock trapping the opponent’s arm to his shoulder.
  • Control Hold #8: a standing armbar into a takedown.
  • Control Hold #9: a standing armbar into a takedown dropping the torso on the opponent’s arm to create severe damage in the shoulder and elbow.

Cross Right or Left: Right or Left Cross: A straight punch thrown from the rear hand or arm farthest way from the opponent (as opposed to a Lead Punch).

Dead Side: One’s attacker’s dead side, in contrast to the attacker’s live side, places you behind the attacker’s near shoulder or facing the attacker’s back. You are in an advantageous position to counterattack and control the attacker because it is difficult for the attacker to use the attacker’s far arm and leg to attack you. You should always move to the dead side when possible. This also places the attacker between you and any additional third-party threat.

Dead Side Positional Control: Once committed to a fight, one’s goal is to put one’s self in a dominant position. Never turn one’s back to one’s opponent in any type of fight situation, especially if this puts you face down on the ground, the worst possible position. From this position the back of one’s head and neck are exposed to attack. Nearly as dangerous is if the opponent secures you from behind or “takes one’s back” with his legs pincered around one’s torso or a body triangle clamp where he folds one leg under a knee creating a “figure 4” As with deadside position in a standing fight, optimally you will a side-mount or rear-mount position in a ground fight.

Defence: An active tactic to thwart, block, deflect or ward off an attack.

Decisive Action: Be both decisive and quick in responding to a violent encounter. Do whatever is necessary to overcome a dangerous threat.

Deflect- Redirect: To parry or misdirect and attack.

Designated Weapons: Specific weapons designed as tools to kill and maim (firearms, edged weapons, impact weapons, etc.)

Drowning Defences: Krav Maga uses its principal choke defenses, with modifications, to counter chokes and drowning attempts. A fundamental tenet of ground fighting applies to a drowning situation if the opponent is able to take one’s back: at all costs you must prevent this from happening.

Edged Bladed Weapon(s): Any designated knife or type of blade or, alternatively, a weapon of opportunity such as a broken beer bottle.  Any type of edged weapon that can be used to puncture or slash a person.

Edged Weapon Defences: Any and every advantage is required to defend against a determined assailant using an edged weapon.  A significant number of the population worldwide carries folding edged weapons or some other type of cutting instrument. Kitchen knives are accessible to just about anyone bent on doing harm. Never underestimate the harm an amateur, yet, nevertheless determined attacker can inflict — let alone someone skilled in edged weapons use. Essentially, anyone with a edged weapon in his or her hand could be a deadly threat, particularly if they have no compunction about getting “up close and personal.”

Slashing to the jugular and major arteries is usually fatal, but lacerations to the other parts of the body are generally not. Thrusting wounds are far more dangerous. Puncture wounds of more than 1.2 inches can produce instant shock and seriously damage or shut down internal organs.

It is likely that you will get cut. Of course, try to prevent wounds to your eyes, neck torso, and major arteries. Nevertheless, whatever injuries you might sustain, relentlessly pursue your defense and counter-attacks to end the threat. In short, the longer the edged weapon attack continues, the more your chances or surviving it diminish. Once you successfully defend and neutralize the threat, you must immediately think about triage. Seek professional help right away, and if not available, administer self-triage.

Edged Weapon Defence Variations:

  • Running away – from an edged weapon threat is a real and viable option. In fact, when possible, running might be your best defense. But if you must engage the assailant, Krav Maga once again emphasizes simultaneous defense and counter-attack. The counter-attacks must be targeted and forceful. The goal in striking an attacker’s eyes, nose, windpipe, groin and knees is to short-circuit his ability to continue the attack.
  • Damage the attacker – as much as possible to disrupt his physical ability to press the attack and destroy his resolve. Attempting an edged weapon disarm without debilitating counter-attacks can and will get you seriously hurt or killed. While Krav Maga emphasizes simultaneous counterattacks and weapon control as soon as possible, it may be that you have counter-attack and then disengage only to counter-attack again only when you deem it safe to close the distance, hurt the attacker, and control to control the attacker and remove the weapon
  • Judging distances – the logical progression of a weapon’s path(s) even when initially blocked or redirected, and the varied angles of attack are paramount to a successful defense. Israeli Krav Maga uses two ranges in combination with body defenses to defend edged weapons attacks: “legs or hands.” Either type of defense and range usually takes the defender off the line of attack in a position to deliver strong-counterattacks, with one exception: the instinctive defense against a surprise underhand attack. As with other Krav Maga defenses, employ a block or deflection-redirection when in the hand range coupled, when possible, with a body defense, combined with effective simultaneous counterstrikes, preferably to the assailant’s throat, groin or eyes.
  • Kick defenses – are usually employed when the defender sees the edged weapon at long range. Kicks harness your most powerful muscle groups and have the longest range of any of your personal weapons. In addition, kicks can be combined with the use of shield-like objects, such as a bag or briefcase, to simultaneously block or deflect-redirect an edged weapon attack way while delivering a debilitating combative to the assailant’s groin or knee. Strong defensive kicks with glicha keep the edged weapon farther away from you and are also best to stop a charging assailant’s momentum.
  • Hand defenses – are used when the assailant closes the distance quickly, takes the defender by surprise, or the defender is in a close quarters situation. Note, many students practice and emphasize hand defenses, however, when sparring against a facsimile edged weapon attack; they quickly revert and prefer leg defenses. Kick defenses come naturally when facing an assailant threatening with the edged weapon but who remains still uncommitted to the attack. Spitting in the assailant’s face as you launch your hand or leg defense is tried effective proven tactic.

Regardless of the defense you use, even if you are slashed or stabbed, you must continue to fight. In training you will probably get “nicked”, slashed or stabbed. Obviously, the goal is to improve your skill set to avoid being wounded at all let alone fatally slashed or stabbed. Again, if your defense is imperfect and you are stabbed or wounded, it is imperative that you press your defense and counterattack. Remember, you’ll fight as you train, so, try to train, as you’ll fight. If you no longer resist, your attacker will likely continue to administer wounds that will, no doubt, be fatal. Puncture wounds initially feel like strikes and slashes might not be evident until you see your own blood.

Note that Krav Maga defenses against a edged weapon, broken bottle, or syringe are principally all the same, however, the removal techniques from the assailant’s grip may differ. Absorb the principals and apply them against variations not covered using good common sense along with a little trial and error if necessary.

Edged Weapon Threats:

  • Edged Weapon Threats
  • Defending Against an Assailant Posturing/Threatening with a Edged weapon
  • Defending When the Assailant Switches the Edged weapon Between His Hands
  • An Assailant Posturing with an Edged Weapon at a Distance
  • Edged Weapon Threats against Defender’s Throat: An assailant can hold a edged weapon to your throat and threaten in two typical situations: (1) the edged weapon is held to throat with the assailant’s thumb up or (2) it is held across the throat with the assailant’s palm down. In either case, the assailant might also grab you with his other arm.
  • Edged Weapon Threat to the Defender’s Back
  • Edged Weapon Threat to the Defender’s Throat From the Rear
  • Edged Weapon Threat from the Side Behind the Arm

Educational Defence: This technique tells a would-be assailant that you are trained, hence, its name “educational defence.” The educational defence attacks the hollow of one’s opponent’s neck, one of the most vulnerable areas of the body when it can be reached.

Elbow Kiss: When securing an edged weapon or firearm held by an assailant and pinning it against the his body, the defender moves to the assailant’s deadside creating an angle between the defender’s arm and assailant’s arm where the tips of their respective elbows touch or “kiss.” The defenders’ forearm and assailant’s gun arm create a “V” by the underside of one’s forearm pressing against the topside of the assailant’s forearm

Elbow Strikes:

Elbow Strikes:  Elbow Strikes are powerful short range combatives making impact just below the elbow tip (for Elbows #1, #4 #8)  or, alternatively, just above the elbow tip (Elbows #2, #3, #5, #6, #7).  For maximum power the hips and torso must “explode” through the strike by pivoting/moving on the balls of the feet.  It is crucial to understand that while Elbow Strikes are short range combatives, for maximum effect, they require long movements or maximum reach.

Short Movements:  A short movement (the opposite of an optimum Long Movement) is an undesirable shortening of the body when using a deflection or strike. In other words, the defender is not extending through the movement and thereby not properly engaging the hips by usually not pivoting on the balls of the feet.

Long Movement:  An optimum movement (the opposite of an undesirable Short Movement) where the body is extends at optimum or maximum effective range by properly engaging the hips and pivoting on the balls of the feet.

Elbow Strikes Variations:

  • Elbow Strike #1 Front and Rear Horizontal Elbow Strikes: This horizontal (parallel to the ground) elbow’s path follows whatever opening or target one’s opponent gives you. Make impact with the target just below the tip of the elbow. Targets usually include the jaw, cheek, throat, and ear.
  • Elbow Strike #2 to the Side: A Lateral Elbow Strike can attack an opponent who is standing to one’s side. Use this strike to target the face, jaw, and throat. Contact is made with the tip of the striking elbow or just above the tip.
  • Elbow Strike #3 to the Rear: The horizontal rear elbow follows the same body movement principles of the reverse knuckles or hammer fist strike.
  • Elbow Strike #4: Similar to an Uppercut Punch, this technique uses the forearm bone to strike upward at the jaw, throat or chin. Make contact just below the tip of the striking elbow.
  • Elbow Strike #5: The Downward Drop Elbow Strike #5 is similar to the Vertical Hammer Fist. Targets again include the back of the neck, the area between the shoulder blades, and the kidneys. Make contact just below the tip of the striking elbow. This elbow is particularly powerful and a natural fit following a straight knee strike when the opponent doubles over exposing the back of his neck and base of his skull to attack.
  • Elbow Strike #6: The Midsection Rear Elbow Strike #6 delivers a compact strike to an opponent’s groin, midsection, face, and other targets. In this strike, one’s hips once again create the power by opening up as you take a short step backward with the leg on the same side.
  • Elbow Strike #7: The Rear Vertical Elbow Strike #7 is another good follow-on to the short rear elbow targeting the solar plexus, throat, or face with one’s elbow. Make contact with the area just above the tip of one’s striking elbow. You can also use a blunt weapon with this strike.
  • Elbow Strike #8: The “Over-the-Top” Elbow #8 strike is designed to slam down on one’s opponent. Targets include the eye ridge, nose, ear, and throat. The “Over-the-Top” Elbow uses a hip-pivot movement that’s somewhere between those used in the straight punch and in the roundhouse punch
  • Elbow Strike #9: When using the Forearm Elbow Strike #9, a short direct and rapid strike, aim for the throat, jaw or nose.
  • Elbow Strike #10: The Anti-Group Elbow Strike #10 targets the jaw, throat, nose, and any other part of the face. This is employed when you must make one’s escape from multiple assailants exploiting a seam or opening between two opponents in a group confrontation and exploit the seam to make one’s escape

Emerich (Imi) Lichtenfeld: Krav Maga Founder

Born in 1910 in Budapest, Hungary, Emerich “Imi” Lichtenfeld grew up in Bratislava, Czechloslavakia. Imi’s father, Samuel Lichtenfeld, joined a professional circus troupe, where he excelled in both wrestling and boxing. After developing extensive knowledge in fitness training along with wrestling, boxing, and mixed-skill fighting, Samuel joined the Czech police as a detective and led the force in arrests. Samuel founded and ran the wrestling club and gym “Hercules,” where he trained Imi and other young competitive athletes. Imi rapidly distinguished himself as a champion in judo, boxing, wrestling, gymnastics and ballroom dancing, among other athletic pursuits. Imi also became a world-class gymnast, trained a ballet-dancing troupe, and starred as a stage show thespian in “Mephisto”.


In 1935 Imi visited Palestine with a team of Jewish wrestlers to compete in the Jewish Maccabi sports convention. Unfortunately, Imi fractured a rib during a training accident and could not compete. This accident led to Imi’s fundamental training principle emphasized in his own words: “don’t get hurt.” Imi quickly concluded that only real necessity justifies a “win at all costs” approach. These two tenets eventually fused to create Imi’s Krav Maga training approach. Imi returned to Czechloslavakia to face increasing anti-Semitic violence. As Nazi hatred infected Slovakia, Jews were increasingly victims of near constant violence. To protect the Jewish community from marauding fascists and anti-Semites, Imi organized a group of young Jews to protect his community. On the streets, Imi quickly learned the vital differences between sport martial arts competition and street fighting. While serving on the front lines to protect his community, Imi began to combine natural movements and reactions with immediate and decisive counterattacks.

These community self-defence activities made Imi a wanted man by the fascist Nazi occupational authorities. Nazi intolerance soon quickly reached a crescendo as the Germans began their systematic extermination of European Jewry. In May 1940, the Beitar Zionist Youth movement invited Imi to join them on the riverboat, Pentcho, bound for Palestine. Imi steamed down the Danube through the hostile, yet unoccupied banks of Hungary, Croatia, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Romania and then into the open Black Sea through the Turkish Straits. He and other refugees survived the hardships of man and nature, including a quarantine intended to starve them while marooned on the Romanian delta. Imi showed his selflessness by plunging into the water and saving a drowning child. Consequently he developed an ear infection that would plague him throughout his journey.


Upon entering the Aegean Sea, the Pentcho’s engines failed, grounding the boat on a desolate island. Imi and three other refugees took a life boat and rowed for three days. Imi’s ear infection gradually worsened and became life-threatening. A British airplane spotted them and summoned a British warship to rescue them. After receiving treatment for his ear-infection, Imi enlisted in the British supervised Free Czech Legion. After exemplary military service in the Middle East, Imi was released from the British Army following the German Afrika Korp’s defeat at El Alamain in 1942. Imi was granted permission to remain in British-ruled Palestine. His friends then introduced him to the leaders of the Zionist community’s defense organizations. Although Imi escaped to Palestine, his family remained behind. They all died during the war.

Israel’s early leaders recognized Imi’s fighting abilities, innovativeness, and his ability to impart this training to others. Imi began training the Palmach (elite fighting units), the Palyam (marine fighting units), and the Hagana, which would merge into the modern-day Zahal or Israeli Defense Force. This training included fighting fitness, obstacle training, bayonet tactics, sentry removal, knife fighting, stave/stick fighting and any other military-oriented problems that required a creative solution.

In 1948 Imi became the principal authority in close-quarters-combat for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). He was in charge of training a disparate group of soldiers of all shapes, sizes, and abilities, many of whom did not speak the same language. He needed to develop a self-defense system that would work for not only spry eighteen-year-olds and elite fighting troops in prime physical condition, but also for middle-aged and graying reserve soldiers. He needed a system that soldiers could learn quickly, during their 3-week-long basic training. Finally, he needed a system that worked, one that soldiers could apply to any situation at any time intuitively and without hesitation.


Until the World War II era, traditional self-defense techniques left soldiers ill prepared to defend against armed attackers. As the fledging Israeli state formed, Imi knew its soldiers needed to learn a type of close-quarters combat that could protect them against firearms, explosives, and other modern threats. Thus, Krav Maga—the world’s most effective close-quarters combat system—was born. As he developed the method, Imi worked tirelessly to ensure Krav Maga success was not dependent on a practitioner’s strength or expertise in any one combative including punching, kicking, grappling or throwing. He took all aspects of a fight, both armed and unarmed, into account.

Imi had studied many different fighting styles in his youth including boxing, wrestling, judo, jiujitsu, aikado and fencing. In 1948, Imi melded his knowledge of these various fighting disciplines together and created the complete fighting system now known as Krav Maga. The fledgling Israel Defense Forces (IDF) immediately recognized his system and formally adopted it. Until the advent of Krav Maga, self-defense and close-quarters combat were thought of as two distinct methodologies. Self-defense usually included situations in which a defender was unaware of an impending attack. In close-quarters-combat, two opponents are aware of the other’s respective movements and perceived violent intent. Krav Maga fuses the two disciplines into one fighting system, giving you the tools you need to defense yourself both when taken by surprise as well as when you are well aware of your opponent. Imi emphasized neutralizing an attacker as soon as possible. This included instantaneously developing a fight strategy that could include defensive posturing, and movements, coordinated attacks and counter-attacks, and overall tactics.

Equidistant: The same distance.  This term is usually used when referring to footwork when one foot steps a certain distance the opposite footsteps an equal distance to keep the body in balance with a strong fighting platform intact.

Equipment for Krav Maga Training:

  • Boxing or MMA gloves: Foam encased training gloves to protect the hand and a sparring partner.
  • Cane training: Using a designated (wide handled cane) or walking cane for specific impact weapon combatives or integrating the cane with combatives using the legs.
  • Chest guards — protective padding worn over the chest when sparring or practicing kicks designed to partially absorb a kick or knee to the chest. Some styles resemble a catcher’s chest protector.
  • Focus Mitts: Small training hand pads ideal for punches
  • Groin Protection: Groin/Underbelly protectors provide the necessary protection not only during professional matches but also when training with a sparring partner. They are available for both men and women. Men’s and women’s groin protectors are adapted to the specific anatomy, and can easily be distinguished by their shape.
  • Headgear or Head Protection: Foam encased training partial helmet (and mask) to protect the head from impact (usually worn during sparring).
  • Kicking Shield: Large sized training pad ideal for punches, elbow and knee strikes, along with shin kicks.
  • Mouthpiece: A rubber or plastic mouth insert designed to protect the teeth when hit
  • Replica or Training Handguns: Training rifles usually made of plastic or rubber
  • Replica or Training Knives: Training knives usually made of plastic or rubber
  • Replica or Training Rifles: Training rifles usually made of plastic or rubber
  • Shinguards: Foam encased training shin pads to protect the hand and a sparring partner.
  • Thai pad: Medium sized training pad ideal for punches, elbow and knee strikes, along with shin kicks.
  • Training Stick/Baton: A foam coated or covered club usually between two and three feet used as an impact weapon.

Escape: Used in a traditional sense to denote fleeing from a situation or, alternatively, a tactic where one fighter “escapes” or maneuvers to avoid a lock or other type of attack.

Escaping Violence: Escape methods are a vital and significant part of the Krav Maga curriculum. Escape is your second choice when avoidance and de-escalation fail. Escape is different from avoidance as the aggressor has already begun his actions and you are actively fleeing.

Evade: To avoid, slip away, or use a body defense to thwart an attack.

Eye Gouge: Forcibly jamming a finger (usually the thumb) into an opponent’s eye socket to damage or dislodge the eyeball.

Eye Gouge Thumbs: You can also strike the eyes with one’s thumbs, penetrating the eye socket. This combative is certainly one of the most brutal and visceral in the Krav Maga arsenal. Use one’s opponent’s cheekbone as a guide to strike with one’s palm heel and then insert the thumb. Krav Maga’s rule of thumb (pardon the pun): if you can find the cheekbone, you can find the eye.

Facebar: A cervical neck lock orchestrated from the rear when taking an opponent’s back.

Face/ Weapon Control Hold: Control of the assailant’s head can work against any weapon, however, a handgun could be redirected at you, so you must be both diligent careful to control the weapon as well. Controlling the assailant’s head creates dominant control. Generally, if you control his head, you control his body.

Farside Leg: Leg farthest from the opponent.

  • Note: Nearside Leg: Leg closest to the opponent.

Feint: Feints deceive one’s opponent of one’s true intention and force him to react using an improper defense as you follow through with the actual combative. They can be difficult to master, but devastating to one’s opponent if employed properly. The key is to sell the feint by using one fluid movement instead of two. You convince one’s opponent you are going to do one combative, but, instead you do another.

Figure 4: Configuring the arms to wrap around an opponent’s target limb (choke or joint lock) or body or the legs to wrap around the opponent’s torso.  The arms or legs of the person performing the choke or lock contort or resemble the number “4”.

Figure 4 Lock: A lock or control hold securing an opponent’s arm, torso or ankle to exert pressure. The control hold is enabled by using both of one’s arms on the joint of the wrist, shoulder, or tendon of an opponent. A legs figure 4 may also be applied to an opponent’s torso by hooking one leg across the torso and securing it in the crook of the other leg’s knee.

Finger Eye Claws and Rakes: To the eyes can disable an opponent quickly and effectively. The eyeball can be collapsed with minimum pressure and easily scratched. Blinding or partially blinding an attacker sets up follow-up strikes to end a confrontation quickly.

Finger Manipulations/ Breaks: Finger manipulations and breaks are easy to learn. As with all joints, the fingers follow a natural articulation. When forced out of their natural articulation great discomfort ensues. Enough force will disable a finger’s movement by dislocation or break.

Firearm Defences: If someone pulls a gun on you and does not shoot, he or she wants something. It is possible that he or she may still shoot you, but, not before achieving a desired ends. When possible, compliance with the gunman’s demands is the best solution. Compliance, however, is not always possible; especially, if your instinct tells you the gunman intends you bodily harm no matter what. Of course, carefully consider your options and course of action. Again, there may be situations in which attempting a disarm is impossible and you must comply with the gunman’s wishes.

Firearm Defences Variations: Firearms are often referred to in Krav Maga parlance as “hot weapons.”

  • Seek to Create an Advantage – Similar to edged weapon defenses, to defend a firearm threat you must deflect-redirect the weapon using a body defense (as with edged weapons defenses) move off the line of fire combined with simultaneous combatives to facilitate the disarm. Most important, Krav Maga’s philosophy is to give you any and every advantage. You might have to wait until the assailant closes the distance or lowers his guard in response to your feigned acquiescence, when, in fact, you are simply waiting for the best opportunity to disarm him.
  • Be Aware – Your immediate environment and how they might affect your disarm including walls, curbs, parked vehicles, the confines of a small space such as an elevator or a vehicle. With all firearms disarms, carefully gauge the distance and your reach capability to deflect-redirect and secure the weapon.
  • Run Away – If the assailant has a handgun and you decide to run, the greater the distance between you and the gunman, the more likely you will not be hit. To be sure, a bullet moves faster than any human reaction. Handguns are difficult to fire with accuracy, especially at longer ranges and only skilled shooters can fire with decent accuracy at distance. Fortunately, criminals tend not to be the best shots, but the high capacity pistol magazines give them up to seventeen chances or more to hit you.
  • Serpentine Pattern – If you flee, you can choose to run in a non-linear pattern as fast as possible. In other words, flee using a zigzag pattern to make yourself a more difficult target or to locate cover to stop a bullet such as a building or the engine block of a vehicle. A gunman has more difficulty swinging his gun arm and body in the direction of his dominant arm to shoot accurately. If you are facing a right-handed gunman, move laterally to your left (his right) – it is more difficult for him to swing the gun across his body. With a left handed gunman move to your right. Obviously, if your back is the gunman the directions reverse as moving to his right side will also now be moving to your right side. These evasions are also applicable for rifle/SMGs and sub-machine guns.
  • Active Shooter – In an active shooter situation, it is preferable to begin your evasion plan (or a disarming technique) as soon as the threat is recognized. In short, non-telegraphed (body movements indicating what you are going to do before you actually do it) and unpredictable evasive maneuvers improve your chance of successfully disarming him or fleeing respectively.
  • Active Shooter: Trapped – If you can’t flee an Active Shooter scene, find cover or concealment. There is a difference between cover and concealment. Cover effectively shields you from incoming fire. Concealment hides you but is not impervious to gunfire. If you are located within reach of the gunman and you conclude fleeing or reasoning with him is futile, you must, of course, use the appropriate disarming technique. If you find yourself in an active shooter situation and you cannot close the distance for a disarming technique, you can throw objects at the gunman such as bags, books, chairs, staplers, coins, etc. to either close the distance for a disarm or as distractions in your attempt to flee. If you are hit, you may wish to feign being dead to prevent the shooter from pumping more rounds into you, but under no circumstances should you give up. Remember, many victims die because they lose the will to live.
  • Active Shooter: Crowd – In an active shooter situation within a crowd, one disarm technique, requiring great nerve, is to upend him. Close on him from behind, reach down and clasp his legs just above ankles and brace one shoulder against his buttocks and yank sharply backwards to dump him on his head. The assailant will let go of the weapon or, if he holds onto it, likely break his wrists on impact. As a last resort, a number of the intended victims may swarm the gunman to overwhelm him. This tactic, for untrained people and sometimes trained people alike, is contrary to human nature. Without a determined brave soul to initiate and rally the group into

Firearm Defences Four Pillars: If you decide there is no choice but to disarm an assailant you must follow the four pillars of Krav Maga’s firearm defenses:

  1. Redirect-deflect the line of fire combined with a body defense.
  2. Control the firearm whenever possible moving deep to the deadside while stunning and neutralizing the assailant.
  3. Understand “time in motion” – or what the gunman’s reaction will be the instant you react.
  4. Disarm the assailant and create distance maintaining the firearm

Firearm Disarmament Distances: There are five distances Krav Maga classifies for firearm disarm attempts:

  1. The firearm is extended from the assailant’s torso and held at distance but within arm’s length of you.
  2. The firearm is held close to the assailant’s torso but within arm’s length of you.
  3. The firearm is extended from the assailant’s torso and the muzzle is making physical contact with your body.
  4. The firearm is held close to the assailant’s torso and the muzzle is in physical contact with your body.
  5. The firearm is not yet deployed and you are in arm’s length of the potential assailant.

Firearm Disarm Philosophy: The brain slows down when processing several stimuli or engaged in two thought processes. If you must disarm an assailant brandishing a weapon – in this case a firearm – the most opportune time to act is when the assailant is distracted. He or she may be giving you an order or responding to your entreaty not to harm you. You might also spit in the assailant’s face or use another distraction such as throwing loose change, keys or anything else that is handy to initiate the disarm. Keep in mind, if you do attempt to disarm the assailant, he or she now considers you a deadly threat and will fight as if his or her life is at stake.

Firearms are ergonomically designed for the operator – not someone trying to take the weapon away, especially, if the operator has a two handed vice grip on it.  Therefore, whenever possible, you must move deep to the assailant’s deadside. In nearly every instance, the firearm will discharge as you deflect-redirect it because of the assailant’s reflexive flinch-trigger-pull-response. Do not worry about this. Your deflection-redirection hand will not get hurt. Prioritize securing the weapon while simultaneously debilitating your assailant with combatives to the throat, groin, eyes and other secondary targets.  As always, your Krav Maga must be decisive and brutally efficient. In addition, you need to secure the firearm in the best possible way reducing the chances of bystanders being shot.

Keep in mind that the assailant’s immediate instinctive or “flinch” response will be to retract his gun and pull the trigger. Therefore, your strategy must also incorporate “time in motion.” Time in motion is the movement pattern where the firearm (or any other type of weapon) is likely to end up as a result of your deflection-redirection and the assailant’s reflexive response. Once again, the need to move deep to the deadside is evident to keep yourself clear of the weapon’s line of fire..

Firearms Knowledge: There are two types of handguns, revolvers and semi-automatics, with the latter much more in circulation these days. A revolver uses a rotating cylinder to cycle the next round into the chamber while a semi-automatic uses a spring loaded clip that pushes another round into the chamber as the previous round is ejected. A revolver usually holds 5-8 rounds while a semi-automatic can hold from 8-17 rounds of ammunition. Some high capacity magazines can hold more than 17 rounds. If you disarm a gunman by securing the barrel and his finger is on the trigger, a semi-automatic handgun is likely to discharge.

Krav Maga frontal handgun defenses secure the slide preventing the ejection of the spent round rendering the gun temporarily inoperable. In the case of a revolver, securing it at the trigger guard while wrapping the hand around the cylinder can prevent it from cycling a new round as well. It is best to work with an expert to educate yourself on the firearms operations, especially, to learn how to clear the weapon and make it operational. This ability could be crucial after you have disarmed the assailant and created distance (more about this shortly.)  You should learn how to “tap and rack” a handgun to ready it for use or put it “in battery.” When a firearm is not operational, it is called “out of battery.”

Fish Hooking: Fish hooking: Forcing one of the five digits in an opponent’s eye to yank back on the eyeball.

Flying Knee: Flying knee: A (expert level) straight knee strike where the defender jumps on the forward leg to leap at the opponent targeting the knee strike at the opponent’s head using the same leg he initiated the leap.

Focus on Vulnerable Soft Tissue: Counter-attack the vulnerable areas of the one’s opponent’s body including the groin, eyes, and throat.

Force Multiplier: A borrowed military term, a force multiplier refers to a factor or a combination of factors that increases (hence, “multiplies”) the effectiveness of fighting tactics the ability to accomplish greater fighting efficacy than without it.

Foreleg:  The shinbone used to strike or create a barrier to stop an opponent from gaining a tactical position on the ground. (Please see also Brakes/Brace definition).

Foreleg Brace: An essential Krav Maga defensive position on the ground whereby the defender rolls onto his/her side using placing the bottom leg heel and top leg shin against an opponent to kick/gain separation the opponent while not allowing the opponent to gain a Mount or inside the Guard position.

Foreleg Brace into Armbar: The essential Foreleg Brace where the defender turns on one side to prevent the attacker from mounting or pummeling the defender with upper body attacks. By turning on one’s side, insert one’s top foreleg and knee between you and the attacker to keep her/him at bay as you deliver combatives such as eye gouges and throat strikes. The “brakes” technique disengages you from an attacker who is trying to spread one’s legs or mount you but it can also serve as snare to catch and trap the opponent for transitions into Straight Armbars (and Triangle Chokes, the next technique presented).

Foreleg Brace Into Short Triangle Choke: The Foreleg Brace also allows transitions into Triangle Choke Holds. Surviving on the ground sometimes means maiming or strangling the enemy.

Evade: To avoid, slip away, or use a body defense to thwart an attack.

Front Bear Hug Arms Free Driven Back Defence: This highly effective defense involves torquing the attacker’s neck using a one hundred and eighty degrees body turn placing enormous pressure on the opponent’s neck as you use one’s turning hips and body weight against the opponent’s neck while securing one of his legs with one’s own leg. This is otherwise known as a neck crank.

Gooseneck: A control hold that forces the opponent’s wrist at a 90 degree angle while trapping his elbow against one’s torso or the ground to create compliance pressure on the wrist.

Ground and Pound: When a fighter mounts or straddles and opponent to pummel him with upperbody strikes.

Ground Side Headlock: The ground side headlock is a hold that establishes a good base by exerting tremendous pressure on an opponent’s cervical vertebrae while also setting up an opponent for Krav Maga ground combatives.

Guard: A position on the ground where the defender is kneeling on the ground and the opponent secures the defender between the opponent’s legs with the opponent’s back to the ground. In the Open Guard, the opponent does not cross his legs across the defender’s back. In the Closed Guard, the opponent crosses his legs across the defender’s back. The Z Guard is another name for a defender Brace/Brakes ground positioning of the legs while on his side. (A position on the ground where the defender rolls slightly onto his side to place his bottom leg’s heel on the opponent and his top leg’s shin to push the opponent away to create distance or kick the opponent. The position prevents the opponent from gaining a mount or maneuvering between the defender’s legs [sexual assault.])

Guillotine: An air choke where one fighter traps the opponent’s head and neck facedown to apply pressure to the windpipe using the radial bone.

Gunt: A deflection or absorption of an incoming strike by bending one’s elbow to touch one’s bicep to one’s forearm. The angle of deflection depends on the strike. For example, to defend against a hook punch or roundhouse kick to the head, position the elbow to cover one’s head with the back of one’s arm parallel to the ground with the elbow tip facing slightly outward. The gunt may also be used to defend against knee attacks by jamming the attacker’s knee with the tip of the elbow.

Half Hook Similar to the straight punches, this technique best targets the nose, jaw, or throat. Make contact with the first two knuckles, while maintaining proper wrist alignment. The only difference between a Straight Punch is the angle of the punch, as the elbow is slightly bent all the way through the punch to the point of making contact. The punch allows for you to counter-attack from an “off-angle.”

Hammerfist: An upperbody strike when a fighter uses the fleshy underside of a closed fist to strike.

Hand Defences Against Edged Weapons: Hand defences are used when (1) the assailant closes the distance; (2) the defender is in a close quarters combat situation; (3) or the defender is surprised by the attack. In other words, you do not recognize the attack early enough to use leg defences, find yourself in a confined space where leg defenses are not an option, or burst directly into the incoming edged weapon. All Krav Maga weapon defences, when possible, move off the line of attack combined with defence and attack.

Hand Defences Against Edged Weapon Variations: Here are the typical “hands against knife” defences taught in the curriculum:

  • Defending an Incoming Overhead Stab
  • Overhead Defence When Not “Nose to Nose” or the Defender Can Burst Early
  • Defending an Overhead Off-Angle Stab When Facing in Opposite Direction
  • Straight Stab “L” Deflection
  • Straight Stab “L” Deflection when in an Opposite Outlet Stance .
  • Instinctive Defense against a Close Underhand Stab
  • Sidestep against an Underhand Stab
  • Defending an Off-Angle Underhand Stab .
  • Defending a Midsection Hook Stab or Slash
  • Defending an Inside Slash
  • Defending an Inside Diagonal Slash
  • Body Defense against an Inside Forward Slash and Follow-up Back Slash
  • Back Slash Defense or against a “Reverse” Stab
  • Body Defense against a Back Slash and Follow-up Inside Slash
  • Defending against a Stab or Slash to the Legs
  • Defending against an Assailant Who Strikes/Kicks and Stabs/Slashes
  • Defending against a Standing Assailant Slashing at Your Legs or Jumping on You
  • Defending Continuous (“Blender”) Edged Weapon Attacks
  • Late Defense Using Minimum Deflection-Redirection and Tsai-bake
  • Defense against an Assailant Who First Engages You in an Unarmed Fight and Then Attacks With an Edged Weapon.
  • Defences against a Needle
  • Defences When the Defender Is on the Ground
  • Overhead Attack Defence with the Defender on His Back
  • Hook Stab or Slash Defence with the Defender on His Back
  • Lower Body Stab with the Defender on His Back
  • Stab to the Throat with the Defender on His Back

Hand & Elbow Groin Strikes: Hand and Elbow Groin Strikes are highly effective follow-up strikes to the perpendicular rear elbow, or independent strikes in their own right. Use this strike to target one of the body’s most sensitive areas. One option to strike the groin is using a cupped hand. One may strike a forward, side, or rear-facing opponent. Groin strikes are highly effective against the popular Mixed Martial Arts and Jiu-Jitsu mount and guard positions, if you defend immediately.

Hands & Feet Together: The ability to fight with both arms and legs in a coordinated fashion.

Hand Range Defences: Hand range defences are used when the attacker is closer and the defender recognizes the assault with enough time to intercept or deflect the attack. Similar to leg range defenses, the key is using proper timing, target selection, and moving on both balls of your feet to drive your body mass through the aggressor’s targeted anatomy.

Haymaker: A looping hook attack generally thrown by an untrained fighter though the term is occasionally used in fight sports.

Headbutt: A strike using the head targeting the opponent’s eye orbit, temple, nose or chin.

Headbutt Variations:

  • Front
  • Rear
  • Sides

Headbutts can be a highly effective counterattack, especially when you smash one’s opponent’s face by surprise. Targets include the opponent’s temple, chin, and nose.

Headbutt Defences: A simple raised elbow parallel to the ground puts a formidable obstacle and deterrent to one’s opponent delivering a head butt. It also provides you with the ability to strike

Headlock Defence Variations:

  • Duck against Choke or Side Headlock: A quick defense against a choke or side headlock is to move underneath, slapping the groin with the option of elbows, chokes, and throws against one’s attacker.
  • Groin and eye or filtrum combined attack.

Heel Stomp: The Heel Stomp is a simple and highly effective combative targeting the top of the attacker’s foot or other exposed areas such as the groin, head, and throat (in a deadly force encounter), ribs, kidneys or hands. Note, you can also strike his Achilles if he is kneeling, which will likely hobble him.

High Sidekick Defence: To defend against a high sidekick to the head, one can use the inside cross parry punch defense to deflect the kick as you learned against a straight kick to the head. Alternatively, while risky, one may use a deflection underneath the kick with one’s forearm while dropping one’s torso to take one’s head below the kick (a modified #1 block from a 360 degree instinctive defense where you have different blocking positions by moving one’s arms in a defensive circle) to send it upward away from one’s head.

Hand Pad or Muay Thai Pad: maneuverable foam pad designed to be held by a training partner for punches, elbows and other upper-body strikes.

Handgun Defences (also see Firearm Defenses): Here are the typical handgun defence variations:

  • Frontal Handgun Defence Modification When the Assailant Falls Backwards
  • Frontal Handgun Defence against Handgun on the Assailant’s Hip, Under His Garment, or in His Coat Pocket
  • Frontal Handgun Defence When the Assailant holds the Handgun in Front of Your Head
  • Frontal Handgun Defence When on Your Knees
  • Frontal Handgun Defence When Shoved Backwards with Free Arm or Barrel
  • Frontal Handgun Defence with the Assailant’s Other Arm Extended in Front and the Handgun is Pressed to His Hip
  • Frontal Handgun Defence When Held to the Throat
  • Frontal Handgun Defences While on the Ground
  • Defence against Handgun When on Your Back
  • Frontal Handgun Defence When You Are on Top
  • Handgun Defences from the Side (In Front of and Behind the Arm)
  • Handgun in Front of the Ear
  • Handgun Behind the Ear
  • Hostage Defence against a Handgun Held to the Side of the Head
  • Hostage Defence against a Handgun to the Side of Your Head When on Your Knees
  • Defence While Lying in Bed against an Assailant Holding A Handgun to Your Head
  • Handgun Defences from the Rear
  • Rear Handgun Defence with the Assailant Placing One Arm in Front to Push Forward or Keep His Distance
  • Rear Handgun Defence with Assailant’s Free Arm on Your Shoulder for Control and Handgun Compressed Against Your Torso
  • Defence against a Handgun to the Back of the Head
  • Handgun Defences to the Back of the Head When Pressed against a Wall (Hands Are Pressed Against a Wall and With Your Hands At Side)
  • Handgun Defence from the Rear When the Assailant is Controlling/Choking You with His Free Arm
  • Rear Handgun Defence to the Head When on Your Knees
  • Defence When the Handgun is Visible in the Front Waistband
  • Defence When the Handgun in the Rear Waistband

Headlock: A grappling or typical street hold when an assailant wraps his arms around the defender’s head or neck usually from the side forcing the defender’s head towards the ground.

High Closed Guard: One’s back is to the ground with one’s opponent is pincered between one’s legs which are hooked at the ankles.

Hiptoss: Hip throw

Hook Punch: Hook Punches are powerful and can circumvent an opponent’s defence. The punch’s path follows whatever opening or vulnerability one’s opponent gives you. Targets usually include the jaw, cheek, throat, and ear. Krav Maga uses the sub-terms Front Hook and Rear Hook to denote which arm is delivering the punch from an outlet stance.

Hook Punch Combination: The one-two Front-Rear Hook Punch Combination takes advantage of the momentum of one’s body. Begin in one’s regular outlet stance with one’s hands protecting one’s face. Deliver a front roundhouse strike. Then, immediately follow up with a rear roundhouse punch.

Hook Punch Body: The Body Hook Shot combative delivers a roundhouse punch to the torso, primarily targeting the kidneys, liver, and floating ribs.

Hot Weapons: Firearms

Horizontal Palm Heel Strike: The Horizontal Palm Heel Strike is a highly effective strike to the temple, ears and jaw. This strike is particularly useful, as it uses an open hand, thereby minimizing the danger to one’s knuckles and wrist. In addition, the strike can (and should) be delivered without telegraphing, making it more difficult to spot, and, thus, defend.

Human Responses Life Threatening Encounter: Both anxiety and subsequent fear, when triggered in a potentially violent situation, protect the body. Adrenalized strength along with a heightened internal first-aid capability is summoned. When confronting a life-threatening situation, shock can be more of a problem than fear. Fear triggers certain automatic human responses including physical, emotional, perceptual, and cognitive—triggering the freeze/flight/fight reaction. Fear creates time and distance distortions where actions may be perceived to speed up or slow down. Fear, when transformed to panic, can also paralyze. Paradoxically, the human mind may ignore danger when the body is instinctively reacting otherwise. Cognition, or an attempt at reason may override the instinctive recognition of danger. The key is to transition immediately from surprised/fearful to a Krav Maga assault mind-set. The following are some well-documented human responses in a violent situation of which you must be aware:

  • Tunnel Vision: Under extreme stress, to increase blood and oxygen delivery to your eyes your attention may be focused primarily on the greatest threat resulting in a temporary lost of peripheral vision.
  • Auditory Exclusion. When in a crisis or violent situation, your vision takes over while your hearing diminishes. Your body is funneling all of its resources into recognizing and coping with the threat.
  • Time and Space Compress (tachypsychia): When in danger or violent situation, time and space will become muddled with your added difficulty in judging the interrelationship of speed and distance. Movements may appear in slow-motion.
  • Random Distracting Thoughts Can Occur: When in danger or violent situation, the brain struggles with itself to prevent conscious decision making from interfering with primordial flight-or-fight mechanism).
  • Behavioral Looping. When in danger or violent situation, repetitive behavior or behaviorial looping may occur whereby you repeat an action again and again while denying that the attack is actually happening. You may delude yourself by not seeing something—however harmful—so you do not have to face it, which can get you immediately maimed or killed.

Human Criminal Violence: A criminal uses violence as a physical tool to acquire valuables. Raw criminal violence is more prevalent in isolated places, which provides privacy for predators. Criminology studies underscore that criminals usually rely more on intent rather than a specific (trained) method of violence. Criminals do not operate using the same set of accepted social beliefs of their victims who respect the social contract and obey the law. The criminal predatory assault mind-set is ruthless. Some attackers view their targets as humans while other sociopath attackers can “dehumanize” or make someone an outsider thereby denying any social contract. “Dehumanizing” can pave the way for violence by distinguishing or rationalizing another person’s humanity away. The attacker need not necessarily be physically skilled. If he succeeds in stunning the victim, he can compound the damage requiring little ability other than targeting the victim’s vulnerable anatomy.

Human Emotionally Disturbed Violence: When dealing with an aggressor with an altered mind, rational rules of human behavior do not apply. One solution when dealing with a mentally impaired aggressive individual is to avoid direct eye contact while listening passively and disarmingly. Nevertheless, expect the unexpected and, accordingly, be prepared physically. A sociopath views asocial criminal violence as a useful tool. Pleading with a sociopath usually will not succeed. To counter asocial criminal violence where there may be no quarter given to you, you must break down the attacker’s body.

Note: Rape can fall into both criminal and sociopathic categories.

Human Social Violence: Humans have subconscious rules governing social violence. The contest of teaching someone a lesson by asserting social dominance by either intimidation or physical force usually does not involve grave injuries or murderous intent. Scientists have noted that evolution wired our brains to generally avoid killing (a hardwired safety mechanism) when testing social dominance. With animal and humans alike, hierarchical conflict is rarely lethal, but males, in particular, often have difficulty backing down from status conflict.

The reality is that some people will tolerate effrontery and abuse while others will not. Amateur social violence occurs, for example, when Aggressor #1 (A1) is not entirely committed to injuring Aggressor #2 (A2). A1 hopes one combative will likely hurt or subdue, but, importantly, not injure A2 to deter him from continuing. In summary, the goal of amateur violence is to “put a hurt” on someone, but not to truly injure the attacker. The takeaway is that you should recognize impending social violence and not let it control or dictate your future.

IDF: Israeli Defence Force

Impact Weapons: Any type of designated (baton) or improvised weapon (ex: golf club, pool cue, bottle) used to strike an opponent.  Note the ground, may also be designated an impact weapon when a person crashes into it through a takedown or throw.

Impact Weapon Defences:

Impact weapon attacks can come in many forms. For example, someone can try to smash you with a baton, hammer, crow-bar, impact weapon-like object, bottle, chair and anything onsite an assailant can pick up to hit you.

The three fundamental principals are:

  1. Close the distance between you and the assailant while deflecting-redirecting the attack
  2. Disengage until you recognize the correct timing to then close the distance
  3. Retreat straight away

Attacks can come from a myriad of directions, heights, and angles in single swing attacks or multiple salvoes. Impact weapons (along with edged weapons) are often referred to in Krav Maga parlance as “cold weapons.”

Impact Weapon Defence Variations:

Here are the typical variations taught in the Krav Maga curriculum:

  • Overhand One Handed Strike Defense
  • Overhand Defense against a Long Distance Attack or When Late
  • Defending an One Handed Overhand “Off Angle” Defense
  • Defending a Two Handed Overhead Chair or Stool Type Attack
  • Defending a Side Swing Impact Weapon Attack
  • Defending a Low Side Swing Impact Weapon Attack
  • Defending an Attacker Using Two Impact Weapons
  • Defending against an “X” pattern strike
  • Defending against a Chain or Whip-like Attack
  • Defending against an Overhead Impact Attack When on the Ground
  • Defending against an Upward Rifle Butt Stroke
  • Defending against a Horizontal Rifle Butt Stroke
  • Defending against a Impact Weapon Front Choke
  • Defending against a Pulling Impact Weapon Rear Choke

Improvised Weapon(s): Any weapon of opportunity (as opposed to a designated weapon) that is within arm’s reach such as a pen, book, laptop computer,

In Battery: An expression denoting a firearm is ready to fire (magazine is seated properly and a round is in the chamber).

Inside Defence: An inside defense defends against an inside or straight attack. This type of attack involves a thrusting motion such as jabbing one’s finger into someone’s eye or punching someone in the nose.

Inside Defence Variations:

  • Inside Deflection against a High Straight Kick: This defense parries a straight high kick to one’s head. It is similar to the first step of the inside L Deflection against a straight punch.
  • Inside “L” Deflection against a Straight Rear Punch While Stepping “Off the Line”: This defence, similar to the inside sliding parry, allows you deflect an incoming straight right punch from either side while simultaneously moving away from the punch, trapping the opponent’s arm, and delivering one own straight punch counterattack to the throat, chin, or nose.
  • Inside Sliding Parry against a Straight Rear Punch While Stepping “Off the Line: This defence allows you deflect an incoming punch from either side while simultaneously moving away from the punch and delivering one’s own straight punch counterattack to the throat, chin, nose, midsection or groin.
  • Instinctive Inside Deflection with Palm Heel/Forearm Retreat: From a natural stance or open stance facing one’s opponent, the inside instinctive deflection with palm heel/forearm to redirect kick is designed to redirect a straight kick launched at one’s groin or midsection while you step back to create distance from the attacker. The defence will work against either a front or a rear kick, but works better against a rear kick (assuming you and one’s opponent are in left outlet stances) because the defence will bring you to one’s opponent’s deadside. This defence builds on our instinct to swipe

Keylock: A grappling hold in which a contestant uses both arms to lock an opponent’s arm in a compromised bent position.

Kick Defence: One’s lower body houses the most powerful fighting weapons that you can use at maximum fighting range. One’s knees, shin bones, and the balls of one’s feet (especially when clad in shoes) serve as hard and durable striking surfaces. When you kick or knee one’s opponent, you use one’s body’s largest muscle groups, including the gluteals, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Krav Maga recognises the need to use fighting techniques that would work for all trainees, especially under trying circumstances. Therefore, low kicks combined with upper body combatives became integral to Krav Maga training. When asked if Krav Maga favoured kicks to the head, Imi replied, “Of course we kick to the head, but first we beat him to the ground and then we kick to the head.”

Kick Defence Variations:

  • Straight Kick: Launch the kick from low to high or “under the radar screen” of one’s opponent’s vision while pivoting on the ball of the base-leg (non-kicking) foot 90°. Connect with the ball of one’s foot against one’s target. Do not raise the knee up and then push out to kick. Rather, snap or thrust the kick towards the target. Land, after impact, with one’s kicking leg forward. Keep one’s hands up the entire time. Many people unconsciously drop their hands to improve their balance. (Note: You can practice keeping one’s hands up by grabbing one’s shirt collar as you kick). Straight Kick variations:
  • Straight Shin Kick: The Straight Shin Kick may also be delivered making contact to the opponent’s groin with one’s shin.
  • Lead Straight Offensive Kick with Glicha Shuffle Step: The Lead Straight Kick may be enhanced by using a shuffle step. Essentially, you are replacing one’s front foot position with one’s rear foot position.
  • Rear Straight Offensive Kick with Sliding Step: The Rear Straight Kick with secoul places one’s entire body in motion to maximize one’s reach, momentum, and kinetic energy. This is achieved by using a sliding step with one’s front base leg. Essentially, you are stepping forward, while simultaneously pivoting on one’s front base leg. The kick is a slide, not a jump.
  • Retreating Straight Kick: The Retreating Straight Kick may be used when you attempt to de-escalate a situation by moving away from the conflict, and yet the opponent follows you. Step back with one’s lead leg.
  • Straight Instep Kick Standing: The Straight Instep Kick is highly effective against a standing opponent’s knee when you are upright or on the ground either on one’s back or on one’s side. The kick is delivered using one’s instep against the attacker’s leg, preferably his knee.
  • Straight Heel Kick When on the Ground: Even when you’re on the ground, you can successfully launch a front Straight Heel Kick against a standing opponent. As soon as you fall to the ground, protect one’s head, using arm positioning similar to one’s outlet stance to form one’s defensive posture.
  • Side Kick: The Side Kick may be the most important Krav Maga tool in one’s arsenal, provided you are at the correct range to use it. The Sidekick and Rear Straight Defensive Kick build one’s arsenal of combatives, enabling you to kick a threat to one’s side or rear. The Sidekick is highly effective against lateral attacks such as straight punches, where you can use the kick’s superior reach and power against the attacker’s forward knee, thighs, or midsection. Variations include:
  • Stepping Sidekick: The Stepping Sidekick is an extremely powerful combative that enables you kick an opponent who is to one’s side, while covering a longer distance. Targets include the shin, knee, thigh, midsection, or head. The Stepping Sidekick is an effective combative for striking an opponent at a greater distance using a step (secoul) by varying one’s left outlet stance, or “cheating” by positioning one’s feet almost perpendicular to one’s opponent, rather the left outlet stance when one’s feet are positioned about 45 degrees to one’s opponent.
  • Ground Sidekick: The Ground Sidekick works well if you find oneself on the ground with one’s attacker standing over you. The attacker’s knees, thighs, and groin usually present the best targets when in this position.
  • Rear Defensive Kick: Targets for Rear Defensive Kick include the knees, thighs, groin, midsection, and solar plexus. Higher kicks can target the neck and head. To recognize a threat from behind, turn one’s head in the direction of one’s attacker. Even though one’s upper torso will naturally lean away from the kick, drive one’s body through the target. Thrust one’s foot into one’s opponent, connecting with one’s heel, as you did with the sidekick. You may connect with one’s foot parallel to the ground or with one’s toes pointed to the ground.
  • Roundhouse Kick (using the shin bone but also for precision the ball of the foot): The Roundhouse kick is a strong arcing combative using the shin or ball of the foot for precision.
  • Front Roundhouse Kick: The Front Roundhouse Kick is a particularly effective quick kick because of one’s proximity to one’s opponent. This swift and powerful combative strike targets the opponent’s vulnerable leg areas. The medium-height roundhouse kick targets the groin, midsection, ribs, and kidneys, whereas a high roundhouse kick targets the neck and head.
  • Rear Roundhouse Kick: Similar to the Front Roundhouse Kick, the powerful Rear Roundhouse Kick attacks the opponent’s vulnerable leg areas. A medium-height Roundhouse Kick targets the groin, midsection, ribs, and kidneys, whereas a high Roundhouse Kick targets the neck and head. You can connect with either one’s shin or with the ball of one’s foot.
  • Low Roundhouse Kick Sweep: The Low Roundhouse Kick Sweep buckles or “sweeps” an opponent’s leg or legs out. The main target is usually the Achilles tendon; however, the knees are also vulnerable to this type of combative.
  • Roundhouse Kick When on the Ground: A Roundhouse Kick can also be effectively delivered should you find oneself on the ground facing a standing opponent. To deliver the kick you must rise off the ground either by using two hands to lift one’s torso off the ground or, alternatively, using a forearm to lift one’s body.


  • Spinning Side Kick: This tremendously powerful combative enables you spin and kick an opponent who is to one’s front or side. This kick is designed to follow one’s sliding (Hebrew: glicha) or stepping (Hebrew: secoul) Side Kick. This can be a particularly devastating surprise combative targeting the knees, thigh, groin midsection or even the head.
  • Instep Straight Kick: This short kick (crosses the body when delivered from the rear leg) uses the heel or instep to attack the opponent’s knee
  • Hook Kick and Spinning Hook Kick: A hook kick strike with the heel or pad of the foot by extending the leg out and curling the foot back towards the torso.
  • Inside Slap Kick: Inside and outside slap kicks: respectively may be used to knock and opponent’s hands down exposing his head to upper body combatives. In addition, when no other defense is possible, the slap kick may be used to defeat a midlevel weapon attack by slapping away the opponent’s arm and continuing with additional counter-attacks.
  • Scissors Kick (Straight, Roundhouse and Side Kicks): Scissors Kicks are advanced kick using one’s kicking leg to both spring you into the air and deliver the kick. This kick is most often used in combination with the Cavalier #1 takedown.
  • Axe Kick: This kick raises the leg high to chop down on an opponent’s upper body using the heel.
  • Flying Kicks (Straight, Roundhouse and Side Kicks): Flying kicks – using Krav Maga’s core three kicks – are preformed targeting the opponent’s head.

Kick Combinations:

Kick combinations allow a defender to use the lower body’s powerful muscles and reach to debilitate an attacker. Targets usually include the knee, thigh, and groin. Of course, targets higher on the body are also available, including the stomach, solar plexus, chin, and face. The following four kick combinations are highly effective:

    • Front Straight Kick into rear Straight Kick (using opposite legs)
    • Rear Straight Kick into Rear Straight Kick (using opposite legs by having the rear kick land forward and making the former front leg the rear leg)
    • Front Straight Kick into Rear Roundhouse Kick (using opposite legs)
    • Front Roundhouse Kick into Rear Roundhouse Kick (using opposite legs)

Kick and Knee Combinations:

Kicks may also be combined with knee strikes, if one’s first kick does not drive the opponent back. The following five kick and knee combinations are highly effective: 

  • Straight Kick Combination into Same Leg Straight Knee Strike
  • Front Straight Kick into rear Straight Knee (using opposite legs)
  • Rear Straight Kick into Rear Straight Knee (using opposite legs by having the rear kick landing forward and making the former front leg the rear leg)
  • Front Straight Kick into Rear Straight Knee (using opposite legs)
  • Front Roundhouse Kick into Rear Straight Kick (using opposite legs)

Kick/ Punch Combination Drills:

  • Straight rear kick with step forward (into opposite outlet stance) and punch in one motion
  • Straight front kick forward with step and punch with same side arm
  • Straight kick to groin from rear and knee to head with same leg
  • Low/high roundhouse combination with same leg
  • Straight kick forward and then knee with other leg
  • Shove opponent backwards to unbalance him and deliver low roundhouse sweep
  • Blocking opponent’s vision with hand or glove and sweeping
  • Sweeping opponent’s base leg when opponent kicking

The recognition and interpretation of nonverbal body movement including facial expressions and gestures.

A large foam shield designed to be held by a training partner for kicks and knee strikes.

Kinetic energy is the measure of tissue damage you inflict on an impact area. Krav Maga Global emphasizes transferring both momentum and kinetic energy through a strong small robust striking point such as the first two knuckles (pointer and middle finger) of the hand, as opposed to all four knuckles. Extreme force driven through vulnerable anatomy creates injury. Combative strikes harvest the largest possible load of kinetic energy to then drive it through the opponent’s targeted anatomy. This is achieved by harnessing the body’s entire body weight to propel it using a balanced movement through the target via a combative strike. The combative strike can only be optimised when you create sound structure, as the Krav Maga combatives depicted in classes demonstrate.

An adopted Japanese term for a lock forcing an opponent’s arm behind his back in a compromised position using a keylock hold. Used in both Krav Maga and Sambo classes.

See: Kick Defence

  • Straight Knee Strikes: Knee attacks provide some of the most punishing strikes and a strong finish to any technique. Shorter- range elbow strikes work extremely well when combined with knee strikes and are strong follow-up combatives into retzev. Notable variations:

  • Flying Knee: are preformed targeting the opponent’s head.

  • Offensive Knee and Trap against Attacker Standing in Left Outlet Stance: This combined Offensive Knee and Trap combative is designed to catch and control one’s opponent’s arms while delivering a devastating front knee to the opponent’s groin, thigh, or midsection, followed by additional retzev combatives .

  • Roundhouse Knee Strikes: Similar to a Roundhouse Kick, this best targets the kidneys and ribs. Use the same technique and movement for the front and rear roundhouse knees as you do for the front and rear roundhouse kicks, except do not extend one’s leg. Instead, you will connect with one’s kneecap instead of one’s foot.

  • Rear Half-Roundhouse Knee: The Half-Roundhouse Knee utilizes both the shin bone and the patella to make contact to the opponent’s thigh. One’s base leg (as with all kicks and knee strikes) pivots to allow one’s hips full follow-through for maximum power.

  • The Front Knee Followed by Horizontal Elbows: This Rear Straight Knee into Horizontal and the one-two alternating Horizontal #1 Elbow combination followed by another Rear Straight Knee takes advantage of the momentum of one’s body movement. This combination is a great tactic to launch into close quarters retzev. Begin in one’s Left Outlet Stance with one’s hands protecting one’s face. Deliver a Rear Straight Knee Strike. As you begin to touch down with one’s right foot launch a Rear Horizontal Elbow #1 strike making sure to use maximum reach. Follow through completely and then execute a second Rear Horizontal Elbow #1 strike with one’s left arm (one’s knee strike switched one’s outlet stance) followed by a Rear Straight Knee. Note, how on one’s second Rear Horizontal #1 Elbow Strike, one’s weight shifted to one’s front leg as you pivoted? This weight shift facilitates the movement of one’s rear left leg into a Straight Knee Strike.

  • Knee on Stomach: Another strong control position placing one’s full weight on one’s opponent’s midsection and hooking one’s foot into one’s opponent’s hip while resting on the ball of one’s foot to create a stable striking platform and wear down one’s opponent’s body down by digging one’s weight into his midsection.

  • Knuckles Edge Strike to the Throat: A strike to the side of the neck or windpipe using the four knuckles of a knife hand.

  • Knuckles Rake Strike: The Knuckles Rake combative targets the eye ridge, temple, or nose. Contact is made with the middle three knuckles. The strike is made by raking down on the target at an accessible angle. 

Imi emphasized good citizenship and a strong sense of morality. The following pillars of Imi’s system help summarize his teachings.

  • Good citizenship: Treat one’s fellow-citizens with respect and obey the law. Imi sought to instill “a sense of self worth.”

  • Train properly to avoid injury: Do not injure one’s partner or one’s self by training haphazardly or over aggressively.

  • Act humbly: Do not show-off one’s skills or provoke others to test one’s mettle. Act courteously toward others. As Imi said, “The most necessary thing, is to educate you– and that is the hardest thing–to be humble. You must be so humble that you don’t want to show him that you’re better than him. That is one of the most necessary things for pupils. If a pupil tells me, ‘I fought him and beat him,’ it’s no good.”

  • Avoid confrontation: Avoid or deescalate a potential violent situation whenever possible. When asked about a hypothetical confrontation that could be avoided, Imi responded, “Know what I told you – to be humble. I don’t want to get beaten. I don’t want to beat him. My purpose in learning Krav Maga is not to get hurt. If you beat him, you want to show him you can beat him. If you turn away, you have enough confidence.”

  • Do not use unnecessary force: Respond to a threat or attack with only the necessary amount of force to neutralize the attack. Imi underscored, “That is most necessary and difficult thing in Krav Maga – that I must be so good that I don’t must kill.”

  1. Straight Kicks/Knees

  2. Low-line Sidekicks and Rear Defensive Kicks=

  3. Low Roundhouse Kicks

  4. Linear Straight Punches and Palm Heel Strikes

  5. Eye Rakes and Gouges

  6. Groin Strikes and Biting

  7. Hook Palm Heel Strike and Inside Chops

  8. Horizontal #1 Elbow

  9. Over-the-top #8 Elbow

  10. Rear Elbow #3 and Outside Chops/Forearm Strikes

  11. Chokes

  12. Takedowns (without the defender going to the ground)

Krav Maga’s Core Tenets: 

  • Attacking the assailant becomes instinctive. Target the assailant’s anatomical vulnerabilities.
  • Defence becomes simultaneous offense. Combine your defense and offense into one complete strategy.
  • Continuous “combat motion.” Krav Maga emphasizes retzev, a Hebrew word that means “continuous motion.” Combine and synchronize counterattack combatives in a logical way to overwhelm the assailant, giving your opponent little or no time to either react or recover.
  • Understand the difference between retzev and a mere series of counterattacks. A series of counterattacks lacks continuity; your counterviolence will not flow instinctively. Retzev enables your body to move instinctively—without thinking about your next move—in combat motion to exploit your assailant’s vulnerabilities.
  • Decisive action. Take him out.
  • No fighting inhibitions. Do whatever is necessary to overcome a dangerous threat. Damage—as opposed to hurt—your assailant.
  • Master a few effective tactics. Learn a few core defensive movements and counterattacks.
  • Making your training as real as possible. Training must attempt to simulate a real attack for you to understand the speed, ferocity, and strength a determined assailant may direct at you.
  • Visualization and scenario planning. In addition to training with a partner, you can also use your mind to train your body to automatically and instinctively react to danger.


SGS Krav Maga’s Tactical Ten Commandants

  1. Krav Maga can work against any attacker; the key is your mind-set. Never accept defeat or surrender. If you can breathe, you can fight. Do what you must to prevail.
  2. Assess your surroundings. Common sense, basic precautions, and a confident demeanor minimize your chances of being attacked.
  3. Nonviolent conflict resolution is always your best solution. De-escalate and disengage when possible.
  4. A few mastered techniques go a long way and are highly effective in most situations.
  5. The essence of Krav Maga is to neutralize an attacker quickly; there are no rules.
  6. A strategy to end your attacker’s fighting ability is paramount when using simultaneous defence and attack. Fight positioning by moving off the line of attack determines your tactical advantage.
  7. Footwork and body positioning, whether standing or prone, allow you to simultaneously defend and attack allowing for seamless combative transitions, essential to perform retzev or “continuous combat motion.”
  8. Optimally, a kravist will move quickly to a superior and dominant position, the “dead side” to finish the fight. You dictate the fight using retzev combatives.
  9. Dead-side strategy revolves around your capabilities and preferred tactics involving long, medium, and short combatives combined with evasive maneuvers. This positioning becomes even more important when facing multiple attackers.
  10. Retzev is seamlessly using all parts of your body for an overwhelming, decisive counterattack. Combined with simultaneous defense and attack, retzev is the backbone of Krav Maga as a fighting system.

Fight positioning determines one’s tactical advantage. Optimally, a kravist or skilled Krav Maga fighter will move quickly to a superior and dominant position relative to his opponent, known in Krav Maga parlance as the deadside

This defense becomes necessary when you do not recognize an incoming low roundhouse kick early enough to defend it otherwise and must absorb the kick.

Defensive tactics that may kill an opponent.

If avoidance, de-escalation and escape fail, the goal is never to waver about resorting to counter-violence in the face of violence. True self-defense focuses not simply on survival, but rather on how to neutralize the opponent. There is no pity or humanity in a visceral self-defence situation provided the counterforce is legally justifiable. Legally, you must be able to articulate what you did and why you did it. One’s actions must be objectively reasonable to allow for an affirmative defence, should you face legal inquiry.

Krav Maga has three core leglock combatives designed to attack the Achilles tendon, ankle and knee respectively.

  • Achilles Leg lock: The Achilles Leglock targets the Achilles tendon, hence its name. It can often be applied as a surprise counterattack. The Achilles Leglock is an effective counterattack against an opponent who is trying to pull you into his guard or go to ground with you. It can be applied as a surprise attack as soon as you go to ground with one’s attacker.

  • Standing Achilles Leg lock: An Achilles Leg lock may also be executed while an opponent is on the ground and you are standing. In this case, you want to execute the Legbar against his leg while to his outside. Do not attempt the bar while straddling his free leg because he can kick you in the groin. You can also apply the bar to an opponent who is standing over you, while you are on the ground, by cinching the Achilles tightly and using one’s legs to force one’s opponent off-balance or take him down.

  • Ankle-heel Leg lock: The Ankle-heel Leglock “Figure 4” is also a highly effective combative to dislocate the ankle and rupture tendons and ligaments. Ankle-heel locks, sometimes known as “toe holds” are often preceded by a takedown. The heel hook is a highly effective technique, attacking the ligaments of the knee in addition to the ankle.

  • Knee Shredder Lock: Should you once again find one’s self with one’s back on the ground with an opponent’s leg foot within one’s grasp, you can apply a devastating Knee Shredder Lock. The Knee Shredder Lock is designed to cause severe damage to the knee by tearing its ligaments.

Krav Maga uses two ranges in combination with body defences to defend edged weapons attacks: “legs or hands.” Either type of defence and range usually takes the defender off the line of attack in a position to deliver strong-counterattacks, with one exception: the instinctive defence against a surprise underhand attack. As with other Krav Maga defences, employ a block or deflection-redirection when in the hand range coupled, when possible, with a body defence, combined with effective simultaneous counterstrikes, preferably to the assailant’s throat, groin or eyes.  

Here are the typical “leg defences against knife” in the curriculum against edged weapon attacks and threats:

  • Straight Kick against an Overhead Attack: The most typical edged weapon attack is an overhand attack targeting the defender’s neck area. The attack is best foiled at long range with a strong kick to the groin in combination with a body defence, especially, when the assailant is charging at the defender.

  • Straight Kick against an Underhand Attack: The second most typical edged attack is an underhand attack targeting your midsection or groin. The attack is best foiled at long range with a strong kick to either the head or the groin. Optimally, you should kick the assailant in the face as the assailant crouches to deliver the attack

  • Roundhouse Kick against a Straight Stab: Defending against a straight stab with your legs requires you to step off the line and deliver a roundhouse kick with the ball of your foot to his groin or with the shin to the assailant’s midsection. Notably, this kick can be used against straight punches, slashes and hook stabs in keeping with Krav Maga’s fundamental tent that of using one proven defence against myriad attacks. This defence operates on similar principles same as the previous leg defence against an overhead stab attack.

  • Roundhouse Kick Stepping against a Slash

  • Sidekick against a High Straight Stab

  • Overhead Stab Attack Defences from the Rear: Attacking from the rear is a preferred method by assailants to surprise the defender with a stab in the back.

  • Underhand Stab Attack Defences from the Rear: Similar to the underhand attack from the rear, deliver a straight lowlife sidekick to the assailant’s torso or throat to stop the attack.

  • Defending a Surprise Short Straight Stab

  • Using Shield-like Objects against Edged Weapon Attack

  • Defending an Attacker Using Two Edged Weapons

A straight line attack or defence

The route or line a combative will travel.

Where a bullet will travel or a straight line from the muzzle of the firearm.

When you are facing the front of one’s attacker and one’s attacker can both see you and use all four arms and legs against you, you are facing the attacker’s live side.

Lock/ Locking: When a fighter succeeds in immobilizing the movement of an opponent, particularly, through isolating a joint such as the shoulder, elbow, knee or even the head.

SEE: Kick Defence

Momentum is one’s weight combined with how fast one’s limb strikes. The difference between a high-momentum versus high-energy strikes is that high-momentum strikes drive an opponent backwards.

  • A groundfighting position where one opponent straddles another opponent whose back is to the ground or is facing the ground.

  • One opponent straddles the other opponent to pummel and set up locks and chokes.

  • A formidable control fighting and position where you are straddling one’s attacker with the attacker’s back to the ground and one’s heels are hooked underneath the attacker’s rib cage.

Strikes to the groin with a simultaneous hip buck to the defender’s opposite the shoulder of the groin strike

Four Preferred Krav Maga Offensive Ground Positions:  These four positions assume the fight is a one on one situation and you do not fear others attacking you while you are on the ground.

  1. Rear Mount: You have taken your opponent’s back by securing his torso from the rear (you are facing his back)

  2. Side Straddle: Your knee is on the opponent’s chest with your other leg planted on the ground in a strong position of balance (otherwise known as knee on stomach position.)

  3. Sidemount chest-down: You are perpendicular to the opponent with his back to the floor and your chest to his chest.

  4. High mount: You are straddling the opponent who has his back to the ground. You are mounted high on his torso optimally trapping his arms and protecting your groin. This position allows you to pummel the opponent while also setting up locks and chokes.

Mule kick is also known as the regular back kick. It is used when the attacker grabs the defender from the rear and the defender’s leg is between the attacker’s legs. The defender simply curls the leg up to smash the attacker in his groin. Another variation of the mule kick may be used when an attacker is behind a defender and the defender curls his leg to smash the attack in the groin (different angle than between the legs variation) or in the face similar to a mule or horse rearing it’s back legs to kick at a threat.

Fighting Multiple Attackers or Opponents is a core concept and tactic within the Krav Maga curriculum. Imi was usually outnumbered and his fighting tactics were developed accordingly. When facing multiple attackers, one must only engage only one at a time using optimum combatives/movement while putting that attacker between you and any others. Inexperienced attackers, will, fortunately, group together. If you use correct tactical positioning (never between two attackers), one limits the attackers’ abilities to harm you. NOTE: there is a limitation on how many attackers can occupy the same space to get at you. In select circumstances, you may have to go through them.

Leg closest to the opponent.

  • Note: Farside Leg: Leg farthest from the opponent.

Protecting one’s head, neck, and spine during a confrontation is vital. The ability to defend against choke and neck restraints is paramount in all aspects of a fight, particularly the ground phase. Two principle types of attacks:

  • Strikes: Combatives targeting the windpipe, sides of the neck and just below the base of the skull.

  • Neck Crank: Combative trapping the opponent’s head and forcibly rotating the head thereby “cranking” the neck. Variation: Neck Crank from the High Guard.

The Half-Nelson and full-Nelson wrestling type holds are used for controlling an opponent. The Nelson holds involve an opponent’s thrusting both of his arms under one’s armpits (only one arm for the half-Nelson) and clasping them with a strong grip at the base of one’s neck. A proper hold never interlaces the fingers. Several variations of these strong holds exist. There are four principle Nelson hold releases/defences:

  • Nelson Weight Drop Release: The easiest and best defence against the Nelson holds is to prevent an opponent from positioning himself behind. Off angle: An attack angle that is not face-to-face.

  • Nelson Clampdown Sidestep Release: This defence allows you to defeat an attacker who is applying a Nelson type hold and pulling you backwards. Use the attacker’s momentum against him to push him backward off his feet and to land full-force on to him followed by retzev combatives.

  • Nelson Hip toss Fall Releases: This defence allows you to defeat an attacker who is applying a Nelson type hold and pushing you forward. You will use one’s powerful hip muscles and the attacker’s momentum against him to flip him and turn to land full-force on to him followed by retzev combatives.

  • Rear Bear Hug Defence While Being Driven Forward: This defence is similar to the defence against a rear Nelson hold when one’s assailant is driving you forward with one’s arms free. A “bear hug” from the rear also known as a rear clinch places you in great danger of being driven forward into a wall or the ground or being thrown.

A looping; in some cases unstructured; attack or defence 

A passive stance or a normal standing pose where a defender is neither bladed nor has arms up in any type of protective position.

The OODA loop is the decision cycle of observe, orient, decide, and act, developed by military strategist and United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd.

When confronted, the mind goes through a series of steps to choose a response:

  • Threat recognition: In analyzing a potentially violent situation, the mind must recognize the danger and then process it.

  • Situation analysis: Once the mind recognizes the danger, it contemplates the possible outcomes and takes in any additional clues that may be helpful in arriving at a choice of action. 

  • Choice of action: After processing the danger’s potential outcome or outcomes, the mind quickly contemplates available courses of action and chooses one. This leads to the final stage, action/inaction.

  • Action/inaction: After the mind settles on a reaction, it propels the body into action or the paralysis of inaction.

An attack angle that is not face-to-face.

Where you predetermine how one’s partner will attack and vary the attacks for example, might include practicing defences against pre-set punch attacks. You know one’s partner is going to attack with a straight right punch to one’s head. In the next drill, one’s partner, either following the direction of an instructor or his own initiative, informs you that he will throw a right roundhouse punch to one’s head. The point is that you know what is coming.

An outside defence counters an outside attack, that is, an attack directed at you from the outside of one’s body to the inside. A slap to the face or hook punch are examples of outside attacks.

Outside Defences against Straight “Sucker” Punches: Using an outside block or 360 degree instinctive defence, this technique deflects a straight punch delivered by an opponent standing to one’s side while you and he are facing in opposite directions.

Outside Scoop Defenses Using Hooks: This defence uses a deflection method along with a subtle retreating sidestep using one’s front arm to deflect incoming kicks to the outside (rather than the inside) while also using a body defence to get off the line. While the rear arm can also be used, it can be dangerous because the incoming kick will be too close to one’s body at that point to make an effective deflection.

Outside Scoop Deflection against Side Kick: Similar to the outside scoop deflection you used against the straight kick, you will time the defence to misdirect the opponent’s kick while delivering a devastating counter blow to his base leg knee.

Blades one’s body by turning one’s feet approximately 30 degrees to one’s right, with one’s left arm and left leg forward. (You can also turn 30 degrees to one’s right to come into a right regular outlet stance, so that one’s right leg and arm are forward.) You are resting on the balls of both of one’s feet with one’s rear foot in a comfortable and balanced position. One’s feet should be parallel with about 55% of one’s weight distributed over one’s front leg. One’s arms are positioned in front of one’s face and bent slightly forward at approximately a 60-degree angle between one’s forearms and one’s upper arms. From this stance, you will move forward, laterally, and backward moving one’s feet in concert.

The over-the-top punch is a combined sliding deflection and inverted counterpunch (usually used against a straight punch or reverse forearm, hammerfist or slash.) delivering the strike the punch to the attacker’s exposed head.

The over-the-top punch attacks one’s opponent from a slightly vertical angle, slamming down on one’s opponent’s eye socket, nose, or jaw. One’s body movement is similar to an “over-the-top elbow” where one’s striking arm moves high to low and slams down on one’s target. This strike is especially effective when you are able to trap an opponent’s forward arm with one’s forward arm to bring down his defence, while simultaneously delivering the strike to his exposed head.