I preach constantly that Krav Maga’s techniques are not magic and will not save anyone. The philosophy of go fist, go crazy, go hard and go mean is what will save us if real violence ever finds us. As I have asked several times in these blogs; Who do you think a cop would rather face on the street, 1) a very proficient martial artist or 2) a crazy who won’t quit and wants to claw their face off and see them bleed? Nearly one hundred percent will you they’d rather face the martial artist with the great techniques. Now, if we can train people to be awesome with Krav’s techniques AND be a crazy we have developed safe people!

I do not understand those who teach martial arts and self defense systems who concentrate on the techniques as if they are the end all. To not run classes where everything taught is put under stress and exhaustion, to not run drills that confuse and surprise and to not make students “uncomfortable” is teaching self defense techniques, not self defense. There is a big difference!

This was reiterated to me once again in the Krav Maga black belt training courses that I am teaching. I had ten level five students who have been training Krav Maga for years, who have been teaching Krav Maga for years and who know the techniques like the back of their hand. At the end of training some handgun techniques we ran what we call the “jostle drill”. One student is “it”, one has a handgun & a knife and the other eight take kick shields and push, whack and bump the student who is “it”. When the student with the handgun yells “gun” those with the kick shields get out of the way. The person with the handgun either sticks a handgun in the “it” person’s face or attempts to stab them with a knife. Each person has five tries being “it” and then the next person takes their turn. This really isn’t much exhaustion or stress. The person who is “it” knows to perform one of two techniques. They will either do the cupping technique for a handgun takeaway or do the overhead knife defense. Again, these are people who teach these techniques and are very, very proficient with them. Well, with just this little bit of confusion and stress the techniques go to heck! Out of the fifty reps (ten people doing five reps a piece) I saw three really good defenses and another twelve that were the technique done kinda like they were supposed to be done. That means that thirty five weren’t the technique at all. With just that little bit of stress and confusion the techniques degraded a bunch.

Now, the good news is that nobody did anything “wrong”. The handguns were taken offline and the attacker beaten (even if not with the exact right technique) and the knife attacks were blocked and the attacker was beaten (again, looked nothing like what we teach). This is why we teach the philosophy over the technique! They all stayed safe getting the weapon offline or blocked and then going forward, going hard and beating the crap out of the attacker. This was Krav Maga!

If those who teach techniques as the end all would apply drills like the one above I believe that they would have an epiphany. If techniques degrade in a drill where the student knew one of two attacks were coming, that they are in no real danger and that the weapons weren’t real how much more will the techniques degrade in a real attack when they didn’t know it was coming at all, didn’t know what attack or weapon would be used and realize that they are about to die? The technique will not be there. If, however, we trained to make our “flinch” reaction “go forward, go hard, go crazy and fight with rage” that will be there. The philosophy will survive when the techniques degrade. BE SAFE!



  1. Very good article.
    Mindset is critical to being prepared for battle, but what do you say to people who are handicapped due to illness, the very old, or infirm people who still want to be able to fight but cannot hadle the physical aspects of hand to hand fighting anymore?

    I know all about the “you are the weapon” training, and being able to use any item as a weapon is also a bonus, but some of us must resort to stand-off weapons to have even a prayer of self defense.

    • I say the exact same thing to the old, infirmed and handicapped with even more emphasis…”it aint’ the techniques”! I have trained several of those called “handicapped” and the mindset is just as important, if not more so, for them. These physical “handicaps” won’t keep them from being victims, it may even enhance the chances. I also give weapon training. The right mindset with a good blade or handgun will make them a tough target. This is krav maga!

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