Krav Maga Training Intensity is an often overlooked component of Self Defence training today and while unfortunate, this does not come as a surprise to us. To make Krav Maga massively popular, some global Krav Maga organisations have turned down the dial on the training intensity and placed their focus on fitness instead. In fact, New Zealanders have vaguely similar experience with rugby. There is Rugby, the national game seriously played on all levels, and there is touch rugby, where focus is on fitness and social aspects of the game. If Krav Maga were a sport, then such an approach wouldn't be an issue. However, making a fighting system with a name that is literary translated into 'hand to hand combat' into a fitness system while calling it the most effective self defence system is not only dangerous, but also an irresponsible thing to do.
While the majority of people understand the meaning of the word 'intensity', depending on the context and activity it is used to describe, there are subtle differences, so I need to explain the meaning of intensity in Krav Maga & Self Defence training - at least from the perspective of how we train at Krav Fighter. Some people confuse intensity with power for example, so they may interpret intensive training as something where the chances of you being knocked out, hurt or injured are similar to participating in a competition level mixed martial arts match, which couldn’t be further from reality. If our training intensity was based on power alone, there wouldn't be many people that could keep training, especially as during classes at Krav Fighter, we do not segregate people based on their age, size or gender.
The goal of our training is not to knock out our training partners, but to challenge them, be unpredictable and dynamic attackers, reasonably resist our training partner's defence attempts and maintain constant pressure, so that they benefit from such training and get used to things not being done easily with little effort, and get conditioned that attackers in real life won't be nice and static, but aggressive and dynamic. We do train to deliver powerful strikes, but with the use of protective equipment (shields, impact jackets, boxing gloves, helmets) and control of where on the body we strike with full contact and where we adjust the power (to prevent head injuries for example).
The other day a friend sent me a link to a video posted by the Auckland franchise of one of the global Krav Maga organisations from the foreword above, which is a perfect example of intensity lacking in training. Unfortunately, due to copyright I can't share the video with you here, so will have to describe it. The video's title implied Women's self defence in multiple attackers scenarios. It starts with three women in a triangle arrangement, one with a knife. The first woman throws a circular punch from a few metres of distance, and the defender defends. The attacker doesn't resist defence, doesn't attempt to move at all; she just cops a few punches and goes back to her dedicated spot, all the while the second attacker with a knife is watching, not moving at all. After the defender pushes the unarmed attacker back, the attacker with the knife wakes up and attacks with a straight stab. There is only one stab with no intent behind it, and as the knife attacker is pushed away by the defender's straight push kick, the first attacker is standing idly by. After the knife attacker settles in her spot, the women take turns in attacking and defending.
To the average viewer with a sedentary lifestyle, the drills shown may appear to be physically intense. But was this the intensity required for the participants to have even the slightest chance of defending themselves if confronted by real world violence? Sadly, no it wasn't. When we assess any form of self defence training for its quality one of the first questions we ask is whether the intensity is at the level needed to provide a viable defence in an actual violent situation. I am sure that the women went home feeling good about their workout, but I would be concerned if they really believed that what they practiced stands a chance in real life. I’ll give you a few pointers here. To start with, unless we're discussing teenage school yard 'gang' violence, where female teenagers do gang up on another and beat her up, it is much more likely that a woman would be attacked by one or more men. For the actual statistics, check our Krav Maga & Self Defence for Women article.
Secondly, a circular punch in a surprise attack is unlikely to be attempted from the distance shown on the video. The attackers never had an opportunity to connect at all, and in reality, the attacker will try to close the distance and connect with their strikes. Furthermore, the third attacker standing idly by is not going to happen in real life. The reality of fighting multiple people is that you can only fight one person at a time, however the attackers are rarely stupid enough to attack one at the time. Before my Krav Maga journey, I've ended in more than one fight (in Eastern Europe) where I was confronted by a group of guys, and I can tell you from personal experience that fighting multiple people is akin to a sheep dog fighting a pack of wolves. So, you can't go in to make contact with one attacker, while leaving your sides and back open to the other one. You don't stand a chance of getting out uninjured unless you are able to control how the attackers are engaging you by your movement and defensive techniques.
Next, do you really think that a knife attacker will just serve the knife once without any intent behind it, and then be discouraged by one straight push kick into the centre of mass? If anything, they will increase the intensity of the attack and will try to grab you, so that you can't repeat the same trick again. I could go on in terms of the techniques used, and lack of any lateral movement from the attackers and defenders, but I think you get the point I am trying to make here. There was no Krav Maga Self Defence intensity whatsoever, making the whole training ok from a fitness perspective, but dangerous from a self defence perspective.
In conclusion, anyone considering spending their money on Krav Maga & Self Defence training should try a class at the club of their choice and experience the way people train there first hand, rather than making their decision based on statements about how widespread their syllabus is worldwide. Let's face it, fast food chains are everywhere, but this doesn't mean their food is good for you. As we keep saying, not all Krav Maga is the same. You need to decide whether you are content with training at a "Touch Krav Maga" place, or you want to develop the skill, conditioning and mental toughness only the realistic, authentic Krav Maga training at Krav Fighter can offer.
We make it very easy for the people of Auckland to try our classes, so don't waste your time on reading dubious "Free Guides" about Krav Maga Training. Click HERE to book your class without a delay, and experience Krav Maga the way it should be trained to be an effective Self Defence system.