Why does Krav Maga get a bad name for itself?

by Feb 8, 20193 comments

Lets start off this article by explaining why i have chosen to write it. At MKM, we have considered time and time again taking “Krav Maga’ out of the name of our Self Defence association but without changing how or what we teach. Why? Because generally Krav Maga gets a bad name when it comes to the Martial Arts world due to poor Instructors and Clubs being farmed out in certain circumstances. I am going to use the next few minutes to try and explain why I think this is and how one or two instructors can be so bad for this systems reputation. 

Poor Background and Knowledge in Combat/ Pressure

At MKM, we are firm believers of reality and truth and therefore we will agree that this Bad reputation is sometimes very well deserved. Some of the clubs claiming to instruct reality based self defence in the form of Krav Maga are cringe worthy. Sadly like a lot of things in this world, Krav Maga has in some areas been watered down into cowboys teaching bullshit techniques with no previous experience of combat, pressure or any sort of conflict.

I am not claiming to be the expert but I have recently retired from 10 years serving in the Royal Marines Commandos which has given me a good nose for combat and pressure. Throughout my career I have felt the most intense pressure and understand the way that the body adapts, adrenaline kicks in and what works when this happens and more importantly what doesn’t. This comes down to basic understanding of things such as body mechanics, fight, flight or freeze and Gross/fine motor skills. When myself and Darryn decided to leave a respected and large association and run our own, we filtered through the Syllabus we had previously been working with and threw away the things that either didn’t work under pressure or were duplicated with another technique. Self defence should be SIMPLE. We also added some handy combatives from other arts and adapted the syllabus as necessary to create what we believe is a reputable and realistic system on how to defend yourself if required. When teaching Self defence it is vital to remember that you are not trying for a role in John Wick (which incidentally is a great film). 

I am not saying that we know everything about combat as no matter how good you are, you are always learning and never a master. I do believe however that with the right background and knowledge you can pass on some handy skills to those that need it so long as you dont try to be fancy and sell to the popular crowds.

Unqualified/ Inexperienced Instructors

So while we are on the subject of background and knowledge, lets talk about these “2 day instructor courses” or “I’m a bouncer/ the local hardman so I can teach self defence and call it  Krav Maga” and subsequently sell my classes to vulnerable people. This is in my opinion the main issue for Krav Maga as a name. If you are not careful you will end up training at a club ran by someone who has never had a fight in their life, sees a video on youtube and is now an expert in that scenario or loves a fight on a weekend pissed up but has no technique what so ever. I have some very close friends who are very tough men. Some are doormen some are IT technicians, some have been to war several times over the last decade. This does not mean that any of these are skilled to teach self defence. It literally means they can take a punch and possibly throw one too. Learning and instructing an art is a different thing all together. This takes time, focus and commitment.

Krav Maga itself is a hybrid of other martial arts, dipping its hand in each toolbox and taking out what is more relevant to realistic self defence. This means that it in itself is not the be all and end all. As we say to all our students, it is good to train here in Krav Maga but you must also train your striking ability, groundwork, grappling and fitness outside of the classes in order to be able to be effective on the streets. It is no use knowing a technique but not being able to apply a well placed powerful combative to assist in controlling the opponent. 

To Summarise

To summarise, YES Krav Maga can sometimes get a bad name for itself like a lot of martial arts and YES some ridiculously poor clubs are out there! So if you decide to give Krav Maga or any form of martial art or self defence a go, make sure that you know who your instructor is, how knowledgeable they really are and question would this work in the real word or is he spinning another bullshit yarn. It is equally as important to train in different arts and understand, take on and possibly use different methods when fighting. If you really have love for the fight game, then you must have love for it all. Knowing one syllabus does not make you a master and sometimes can make you ignorant or naive. 

Finally, Martial Krav Maga will remain a “Krav Maga’ club being adaptable, fluid and realistic with everything it teaches ensuring that the standards of both its instructors and students are to the highest that they can be. 

Stay safe, Train like your life depends on it….. because it DOES!

Sam Graham

MKM Head Instructor