10 Core Principles of Krav Maga (Non-Competitive Self Defense)

The goal in Krav Maga is to keep one safe. In a violent situation; there are no rules. You need to do anything in your power not to get hurt. What does “everything in your power” mean?

Taking preventative measures comes first. Be aware and avoid violence. You can prevent yourself from getting into a danger zone by keeping your eyes and ears open. If you see a problem around you, stay away. If you have no choice then a kick to the groin, spitting, biting, gouging and hair pulling are all very legitimate. Never escalate the situation and remember; fighting is the last resort.

However, if you must fight, then follow these rules:

  1. Aim to your opponent’s weak points. Weak spots of the body, such as eyes, nose, throat, groin and more, are not organs that can develop muscle and therefore even the strongest or biggest attacker is not immune to attacks in those areas. Since Krav Maga is not a sport, and a violent situation is not like sparring with your friends at the gym, attacks should always be directed to your opponent’s vulnerable spots. Attacks to these spots will cause great affect and won’t be blocked by muscle or fat. If you want to stop the fight, you have to fight back!

  2. Quick and powerful responses. In a nutshell, Krav Maga is all about responding quickly, from 0% to 100% in a split of sec. Explosive power and a lot of mental work are essential in Krav Maga. We learn how to react efficiently under stress. Attacks must be quick and powerful, otherwise, they don’t count.

  3. Speed and technique are more important than strength. Techniques based on quick responses and efficiency are not strength-dependent. A teenage girl must be able to defend herself against a male adult. This does not mean however that strength is not important: of course, the stronger you are, the better, but it is not the most determinative characteristic a good defender must possess.

  4. Acquire skills for real-life situations. Every person attacks in a different way. Most likely, a real attacker will be different (size, strength, aggression and his technique) from those you trained with. Therefore, Krav Maga stresses improvisation and learning to enrich one’s “toolbox”. The more we train, the more tools we gain. Sometimes we have to react under unfamiliar or adverse circumstances, such as dark surroundings, body positions with limited movement ability or under extreme stress and fatigue. The techniques are taught in their ideal form, with the best possible reaction to a given situation.

  5. Repetition is crucial. Practicing techniques on a one-time basis is never enough. There is a difference between what your brain understands to what your body can perform. We train hard to create muscle memory. Once we “earn” it, it’s there for us. Your body remembers better than your brain.

  6. Simplicity. Krav Maga techniques were designed on our natural human reactions, therefore if practiced and refined, it will be easy to perform under stress. Simplicity is effective and efficient.

  7. Krav Maga adjusts to your abilities. Not everyone can kick high, split their legs very wide or lift 200 pounds with one hand. We do not to make you do those things but instead will work with what we’ve got. In Krav Maga, you can find a way to work with your proportions. A heavy person can emphasize fist fighting; a small person can take advantage of his frame for quickness.

  8. Minimal fighting. When you have the upper hand, and your opponent is no longer a threat – stop fighting! We must respond according to the needs and not beyond. Crossing this line between self-defense to unnecessary aggressive behavior results in losing control! If you lose it, you lost more than just this fight.

  9. Always stay on your feet. You DON’T want to fight on the ground. It takes only one time that you face more than one attacker and your ground skills just won’t count. If you want to finish the fight fast, ground fighting won’t be the right solution.

  10. Krav Maga is an ever-changing set of techniques. Since Krav Maga is a reality, street-based self-defense method, it only makes sense to keep it up to date with knowledge and practice of today’s reality with our self defense classes NYC. As long as the above principles are kept, it is encouraged to evolve ALL the time. If we find a better and safer way to respond, we adopt it. Threats always change, 500 years ago, swords were very common, today, it’s knives and guns. Who knows what is next? Krav Maga is there to provide the best available solutions. It is not about ego, and not about staying loyal to any tradition. It is about being safe.