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!


1 Comment

  1. I understand the idea behind this post, how the uninformed take what they hear about “military techniques” and assume certain ideas about them. Ideas like the techniques are some how different or better. With that being said, some of what you are saying about military training is just not accurate.

    When I was in the military, I was a MCMAP instructor and a lot of the training that we conducted was quite different than what you paint in this post. We don’t only train for combat situations. We have use of force training that covers the entire spectrum. Yes, sometimes our training is for deadly force, but it’s also for humanitarian and peacekeeping missions. For you to say, “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.” just doesn’t scratch the surface our of training. We actually spend a lot of our curriculum on empty hand with control techniques, strikes (upper and lower), pain compliance and grappling, to name a few. We do train for situations both for when we have “our buddies” and for when we don’t. Also, in the military, we do have to worry about excessive force. We can be and people have been charged with unjust killings or use of force. Depending on the situation, the individual may be punished under the local laws and/or the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice).

    Like I said, I understand the message you were trying to convey, but I believe the execution was off. There are a lot of people out there trying to use the guise of “military” [insert cool tactical name here], simply for the way it sounds or that it can trick people into training with them. That doesn’t mean it’s fair game to dismiss military training in its entirety as a training tool for civilians. There are plenty of aspects that cross over. Of course, I’m talking from the viewpoint of the US military. So, if you are only speaking of Israeli military training, please disregard as I have no personal experience with it. lol 🙂

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