Highlighting some of the benefits of training in this fighting system.
One of Krav Maga’s most important lessons is situational awareness. This involves being actively aware of what is happening around you and anticipating hostility or signs of danger. Developing observation skills to spot a potentially hostile situation before it occurs is a valuable tool in self-defence. Defending against an attacker if they manage to surprise you can be very difficult. In cases like that, the attacker already has the upper hand, and you have to counter their attacks. So Krav Maga tries to make you more aware of the giveaway signs that an attack is about to occur. If there is no doubt an attack will occur, pre-emptive strikes (striking first) can be considered.
To this end, Kravists learn to interpret body language to anticipate potential threats. Increased eye contact, changes in stance and face colour. Watching group movement, group communication, looking for signs of concealed weapons, distraction techniques prior to attacks etc. Non-verbal communication can help you recognise the likelihood of being attacked. This type of training also makes you aware of your surroundings and helps perceive opportunities* so you can act fast with improvisation. You will also gain conflict management and de-escalation skills to reduce the likelihood of a confrontation escalating into actual violence.
*for example, if outnumbered to look for places where your attackers can’t use their numerical advantage. Or potential weapons that you might use.
Krav Maga helps its practitioners feel more competent in a physical fight situation. The physical conditioning aspects of the training make practitioners fitter, stronger and faster. This can empower practitioners into being more confident in their abilities to defend themselves in hostile situations. It should be noted that Krav Maga does not shy away from the grim truths of street encounters.
The system instils much realism and practicality into its students. It always portrays the dangers of the streets as they are, unpredictable and spontaneous. The system seeks to churn out smart fighters and not testosterone fuelled brawlers looking to test their skills. The average Kravist is smart enough to walk away from any confrontation because they are aware of how quickly it can escalate into something nasty. They can control their own emotions and keep their pride in check. However, on the flip side of this, they are always prepared and ready to throw down if they have to. A Kravist is confident and not arrogant, calm, assertive and level-headed in dangerous situations.
Krav Maga sessions undoubtedly improve your overall physical fitness. The training is varied allowing you to work on cardio, muscular strength, endurance, explosive power, balance, flexibility and coordination. This results in a well-rounded and balanced physique.
Each class requires you to undergo a set of warm-up exercises and drills. There will be strength and conditioning drills, practice and sparring. The bodyweight exercises will help develop the strength to effectively execute self-defence moves.
As a cardio workout, Krav Maga is amazing for improving aerobic and anaerobic abilities. The continuous drills and pad work will see your overall fitness improve, which will inevitably result in a lower resting heart rate. Consistent training will improve heart function and overall cardiovascular ability. Over time, this will greatly reduce your likelihood of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and strokes.
Being so good for strength and cardio, Krav Maga sessions are naturally incredible for weight loss. Since Krav Maga sessions work so many muscle groups in the body, you can quickly burn hundreds of calories. Even two to three sessions a week can see the weight fall off you in a matter of weeks.
Another obvious benefit of training Krav Maga is improved self-defence skills. In sessions practitioners learn how to utilize strikes, grappling, takedowns, and submissions to defeat hostile opponents. Instructors will teach how to use the body in different situations to gain the upper hand. For example, how to use leverage and weight distribution to overcome opponents of different strengths and sizes.
Krav Maga is renowned for its efficient and effective self-defence techniques. It was developed based on simple and natural movements and as such is designed to be easy to learn. Techniques are taught that are easy to remember and recall. So they can be relied upon in situations of extreme stress (like being in a fight).
Faster reaction times
Having a shorter reaction time is valuable when it comes to self-defence. You want to act as quickly as possible while remaining calm.
Krav Maga training teaches you not to hesitate. In training, it is rehearsed vigorously that if you are attacked, you go all in and respond immediately. A heightened state of aggression is drilled into the student to help turn the tables during a fight. You use every method at your disposal and don’t stop attacking till the fight is over. Over time, this is conditioned to become an automatic response. If you are attacked in real life your responses will be conditioned to kick in.
Higher pain tolerance
Not being afraid to get hit; is an important part of overcoming fear in street confrontations. The conditioning from sparring practice and drills will enable your body to get used to absorbing blows. This in itself is a useful ability in confrontations, you might be the most technical puncher or kicker out there but be unable to take a blow. A recipe for disaster indeed. As Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face”.
In sparring drills and practice, naturally, you are going to get hit many times. The first few times, you might feel it. After a few sessions, you’ll learn to shrug it off, absorb or roll with the blows. In time this will increase your pain tolerance levels. Various fighting arts have the same effect, such as Kickboxing, MMA and Boxing.
Learning any martial art can certainly be challenging. New techniques, and attitudes especially ones that are counterintuitive to your own nature. It can be incredibly tough and there can be many obstacles. Some students’ fitness levels may not be high. Some students may just not have a natural predisposition for fighting in general. Some might fear combat (even in a safe and controlled environment). Others might not like pain or physical discomfort in general. Every student has their own demons to battle. The key is in any martial art staying the course. Some students leave because it’s tougher than they expected. However, the students that stick it out are the ones who reap the benefits of their hard work and dedication.
Ultimately, you make progress through hard work and perseverance. It involves slaying your own dragons. Overcoming fear, failure, doubt and being uncomfortable along the way makes you tougher and more mentally resilient. Staying the course makes you more disciplined.
The discipline we get from training in Krav Maga can transfer to daily lives also. By being disciplined and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones we are better able to handle challenges in our lives.
Krav Maga is problem-solving on your feet. Everything is a preparation for difficult encounters you may need to overcome. Every fight you face, on the street or in practice will require a different solution. Questions you may need to ask are who am I and what is my ability? Who am I facing? Are they a skilled fighter? Are they a natural fighter? Are they stronger/faster than me? What advantages do I have? What advantages do they have? How can I turn the tables quickly and use the environment to my advantage? (By the way, you will need an immediate answer to those questions, you won’t be able to sit down, have a coffee and ponder over it).
The obstacles may continue as the fight progresses. Maybe the attacker changes tactics, grabs a weapon, or reinforcements arrive. More obstacles. You will need to think quickly on your feet and find a solution. This is something drilled into Kravists, to think quickly, and to be fluid and spontaneous.
Like any practice that forces you to think quickly, the necessity of having to react quickly in drills can transfer into many areas of your life.
Improved Mental Health
It is common knowledge of how regular physical activity is one of the best ways to improve our mental health. Indeed, it is perhaps the best coping mechanism that can reduce our risk of anxiety or depression. Krav Maga is empowering to anyone at any level. Getting in shape and improving in training can have an incredible boost to our confidence levels, motivation and feelings of worth.
Furthermore, having the ability to effectively defend yourself can positively boost mental health levels. Kravists are not intimidated because they know they possess the tools and the mindset to deal with physical threats. The Kravist loses the victim mindset and remains calm under pressure. They learn to deal with their problems head-on with grit and resilience.
Krav Maga like any martial art is a great conduit for channelling frustration and anger. Many of us (whether we admit it or not) could probably be better in the anger management department. It’s always better to use that energy positively, save it for your training and channel it into something that is going to help you progress. Smash those mitts!! (just spare a thought for your sparring partner, however!)
Another boon of Krav Maga training is the social aspect. Meeting other people and socializing are very important to the mental health of a human being. We are social animals, we like (and need) to mix and communicate with other humans. Krav Maga provides a great opportunity to meet like-minded people from different backgrounds, all eager to progress and improve themselves.
Krav Maga can assist in helping a person to be calmer and less hostile. Practitioners learn to control their emotions, especially in dangerous situations. However, when the situation demands it, Krav Maga conditioning and training drill into its practitioners to react with necessary force. Meaning to increase the level of aggression as necessary for a given situation. So knowing when to fight and when not to. When you do have to fight you’ll be able to disable an attacker quickly and escape the situation as soon as possible.
Summary of benefits:
- Awareness: Being aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Confidence levels: Krav Maga is great for improving your confidence and self-belief.
- Self-Defence skills: Krav Maga teaches different aspects of striking, grappling, and submissions to defend yourself effectively.
- Physical Fitness: Krav Maga training improves your aerobic and anaerobic conditioning simultaneously. Krav Maga offers excellent caloric burn and weight loss. It is also remarkable for building physical strength and physical conditioning.
- Faster reaction times: When it’s ‘go time’, you won’t hesitate.
- Higher pain tolerance: Krav Maga can teach you to fight through pain and discomfort.
- Discipline: Krav Maga can teach students to keep going, be consistent.
- Overcoming Obstacles: Krav Maga is great for learning how to recognize and solve issues quickly, especially in high-pressure situations.
- Mental Health: Learning Krav Maga is a great way to control aggression, keep stress in check, for meeting new people, and to improve your mental health.
- Controlled Aggression: Krav Maga can teach you to channel your aggression and ‘turn it on’ when you really need it.