Firstly I would like to qualify my experience in the martial arts world to qualify the substance of the article that follows. My name is Billy Manne and I am ranked no 52 in the world martial arts hall of fame. I have trained in various disciplines since the age of Six and have been a body guard for famous celebrities like Paul McCartney in the 80s. I have had over 7 years experience in Krav Maga and have used my martial arts in thousands of encounters on the street during my tenure as a security specialist, body guard and personal protection agent. I can speak with authority on Krav Maga because I have trained with and used the techniques in real life – and I have vast experience in other martial arts including zendokai, mauy thai kickboxing, Jiu-Jitsu and boxing. I have also trained Systema with the Russian black wolves, been asked to train special force soldiers in the military and have trained famous boxers like Sam Soliman. Now lets get down to the question I am often asked – how does Krav Maga compare to other martial arts on the street.
The effectiveness of Krav Maga vs other martial arts is widely disputed among the martial arts community. It should be noted that with every comparison many elements come into play – but in this instance we are going to compare Krav Maga in a true street fighting scenario Vs other martial arts.
Krav Maga combines many of the powerful and generally simple techniques copied from many other martial arts. Because it is simple by nature, it enables a beginner to reach an advanced stage relatively quickly. Even so one should not assume that a few months worth of Krav Maga is going to defeat an experienced and seasoned martial artist in one of the other commonly used disciplines – but its probably going to give you a much better chance than most other martial arts.
Most importantly the main distinguishing feature of Krav Maga is that it contains NO RULES. Eye gouges, hard-multiple groin strikes and throat grabs are all permitted and used as a major focus when training. The stuff that other martial arts often do not allow due to rules – is the primary focus of Krav Maga.
The emphasis of Krav Maga is to attack and make focus of the vulnerable soft targets – this includes the groin, the eyes, the throat and the back of the head and nerve clusters/pressure points.
Weapons & Krav vs Other Martial Arts
Anything can happen on the street – including weapons. If you have never faced a knife attack or baseball bat attack before – even with years of martial arts training, how do you think you will respond? Quite often – unless these weapons have been a primary focus of your martial art, you will (most likely) not know how to properly respond. Knives, baseball bats and guns are a major part of krav and quite often the techniques used are similar to the same drills we use for defending standard strikes – with a slight variation. This keeps the entire krav system both simple and effective. HOWEVER what we normally teach is – with weapons you must at every instanced look for a way out rather than engaging. It is so easy to become the victim of a weapons attack because few of us face its intensity in real life.
But when comparing Krav with other martial arts (given the same training time) – krav wins hands down. Because of the simple but effective disarm methods that are drilled over and over for COMMON street weapons – the chances of making the right decision (IE either run – or engage with intensity and knowledge) is much greater.
The Mental State – Krav Vs Other Martial Arts
The absolute worst state one can be in DURING a weapons attack is a state of AMBIVALENCE. You must either decide very quickly to FIGHT OR FLIGHT. If the attack has commenced then decide and commit – either get out and minimise damage – but if you are committed (because of no immediate escape option or your family is under eminent threat) then you MUST commit 100% to the counter and be prepared to be injured during the melee. I cannot stress enough the importance of your mental state – you must be prepared to invest every ounce of aggression into your attack and not faulter due to a counter strike. This is combat – its your life or theirs and you must act accordingly. There is no one else but you and your attacker(s). Good Krav & martial arts Instructors know the importance of the mental state and can train even the most timid person to bring out this natural instinct over time – it only takes one thing – your commitment.
Krav in this instance wins over many other martial arts because of its focus on the mental state during an encounter. Over time other martial arts teach this as well – but from the first instance a good krav instructor will highlight and drill this mental state into their students.
Damage Control & Krav vs Other Martial Arts
There is a catch 22 in modern society – even if you are being attacked you cannot be seen to be overly agressive. This is a paradox so quite often good krav instructors will understand this issue and train you to keep within the boundaries of the law. Krav is savage – and effective when trained properly. No one can deny that – so it is drilled how to respond to initial confrontations – what to look for re body language and what to say. Also once the attacker is disabled how to ensure your safety without doing something to your attacker that you will regret longer term. In the heat of an attack some people do not stop – good instructors will drill how to still disable someone without killing them because at this point – you can be just as legally liable as the attacker.
Other martial arts typically teach this scenario as well – and its just as well that they do. However I have seen many people not adhere to this principle because they loose control due to unfamiliar fight/flight emotions experienced AFTER an attack. You can control it with discipline – remember you have to live with your conscious and potential legal liability – any unnecessary damage that you do another person longer term can haunt you for years. Not to mention the impact it has on the other persons life.
Womens Self Defence & Krav vs Other Martial Arts
Krav is an excellent self defence for Women who do not posses the same strength as a man. In this instance the mental state is even more critical – attacking in an instant could save your life. There are many groin, eye and throat/jaw strikes in krav – and when hitting these areas, speed and accuracy is more important than strength. So the ability to respond immediately to any threat is critical because a stronger person could take advantage of the difference in strength after one or two strikes. Krav will give you the mindset to do these actions and get away asap and a good instructor drills through multiple scenarios – ie attack from behind – hair pull or breaking free from a bear hug – what to do if you are thrown to the ground.
Krav in this instance wins hands down because of its primary focus on scenario training.
Overall Fight Skill – Krav vs Other Martial Arts
Krav is not going to make you a kickboxing champion – nor an MMA expert. But it will provide you with maximum impact counter first strike/response fighter. If you engage someone who is a skilled martial artist in any of the other martial arts (assuming a competent school) then your chances of winning an initial confrontation are much less. If you go down to the ground with a skilled jui jitsu person – you are in trouble. If you do not win over instantly with a trained and competent kickboxer – then you can also be in trouble. But these are unlikely scenarios if you are not looking for trouble as most people skilled in these areas are not attackers. However in this unlikely scenario krav will give you a much better chance in the shortest possible training time because these other disciplines – while incredibly effective – do not focus on illegal strikes – and thats ALL that krav focuses on. Call it dirty fighting – during a street or domestic violence attack it doesn’t matter.
Other martial arts wins overall fight skill in this instance – but that does not necessarily determine the winner of a street encounter for the reasons outlined above.
As a school kid – I was bullied. I learned martial arts and it empowered me to rise above the thuggery. I became the school yard police and made it my mission to ensure no one else was bullied. To this day I apply the same passion – i dislike bullies. Krav is great for someone who wants to get up to speed on self defence ASAP – and one could think of Krav as a summary list of all the martial arts stuff that is simple and effective applied in a direct no nonsense manner. If you are bullied or feel threatened it can be a disabling and horrible mental state to deal with. You can deal with it and face it head on by learning something like Krav. It will give you confidence, empower you, it will provide you with fitness and it will bring out instincts you never knew you had. I am very privileged to have stumbled upon martial arts during my youth – i have trained all my life (i am still learning and training) and i have trained people all my life. I hope i can pass on to you the physical and spiritual joys of learning martial arts.