How Do You Know If You Train Krav Maga Correctly?

Krav Maga, a self-defense and combat system, has been a topic of much debate and confusion in recent years. With so many different training methods and interpretations of the system, it can be difficult to understand precisely what Krav Maga entails. This variation in teaching methods, along with marketing and branding strategies, have contributed to the diverse understanding of Krav Maga. Despite this, the system remains an effective approach to self-defense and combat.

Due to the countless questions and requests from different individuals worldwide, I took the time to write this guide to help our readers assess their Krav Maga techniques they practice or teach.

Krav Maga is a flexible system –
 It’s ever-evolving and aims to train all types of individuals.  It is a dynamic self-defense system designed to meet the needs of a wide range of individuals, including children, women, men, soldiers, law enforcement, and security personnel. Recognizing that each group faces unique threats and has distinct objectives, Krav Maga adapts to meet the specific needs of each practitioner. For example, law enforcement and military personnel may be obligated to neutralize a threat, while civilians may prioritize their own personal safety. Children and adults may face different dangers, and their definition of “return to safety” may vary. By recognizing these differences and tailoring its training to meet the specific needs of each practitioner, Krav Maga provides effective self-defense tools in the shortest possible time.

In Krav Maga, there are no formal rules in the traditional sense as it is designed for self-defense in real-world scenarios. The emphasis is on quickly neutralizing a threat, regardless of the techniques used. This means that techniques may include strikes to vulnerable areas, joint locks, and other techniques that are considered illegal in traditional martial arts competitions.

However, it is important to note that Krav Maga’s training emphasizes responsible and ethical use of force, and practitioners are taught only to use the necessary amount of force to neutralize a threat. Additionally, in a training environment, safety protocols are followed to minimize the risk of injury to participants.



  1. Efficiency. Minimum movement and maximum damage
    The techniques of Krav Maga are designed to be efficient and effective, allowing practitioners to neutralize a threat with the least amount of effort quickly. This means that the focus is on targeting the most vulnerable parts of the body, using strikes, grappling, and other techniques that can quickly end a confrontation.


  2. Simplicity – Krav Maga focuses on using natural, instinctive movements that are easy to learn and remember. That means that practitioners are not required to memorize complex sequences of movements but instead are taught to rely on their body’s natural responses in high-pressure situations.


  3. Retention under stress – Krav Maga training is designed to prepare practitioners for real-life situations, emphasizing developing the ability to perform techniques under stress. This means that training is conducted in a fast-paced, high-stress environment to help practitioners develop their ability to respond effectively in real-life scenarios.


  4. Defense is based on reflexes and instincts.
    The concept of “reflexive response” is key. This means that the practitioner’s defense is based on instinctual, automatic movements triggered by the attacker’s actions. The goal is to quickly and instinctively respond to the threat without the need for conscious thought or deliberate decision-making. The techniques taught in Krav Maga are designed to be simple, intuitive, and easy to execute under stress, allowing practitioners to respond quickly and effectively to a wide range of threats. By developing reflexive responses through repetition and training, practitioners of Krav Maga are better equipped to handle real-life, high-stress situations.


  5. Element of surprise – By way of deception thou shalt do war”.
    This concept in Krav Maga refers to using unexpected and unconventional techniques to gain an advantage in a self-defense situation. This can involve using the attacker’s momentum against them, exploiting openings in their defense, or using seemingly unexpected or unconventional techniques that can quickly neutralize the threat. The goal of the surprise element is to gain an advantage over the attacker and quickly end the conflict while minimizing the risk of injury. By incorporating the surprise element into their training and tactics, practitioners of Krav Maga are better equipped to handle real-world, high-stress situations and respond to threats effectively.


  6. Aggressiveness – Practitioners of Krav Maga are taught to take the initiative and be proactive in their response to a threat. This means they are encouraged to take control of the situation and use their skills to neutralize the threat as quickly as possible.


  7. Versatility – Krav Maga covers a wide range of scenarios, from weapons-based attacks to multiple-opponent encounters. This means that practitioners are prepared to respond to a wide range of potential threats and can adapt their techniques to meet changing circumstances.


  8. Realism – The training of Krav Maga involves practicing techniques against fully-resisting partners to simulate real-life scenarios as closely as possible. This helps practitioners develop their skills and confidence and provides a clear understanding of the effectiveness of the techniques in real-world situations.

  9. Don’t try to overpower your opponent – “Go with the flow”
    By nature, most people need to defend themselves against a stronger opponent. Overpowering them won’t help in that case; Instead, practitioners are trained to use their opponent’s momentum and vulnerabilities against them and to employ techniques that are effective and efficient in neutralizing the threat. Overpowering the opponent can lead to an increased risk of injury, both to oneself and the opponent, and may also result in unnecessary harm. By avoiding the attempt to overpower the opponent, practitioners of Krav Maga are better equipped to handle real-world, high-stress situations and respond to threats effectively and efficiently while minimizing the risk of harm to themselves and others.

  10. Stay off the ground –A Krav Maga fighter always aims to avoid a ground fight whenever possible. Ground fighting can be dangerous, exposing the practitioner to additional threats, such as kicks and strikes from an opponent or multiple opponents. The focus in Krav Maga is on staying on your feet, using strikes, grappling, and other techniques to control and neutralize the threat while standing. Practitioners are trained to quickly get back to their feet if they are taken down and to return to a standing position as soon as possible to resume the defense. This principle is based on the idea that standing provides greater mobility and versatility, allowing the practitioner to respond more effectively to changing circumstances and end the conflict as quickly as possible. 

  11. Do what it takes to end violence –One of the critical objectives of Krav Maga is to end violence as quickly and efficiently as possible. The focus is on neutralizing the threat and ending the conflict in the shortest amount of time, with the least amount of injury to the practitioner. The techniques and strategies taught in Krav Maga are designed to give practitioners the ability to quickly assess a situation and respond with appropriate force in order to protect themselves and others from harm. Ultimately, the goal is to end the violence and restore safety rather than escalate the situation or prolong the conflict.

  12. Adaptability –
    No attachment to technique or strategy. The system is designed to be flexible and adaptable, allowing practitioners to respond effectively to a wide range of threats and situations. Practitioners are trained to assess the situation, identify the most appropriate response, and adjust their techniques to meet the specific needs of each situation. This principle emphasizes the importance of being able to adapt to changing circumstances and respond to a dynamic threat environment rather than relying on set responses or techniques. By developing the ability to think creatively and adapt to changing circumstances, practitioners of Krav Maga are better equipped to handle the unpredictable and dangerous situations they may encounter in real-life scenarios. 

  13. Make a plan that should meet the objective – When disengagement isn’t possible, it becomes necessary to take an opponent to the ground. Krav Maga provides techniques for maintaining control and neutralizing the threat while on the ground. These techniques may include strikes, grappling, joint locks, and other techniques designed to end the conflict as quickly as possible. However, the focus is always on getting back to a standing position as soon as possible, as being on the ground exposes the practitioner to additional threats and risks. In Krav Maga, practitioners are trained to use the ground as a tool for control rather than a place to remain for an extended period of time. The objective is always to end the conflict quickly and get back to a safe, standing position as soon as possible.

  14. Defend – Attack – Move All Krav Maga techniques must include these three components. Defending yourself is a part of your survival instinct. The reflexive defense (the body’s reaction to threat) is followed by a counterattack (strikes & kicks), simultaneity if possible.The movement component refers to the “body defense”  as a way to change your position, if possible, into a better position than your opponent. 

  15. Start your defense as soon as you identify a threat –
    The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to handle the situation. Usually, more advanced and complex techniques are required when you wait too long. If the fight is inevitable, strike first. If you disengage and do no harm, that is the ideal solution.  

  16. Minimum use of power – “Do only the necessary damage” 
    This may sound a bit concerning to all the above, but the end goal of Krav Maga is NOT to HURT someone unless you must. Imi once said, “You must be so good that you don’t need to kill.”  Use the minimum amount of force necessary to neutralize the threat. This means that practitioners are trained to use only the amount of force required to end the conflict and restore safety without causing unnecessary harm to the attacker or themselves. The goal is to effectively neutralize the threat while using the least amount of force necessary, which helps to minimize injury and reduce the risk of legal or ethical consequences. By using the minimum amount of force required, practitioners of Krav Maga can quickly end a conflict and restore safety while reducing the risk of causing undue harm.

                    The assumption in training Krav Maga is the attacker is bigger and stronger than you. When we practice basic self defense, we have to fight when we can’t avoid the fight.  We always assume that the opponent / attacker is bigger and they have the initial element of surprise; They choose the time, the place, how to start the fight, and who they are going to fight.  They are proactive. When we have to use our physical skills, we fail to create deterrence. Now we have to apply quick thinking, respond with our reflexes, and move from defense to offense as soon as possible.

    Krav Maga trains individuals to respond quickly and effectively in high-stress situations. The quicker the response, the simpler the situation will remain.

    When developing tactics in changing circumstances, practitioners must consider the objective and determine what damage is acceptable. This is where the concept of “acceptable damage” comes into play. In each situation, the practitioner must weigh the potential harm and choose the most appropriate techniques to neutralize the threat.

    For example, if a practitioner encounters an armed intruder in their child’s bedroom, they cannot simply punch or kick the intruder and run away to safety. In this scenario, the practitioner’s priority is the safety of their child, even if it means risking their own safety. In this situation, the practitioner must determine that any harm to themselves is acceptable, but harm to their child is not.

    Krav Maga incorporates these principles to provide a flexible and adaptable approach to self-defense and combat situations. The system takes into account the unique challenges and objectives of each individual, allowing them to respond effectively to threats in real-world scenarios.

There’s a lot more to be said about this topic. I promise to share more about it in the next few weeks!


Do something amazing,

Tsahi Shemesh
Founder & CEO
Krav Maga Experts