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Old 05-30-2004, 12:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Netherfield Park
Posts: 3,021
Krav Maga (Israeli Street Fighting) vs. aiki-jujitsu vs. hapkido

The last decade or so, I've heard much buzz about Krav Maga supposedly being the "BEST!" self-defense system extent. Frankly, everyone's gone a little gaga over it, but not being a martial artist, I s'pose I can't fairly evaluate it.

On the other side of the coin, detractors insist that Krav Maga is borrowed from Japanese jujitsu and Korean hapkido and maybe JKD. And then there's the usual camp who insist you just can't be good at self-defense without being good at grappling.

Obviously, the best self-defense is not getting yourself into a dangerous situation, or being able to run, or being able to take an insult without reacting, or having personal bodyguards, or yadda yadda yadda.

I'm not interested in becoming world class, just competent. Your thoughts on the wonders of Krav?
Old 05-30-2004, 02:10 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: North Siiiiide
Posts: 2,808
Never practiced it myself, but when deciding on a school, I did do some research:

Check out for the lineage. Basically, it was designed by some champions of various styles and tweaked for use to be effective and easy to teach. As for it being the best, recall that it's only as good as the practitioner. As I understand, Israeli commandos are taught another system entirely (which builds on KM teachings) so it's not the be-all-and-end-all even for the area it's used most heavily.

IIRC, a couple of Israeli commandos went into the UFC and got their asses kicked. Not that this is unusual, KM relies on a lot of strikes that the "gentlemen's agreements" in UFC rule out.

The one thing that I've noticed that's interesting is the idea that one should always be doing two things: either blocking and striking or striking and blocking, as opposed to other styles where there are two movements, no matter how quickly they are performed in practice.

The only thing I would worry about with Krav Maga is that the instructor you're getting might not be that good/have proper training and experience. About every two years ago, every gym had their own KM classes with lines out the door and now...they're getting harder to find. The popularity was a fad and now I think most of the instructors who went from step aerobics to yoga to pilates to KM are now getting into something else so your odds of finding a decent instructor are much better. I'd choose a school the same way you'd select any other Martial Arts School.

As for grappling, you certianly need to know some, but how much is the question. You can get by with significantly less than straight-up BJJ, but neglecting it entirely as with boxing or TKD is folly in my opinion.
Old 05-31-2004, 12:43 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 268
Krav Maga

I took Krav Maga for about a year, while at the same time studying mixed martial arts (Brazilian Vale Tudo), with an emphasis on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Also have been studying Judo for about three years.

( I received brown belt in American Shotokan many years ago, but dropped it. Studied other Japanese karate since, but dropped them as well. Not enough tough, competetive sparring. Too many drills chopping air or working with compliant drill partner).

Krav Maga is basic punching and kicking, with use of elbows, knees, etc., with an approach of unloading everything as quickly as possible. Lots of focus on combinations. At the advanced level, they teach multipile attackers, gun and knife defense (but not much knife fighting), etc.

Biggest drawback of Krav Maga, from my experience, was lack of extensive training in take downs, grappling and ground submissions. Also, as in the karate I took, not much room, at least for beginners, in serious sparring.

In Vale Tudo (basically, mixed martial arts), we train without a gi, and go through a gamut of skills: boxing, kickboxing, grappling (Greco style), take downs, groundwork and submissions, with the emphasis on ground work.

I have done serious sparring (e.g., they don't kick my head, I don't break their arms) with advanced (black belt) Tae Kwon Do and mid-level Krav Maga fighters and other Asian systems (Shaolin karate, Aikido), and I have always bested them, and not because I am such a great fighter. The main thing is that in most systems the fighters keep a space between them we call "the striking space". In VT and BJJ, we learn, like Krav Maga, to close in quickly and eliminate that space.

The KM people are just not trained well, from what I can tell, in take downs and take down defense. One green belt I sparred with was stunned when I caught his leg on his initial strike. True, he punched me in the mouth during the take down, but within seconds he was on the ground choked out.

So, from lots of experience in many martial arts, if you want to learn how to fight, quickly,efficiently and well, study BJJ with a mixed martial arts emphasis. You HAVE to know how to take it to the ground and submit someone there.

The only down side is that VT and BJJ is tough -- I have been injured several times, and usually come hope with bruises, lumps, scrapes, etc. I have also had to get in really good physical shape, including cardio, strength but especially being limber.
Old 05-31-2004, 07:40 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,497
A couple weeks training in Glock-fu, and you can defeat grand-masters in any martial art, as long as you keep them at a decent distance.
Old 05-31-2004, 07:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 885
I just finished my fourth Krav class, and I took hapkido for a few months in between a pure self-defense class and going away to college. That said, I have minimal experience in a couple of arts you are interested in.

IMHO, hapkido isn't a great self-defense art. It's fun and all, but from what the instructor told me (and he was the first American holder of the Long Knife, a huge honor in hapkido), it was begun as a way for peasants to defend themselves against weapon-wielding opponents. The motions are very big to accomodate a sword being used against you. This just doesn't come up much in modern fighting.

My Krav class teaches ground fighting (which I love, and is my best skill from days gone by), but focuses on getting up from the ground to fight hand to hand. The instructor said that this is because in many situations, your opponent has friends that are trying to beat you down as well. You might be able to fight one guy on the ground, but other people can come kick you and beat you as you're doing it.

As a woman who isn't particularly willing to fight to defend the few dollars I carry around with me, I find groundfighting to be a little more important as a rape defense. I would like to do more training in this regard, but it is usually taught at the higher levels.

Your best be is going to be a blend of several martial arts. Tae Kwon Do is great in kicking ranges, so take from that. Judo is great for takedowns, so take that aspect of it. Every art has the one thing that makes it stand out.

The self-defense and krav classes that I have attended had one great thing going for them - they wear you out. In both of these systems, you fought through exhaustion. My krav school also teaches kenpo, and I see girls coming out of the class with their eyeliner still intact. To me, that indicates that they aren't learning very much in the way of self-defense. Fighting for your life involves getting sweaty and messy. Of course, if they are only going to classes for the self control, balance, etc. that comes with it, they are getting what they want. It all depends on your priorities.
Old 06-01-2004, 12:09 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 4,829
Originally Posted by Chairman Pow
IIRC, a couple of Israeli commandos went into the UFC and got their asses kicked. Not that this is unusual, KM relies on a lot of strikes that the "gentlemen's agreements" in UFC rule out.
I always assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that the reason that no serious Aikido masters were in this competition is because Aikido is a strictly defensive art. Steven Seagall can effectively butcher Aiki-jitsu enough to make a movie, but from what I've learned, a true practitioner of the Aikido lifestyle would never participate in such a thing.

I have been thrown to the mat myriad times, by my Sensei who can't even walk without crutches. I think he has MS or some sort of palsy (I dare not ask). His attitude toward Aikido has impressed me significantly, I just wonder if it has blinded me to reality.
Old 06-01-2004, 09:32 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: North Siiiiide
Posts: 2,808
Dnooman: I specifically posted that that comment about KM and then qualified the hell out of it (and I'm surprised that dnooone's taken me to task on it).

We know that competing in the UFC (originally billed as finding which system was the best) isn't necessarily the best way to find out anything except which style is best for UFC, especially nowadays when they have rounds, wins by decision and lots of rules. In the early days, it was a lot easier to say, "well, Shamrock's good striking and on the ground (and he's got the hell of a lot more experience than the next guy), so he trumps them, so shootfighting's the best." Then, after Gracie defeated and tied Shamrock, suddenly BJJ was the best thing ever. When someone finally learned how to pass the guard, Gracie quit (he/the family was scared of losing their prestige, according to Shamrock in this month's Grappling magazine). I think most competitors these days use a Muay Thai/Kickboxing/BJJ combination. If anything, the UFC has shaped MA training as a whole for the better, telling people that while traditional arts are good for some reasons, MMA gives you a much wider variety of skill and doesn't really take away from your ultimate competency (i.e time that was normally spent on forms/kata is now put to sparring/grappling/weapons, etc.). I think that serious MA students these days are much better off (as fighters) by training in multiple arts.

I don't know if that previous paragraph had anything to do with the current discussion, but I submit it for your consideration.

As for akido: I have no experience with it, but the founder of the school I attend (<brag>which is actually one of, if not the earliest "cross-training" MMA schools in the country</brag>) said that while it's certainly due respect for the dedication it takes to master, as a practical art, once you know "the secret" (which I don't), the Akidodan (?) is defenseless.

Then again, I know a guy who studied a combination akido/Hapkido and was a bouncer for a number of years, using the akido techniques to stop all manner of troublemakers.
Old 06-01-2004, 12:57 PM
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Somewhere in the Middle.
Posts: 21,387
What I love best about this place is anytime I have my own question in this arena in life, some one else asks it, thus saving me the trouble of asking in my usual bumbling fashion or ( worse) watching my thread sink to the Murky Bottom to Never Been Seen From Again. This is know in my world as being Hoffa'd.

I was wondering, knowing nothing about martial arts except from movies, if I wanted to get my kids involved with something, what would be a good one overall for a family sport.

And, I'll ask, how long before we are signed on to our first major kung-fu movie as a Disney Family special? I'll hang up now and listen to the other callers.
Old 06-01-2004, 04:08 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 885
Originally Posted by Shirley Ujest
I was wondering, knowing nothing about martial arts except from movies, if I wanted to get my kids involved with something, what would be a good one overall for a family sport.
How old are your kids? In my Krav school, they don't seem to teach young kids because the training is so intense. Also, what benefits are you looking for? If it's self-control and impulse control, many arts would be beneficial. In that case, I would look more for an instructor that they really respect rather than a specific art. If it's for exercise, then I would try kung fu, tae kwon do, or something similar. Again, check out the school and take a sample class first. Lastly, if it's self-defense you want, many of the arts mentioned in this thread would do very well.
Old 06-01-2004, 05:23 PM
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Somewhere in the Middle.
Posts: 21,387
My kids are 4 and 6 ( and a 38 year old husband who is a barrel chested knuckle dragger who's fighting defense is sitting on or bear holds. Seems to work for him.)

I am thinking I would like the kids to gain confidence, learn how to follow orders and to defend themselves ( not that our son, who is the clone of our husband, will need it by the time he is 16. Nor our daughter, who goes into fracas' with elbows flying.) but I'd like them to have a little more panache in the whoop ass department and I think it is way cool.
Old 06-01-2004, 06:12 PM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: SoCal, USA
Posts: 314
The links below delve into Krav Maga.

The site the links are hosted on is NOT a Martial Arts site per se...So don't expect to learn how to refine your katas there.

disclaimer: I have not studied Krav Maga and make no claims, pro or con, about it's merits.
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