It amazes me how “military hand to hand combat techniques” have such an aura about them. I get a lot of people asking if I teach “military krav maga”. People somehow assume that military techniques must be the most lethal and, therefore, the best to learn. Military hand to hand combat training is great…if you are in the military.

Military hand to hand combat is for the battlefield. Soldier’s goals are totally different than a citizen who is trying to survive random street violence. In the military they train with a lot of gear on. All that gear they carry makes a lot of Krav Maga’s techniques useless. They train generally assuming they have buddies around to help…they train as a team. They train to use their knives, long guns, etc. as adjuncts to the techniques. In other words, not a lot of empty hand but always grabbing a shovel, butt stroking with their long gun and using an improvised weapon they are carrying to smack people with. They train to kill and keep moving towards their objective. They don’t look to flee or worry about being sued or arrested for too much force. They are learning to attack offensively, preferably taking out people who never knew they were there. You do that as a civilian and I would think you’d spend a lot of time in prison.

There are a few Israeli military Krav Maga instructors that I have studied. They are tough dudes who are great instructors. We have taken some of what they teach and have incorporated it to the USKMA system but there is much more that we can’t use. The mindset is different. The end goals are different. The whole way of thinking about ‘self defense’ is different. If a person comes at the military instructor with a knife they are thinking only of stopping that knife and killing the attacker. The first thing a civilian should think is to run like they are on fire! Civilian Krav Maga is about learning to stay safe when suddenly attacked by one or more scum bags. Our main goal is to go off like a crazy person doing as much damage as possible in as short amount of time as possible while always looking to escape. Stay safe no matter what and then get the heck out of there before his buddies show up…with knives. We teach (in this order) to stay away from bad places, to run away, to de-escalate and, lastly, to fight when there is no other choice. This is about as opposite of what the military teaches as possible!

So when I am asked “do you teach the military krav maga” I always ask “why, are you in the military?”. Why learn something that is designed for the dangers that military personnel face on a battlefield when we should be learning defenses designed for the dangers that us regular folk will face on the street? It’s beyond me.

I see most who do actually teach “military hand to hand techniques” teach class in bdu’s. Makes them look more military I suppose. With all those pockets down the leg I’d sure as heck be carrying weapons in them and wouldn’t need much krav! BE SAFE!

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