KRAV FIGHTER is New Zealand's leading Krav Maga Self Defence & Street Martial Arts Gym located in Auckland. In addition to Krav Maga (Israeli Mixed Martial Arts/MMA focused solely on Self Defence and Survival), we also train modern Martial Arts techniques (Striking, Kickboxing, Grappling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - BJJ) in our Combat Striking and Ground Combat classes. As the focus of all KRAV FIGHTER classes is on practical, street Self Defence and Survival, our training occupies an unique place in the Self Defence & Martial Art landscape of NZ.
We often get asked how Martial Arts compare to Krav Maga, and people come to us wanting to learn a “practical” Martial Art. Depending on who you talk to in the Krav Maga community, a typical answer may range from "Krav Maga is not a Martial Art" to "Krav Maga is THE most Practical Martial Art". As always, the truth is somewhere in the middle, especially as not all Martial Arts are the same and not all Krav Maga is the same. It is impossible to distance Krav Maga from Martial Arts completely; the truth is many techniques used in Krav Maga originate from Martial Arts, Combat Sports and various Fighting disciplines. The techniques adopted are chosen and further developed based on their simplicity and effectiveness, making them more likely to work under unfavourable real life conditions.
One key differentiator from traditional Martial Arts is that Krav Maga has no spiritual, cultural and historical components; Krav Maga’s sole focus is the study and practice of surviving violence. Another key differentiator is that traditional Martial Arts often have katas or forms - detailed choreographed techniques performed in sequence either solo or with people to demonstrate the beauty of the Martial Art or the skill of the practitioner in performing complex choreography. Krav Maga training does not include this and requires the total opposite; everything practiced in Krav Fighter Krav Maga has value only if it is practiced with partners that offer reasonable resistance and an element of unpredictability, simulating scenarios as close as possible to reality, while minimising the potential for injuries.
Furthermore, some traditional Martial Arts have rules about techniques that can only be taught as students progress through the levels of the system and earn the recognition from the school by passing the tests and acquiring ranks/belts. The reasons for such an approach vary between different Martial Arts: some techniques are complex, whereas others require years of development for the student to be ready to understand and learn them. This is at odds with our training philosophy, as the goal of Krav Maga is to develop competency in Self Defence as quickly as possible. With regular practice, a Krav Fighter student will typically have the exposure to entire Krav Maga syllabus within six months to a year. This means our members can gain the experience for a wide variety of situations within a much shorter period, even when compared to many global Krav Maga organisations. As with any skill, expertise and mastery comes from consistent training over time, so there are no magic shortcuts.
Unfortunately, there are Krav Maga schools and organisations out there that resemble the traditional Martial Arts schools without offering the benefits of realistic Krav Maga training. Their classes could be classified as low impact fitness classes at best, under the pretence of teaching Self Defence. On the other hand, there are also traditional Martial Arts schools that alongside a traditional syllabus, also teach applicable Realistic Self Defence to their students. This is where you have to do your research, and there is no better way than to trial a class or two at different schools and experience how each of them train and what they train for.
MIXED MARTIAL ARTS & COMBAT SPORTS
So far, we covered only traditional Martial Arts. There are also Combat Sports to consider like wrestling, boxing, kickboxing and Martial Arts that have grown into Combat Sports like Muay Thai, Sambo and BJJ, which all have great applications in Self Defence. There is also now a modern mix of martial arts that cover unarmed striking and grappling techniques under the common name of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), which is very popular at present.
Historically, Krav Maga is one of the earliest fighting systems with the philosophy that is employed in Mixed Martial Arts i.e. “apply the most effective solution applicable regardless of origin”, but the emphasis in Krav Maga has always been on the accelerated development of Self Defence and Survival skills for an average person, instead of fighting in a ring or cage against the opponent of the same sex, weight and a similar skill level. There is a difference between training to become a fighting athlete, and training to increase your chances of Survival when suddenly confronted by violence. Average people simply do not have the athletic prowess of a trained MMA fighter, nor have the ability to train themselves to the level of a top athlete while having a demanding job, family or study commitments.
The honest truth is that a stronger, faster person with better cardio and fighting skills stands much better chances in a fight, be it the street or in a sports match. Yes, there are sport rules that prevent trained Mixed Martial Arts fighters from using certain techniques when fighting in a controlled environment, but to think that good MMA athletes will stick to the rules fighting on the street is naive. That being said, trained Mixed Martial Arts fighters also know that fighting on the street for your life, where there is a huge variability in conditions, circumstances and threat levels could present an unique set of challenges they don't regularly train for.
KRAV FIGHTER KRAV MAGA
Regarding the techniques we teach at Krav Fighter, we believe that Krav Maga successfully bridges the gap between the aims of traditional Martial Arts and MMA/Combat Sports; the former were created originally for defence against various threats and the latter aiming to employ the most effective techniques to beat an equally skilled opponent. By being authentic and realistic we can achieve a good level of both. In addition to technical training and physical conditioning, our students must also employ situational awareness, conflict avoidance, de-escalation and fast and brutal escalation as a last resort. Tactics is a very important component of Krav Fighter training as is the practice of mimicking victim behaviour and the understanding of violent criminal behaviour. Defending realistic threats and attacks by various weapons is also specific to Krav Maga practiced at Krav Fighter. Weapons defence is typically not trained at MMA gyms and most traditional Martial Arts that do train with weapons require years of dedicated training, precision work and skill development to get to the point where they can be successfully used against a non-compliant attacker armed with a bat, knife or a gun.
As a leading Krav Maga training centre in New Zealand, we are continually evolving and developing techniques taught to ensure they work in real life. Instructors are constantly training and revising the existing syllabus and how they address the current and future trends in violence. A prime example is recognition that a key component to expediting the path to effective self defence skills meant developing a good foundation of striking and grappling, therefore we introduced Combat Striking and Ground Combat classes to enable members to focus on those key areas. Another is where we retired techniques taught in “traditional” Krav Maga that rarely work against motivated attackers and replaced them with techniques that enable us to minimise damage and increase the chances for survival, invented by the most respected Krav Maga expert in the world, Prof. Itay Gil.
In summary, we respect the Krav Maga’s Martial Arts roots while recognising a specific set of skills that our Krav Maga brings to the table, that are not common in Martial Arts and Combat Sports. We will be the first to admit that there are things found training in Martial Arts and MMA we do not offer. We do not aim to drill techniques and applications that are performance worthy or physically impressive. There is something amazing watching a high-risk takedown, strike or submission that is expertly done, but we do not aim to train you for competitions or a professional career in Combat Sports because this is not what we do. What we do offer however is developing your ability to think and react tactically on the fly, to overcome the pressure of a surprise attack or threat, and training you to move and fight in a way that is clinical, efficient and ferocious with the most important goal in mind: saving your life or that of your loved ones.