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There are no competitions.

There are no medals.

There are no rules, really.

Emphasis is on quickly dispaching the opponent (brutally, I might add), and on both armed and unarmed combat. Trainees (can't really call them students) are taught improvisation with weaponry, and there are lots of neck and groin attacks. Since it is meant for combat situations, the point is quick training and effective neutralization.

Strikes of Krav Maga

The basic attacks, the building blocks if you will, are very simple. One learns which attacks to use at short, medium, and long ranges, the six directions of striking (up, down, diagonally up, diagonally down), and how to fit the attacks together. The fighting stance is standard; balancing on the balls of your feet, one leg forward, one leg back, knees slightly bent, arms up in a boxer's guard.

Arm attacks

  • Straight punch, power punch, haymaker, whatever. Delivered with the dominant hand, with a slight twist of the shoulders and hips to add power. A long-range attack.
  • Jab. Used at medium range.
  • Uppercut. A good knockout punch, delivered from short or medium distance.
  • Hook. Another medium-range punch, used to get around an opponent's guard.
  • Hammer punch. Delivered with the side of the fist rather than the knuckles, with a motion like the swing of a hammer. Medium range, best used to knock the opponent down when he's already doubled over from a kick or knee to some sensitive spot.
  • Elbow strike. A good short range attack. While not as powerful as a punch or kick, these are a nasty surprise to someone attacking from behind, or attempting to grapple. They can be delivered forwards and up to the chin, solar plexus, or throat; downwards like a hammer punch; straight back to the groin or solar plexus; sideways to any point on the upper body; or straight back to the face and neck. Swivel the shoulders to add extra force.
  • Head butt. Not an arm attack, but oh well. When grappled, smash the flat hard bone of your forehead into his face. You may get a bruise, but he'll get a broken nose or worse.

Leg attacks

  • Power kick. Since Krav Maga is designed to be used by anybody, it doesn't really emphasize high kicks. Instead, it teaches low snap kicks, from the knee rather than the hip. Power kicks are thrown with either leg, from long range, using the top of the foot or shin as the impact surface (though one can also use the toe if wearing heavy shoes), either straight up towards the groin or solar plexus or sideways to the kneecap, ankle, or ribs.
  • Defensive kick. Designed to shove an attacker backwards. This kick is delivered straight forward, into the stomach or groin, using the sole of the shoe.
  • Side kick. A power kick delivered out to the side, using either the heel or the top of the foot. Easy to unbalance yourself with this attack, so keep it low at first.
  • Backwards kick. Look back over your shoulder as you deliver this surprise kick with the heel. Spin to face the attacker immediately. Kicking backwards looks cool in the movies, but it's a bad way to fight.
  • Knee strike. At short range, strike upwards with the bony point of your bent knee (not the thigh) into a stun point. If you can do it without exposing yourself, grab his shoulders and pull him down to meet your knee.
  • Ground kick. To use if you find yourself knocked down. Lying on either side and supporting yourself with the bottom arm and leg, kick straight ahead. Push off with your supporting arm to add power, keeping the other raised for defense. Get up while your opponent is reeling backwards.
  • Stomping. This is really vicious and nasty, but anything goes when your life is on the line. Once you've knocked your opponent to the ground, you can inflict massive injuries by stomping his face, neck, groin, or stomach. Raise the leg as high as you can before slamming your heel downwards. Lean into the attack for even more power.

Disclaimer: These attacks can cause severe injury or death when executed properly. Use only when your life and health are in immediate danger. Don't practice them on a human partner without protective gear.

Krav Maga defense
These defenses are not fancy or showy. They are designed simply to keep an attack from hitting you in a vulnerable spot.

360 defense. Against attacks delivered to the outside of the body. There are six positions for each arm. Bend your arm at a 90-degree angle, then point the elbow straight up. This is the defense against overhead attacks. Move your elbow to a point in between vertical and horizontal. This defends against attacks on a downwards diagonal. Hold it parallel to the ground with the hand pointing up. This will be your defense against attacks from the side aimed at the head. Point the elbow at a 45-degree downwards angle, hand towards the ceiling. This is the position to block diagonally upwards attacks towards the upper body. With the elbow in the same position, rotate the hand to the inside of the body. Here you can block diagonally upwards attacks to the lower body. Finally, point your elbow straight down with your forearm across your torso to block attacks to the groin and solar plexus. Lean forward slightly to move your vitals farther away from the attack. To practice this, have a partner make symbolic attacks with an open hand, varying the direction, speed, and angle each time.

Defense against straight attacks
When someone tries to punch you in the face, slap his arm aside with your forearm or open palm while ducking slightly in the opposite direction, then counter-attack immediately.

I'll be expanding this node as my knowledge of Krav Maga improves.Unfortunately, I've been unable to find a Krav Maga teacher here in Montreal, so my training is on hold for the duration of the school year.

A small afterthought: If you would like to see Krav Maga in action, watch the otherwise lousy movie "Enough", directed by Michael Apted and starring Jennifer Lopez.

I'm sorry, but while mirv has the right idea, a few things need correcting.
  • Elbows can be devastatingly powerful, more so than punches usually. To say that they are not as strong as punches isn't quite fair- they are a shorter range technique, which is a downside.
  • The inside defenses ('defense against straight attacks') are not a slap. They are a redirection. It is difficult to properly explain the technique in text, but very simple to show, and the distinction between a slap and a redirection is rather important.
  • The kicks in Krav Maga are not snapping kicks (as you might see in Tae Kwon Do). They remain bent, and drive through the target, using the rotational force of the kick (at least for round kicks). Groin kicks are sometimes taught as snapping kicks, but these too should remain bent and driving through the target. A little extension of the leg on groin kicks is fine, but they are not "snap kicks" in the sense that Tae Kwon Do kicks are, with a chamber, lock out, and rechamber.
  • Sidekicks with the top of the foot? Maybe if you could dislocate your ankle... Just the heel for me, thanks.

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