The myth of Krav Maga

I would not be at all surprised if these Krav Maga snake oil salesmen ended up getting a woman killed one day:

 “Jab your fingers into his eyes.” That’s step one if you’re confronted by an attacker, at least according to Darren Selley, 35, my self-defence Krav Maga instructor. First go for the eyes, then put a knee between their legs (assuming it’s a bloke), using their strength against them. Once they fall to the floor, kick them in the groin. Threat: neutralised.

Darren and his fellow instructor Ricky are here to lead a special seminar on self-defence for women, organised by property maintenance company We’re learning Urban Krav Maga, a blend of nine martial arts specifically intended for use on the streets.

It’s all about quick movements designed to cause maximum impact; breaking an arm, perforating an eardrum, knocking someone out. It’s perfect for most women because it doesn’t rely on brute strength and, as I discover, it’s incredibly easy to learn.

I have no doubt that it is incredibly easy to learn. Which only confirms my impression that it is actually worse than useless, because it teaches women to expect to incapacitate an attacker.

There is a very big difference between training and the real thing. There is nearly as big a difference between drill and full-contact sparring. I’ve fought more than a few karate students, up to and including black belts, who had never engaged in any serious sparring. With NO EXCEPTIONS, they weren’t much better than a complete neophyte.

Drill-based theory is based on the concept of control, and how if you are capable of delivering a strike that stops just short of someone’s face, you could just as easily deliver one that actually hits them. This is true. However, people “fight” very differently when they are essentially shadowboxing and they know their opponent is not actually going to hit them. Furthermore, it deprives the shadowboxer of learning how to take a shot, how to exploit and follow-up openings created, and how to use combinations. Fighting isn’t just about what you can do to the other party, it’s also about what the other party can do to you.

It is very, very difficult to make a precision strike at someone’s eyes. It is even more difficult to successfully knee a man in the groin when he is in a conflict situation. And even if one makes contact, it is likely that it won’t slow him down much, as adrenaline significantly reduces the amount of pain one feels in the moment.

It’s fine to teach women how to defend themselves. But firearms, and where they are not legal, knives, should always be a part of the self-defense strategy, and women need to understand that the odds are severely against them in a physical struggle. Learning technique is fine, but doing fake routines on unresisting opponents is worse than pointless. It takes years to become an effective fighter, so it is risible to suggest that a class or two is going to accomplish anything but instill a false sense of self-confidence in a woman.

I’m also very curious to know how one puts one knee between someone else’s leg using their strength against them. A knee strike is a hard technique, not a soft one. This sounds like pure marketing babble to me.