While Krav Maga has its roots in Israel with the Israeli defense force, it’s become increasingly popular worldwide as a form of martial art self-defense that’s perfect for the real world. It takes all sorts of strategies from various fight sports and martial arts techniques, from karate to boxing, and is unmatched if you want a hybrid form of self-defense that can be much easier to execute in stressful or intimidating situations.
You can learn many moves through a Krav Maga class if you want a fuller understanding, but many of the best techniques are easy to learn without a lot of training. There are four moves you can pick up on easily that are valuable to know if you’re worried about being thrown into a compromised position.
The Best Krav Maga Self-Defense Moves
These are only four moves, but they cover the four main ways that you can end up interlocked with another person. These would be things to do when upright and at a distance, being choked from the front, being choked or grabbed from the back, or while on the ground, meaning they can give you a solid range for, no matter which way your attacker approaches you.
That said, these don’t cover the entire range of positions you can get into, and different attackers can be especially hard to predict. Using these moves means being ready to change things up slightly based on your situation, but for the most part, these will help you escape common grabs and help you maintain a safe distance from your assailant.
As comical as it might sound, much of Krav Maga training revolves around having access to groin kicks. This technique is because it’s a sensitive area, particularly for men who are often carrying out the attack in assault situations. That said, it’s still a little more complicated than simply throwing your leg forward.
One of the big tips for this self defense technique is that you want your arms and knees bent slightly and keep your back perfectly upright. You get much more power and balance while kicking, so you don’t fall while putting your strength into the kick. You also want to make sure to return to your standing position after you’ve finished your kick since a single groin kick won’t usually down an assailant all on their own.
Instead, it’s much more effective to use groin kicks as a way to increase your distance in dangerous situations since you can cause great pain and threat to your assailant without getting too close. After a kick, bounce back to a ready position to kick again, and if they don’t appear to be getting up from a kick, you can often flee the situation much more safely.
This move is primarily an escape move, letting you escape a grappling situation to ready yourself for groin kicks or aggressive pushes and punches. You can take this strategy if your assailant grabs you by your neck in front of you, letting you resist them from choking you in a headlock or pulling you from a vulnerable spot.
First, you want to tense your neck muscles as tight as you can to immediately make it harder for your opponent to block your airflow from his grip on the sides of your neck, giving you much more opportunity to break free. From there, duck your head down and to whichever side is most open to weave your head underneath their forearms, and once you feel free, you can step backward and ready yourself for a groin kick.
Like most Krav Maga moves, this lets you maintain a wide distance between you and your assailant, and that space is what’s going to give you the most safety. Stressful situations can make it hard to execute certain complex moves that disable your opponent, but being able to escape a grip like this means you’ll be able to use simpler moves from safer positions.
Much like the choke slip mentioned earlier, the shoulder slip is a way to break out of a grappling position, but it is for those being grabbed around the neck with your assailant’s arms. This position is precarious, so you’ll need to fight against your assailant’s strike slightly more than the previous move.
Start by raising your hands and arms upwards and back towards your assailant’s head. With enough reach, you can potentially hit their head and knock them off balance. Afterward, you’ll want to grab one of your assailant’s arms with both of your hands in a monkey grip, which involves not using your thumbs to wrap around the bottom of the arm.
With two hands on a single-arm, and your assailant possibly disoriented from a face hit, you can pull down to create an opening under their arm. Here, you can keep your chin to your chest to prevent him from gripping your neck again and then dipping under the arm just like in the choke slip. Once you’re out of his arms, turn and step backward-facing your assailant so you can be in a ready stance for groin kicks or other frontal attacks.
The last move to mention is when you’re on your back, which can easily be one of the most intimidating positions to be in with an assailant. If someone gets on top of you, their weight can make it challenging to escape, but with bicycle kicks, you should be able to prevent your assailant from getting on top of you long enough to get back on your feet.
These are exactly what they sound like, as you charge your leg up by putting it to your chest and then extending it outwards, ideally towards your assailant’s groin. These can be done quickly with your legs alternating, and by putting them to your chest and extending in this direction, you should be able to get a surprising amount of power out that can keep an assailant from moving closer.
Once your assailant is hit and staggered or becomes too nervous to attack you, you can use this opportunity to quickly get on your feet and return to a ready-fighting position. As mentioned, having some open space gives you a huge amount of safety and advantage over your assailant, but always make sure that you get up from your back quickly so that you aren’t vulnerable or unbalanced long enough for them to approach again.
Additional Krav Maga Self-Defense Tips
The best Krav Maga techniques can be quite easy to understand, but mastering them can still be quite difficult and there’s much more to learn besides the basic moves. There are several other techniques that Krav Maga teaches that are just as important to learn and can improve all your moves and general safety by knowing and practicing.
Once again, these are certainly not a comprehensive list of rules, but they’re good starting points that can help you with any form of self-defense. Krav Maga is about giving you a sense of safety in the real world, and these other additional techniques can maximize the effectiveness of these moves and others further.
Use Your Voice
Another aspect of Krav Maga is that you should ideally be using your voice as much as possible. While the exertions can be intimidating and help you expel energy with your movements, it’s even more vital as a real-world measure of self-defense. It can draw attention to others that can help you or even call someone else for help.
With any of your moves, simply calling out for help or screaming out will give enough attention while also potentially intimidating your opponent if you’re close to a crowd of other people. It’s good to make sure you’re keeping yourself safe and protected, but safety doesn’t have to involve you taking down your assailant on your own.
Push, Don’t Punch
Punching can seem like a go-to action for fighting, but something valuable in Krav Maga is creating distance between yourself and your opponent. Harming them when they are in close proximity won’t often work effectively. Stronger assailants can often hold their grip on you while taking punches, especially since a good punch requires a lot of mobility and strength to knock out an assailant.
What you often want to do instead is push them away, giving you a better opportunity to strike them with more accurate kicks. Pushes can also use their weight and gravity against them, as you can potentially knock them to the ground and give yourself a better opportunity to escape a larger assailant.
It’s probably become quite clear by now, but one of the biggest strengths of Krav Maga is its ability to create a safe distance between you and your assailant. Rather than trying to get close and fight, Krav Maga values your ability to flee a situation safely or to counter your assailant’s moves without having too great a risk to your safety.
With any of these moves, you should always be considering how you can get out of a situation since you should never expect to take down an assailant in every single fight. An assault is an incredibly stressful situation, even more so in dark or lonely areas. Keeping your distance from your assailant is the ideal way to either get away from a fight you don’t think you can win or give yourself as much of an opportunity to use your skills as effectively as possible.
These moves and techniques should hardly be your final stop on the road to learning the best self-defense techniques. Whether you continue with Krav Maga or move on to try other forms of self-defense and combat sports, keep up your practice to maintain your skills and to have responses for an even wider range of situations and assailants.
Make sure you have good equipment to train with, particularly if you wish to practice sparring often. To help, it’s strongly recommended you get gloves like the RDX MMA Sparring Mitts to help you practice grappling and punching without, or even glove and footwear sets like the Finger Ten Kickboxing Wraps to help further practice your kicks with safety and comfort.
As mentioned earlier, this is hardly a comprehensive list of everything you can learn through Krav Maga. Different assailants will have different strategies, and different situations can leave you less able to use these moves. Nonetheless, these are meant as a strong list of basics that you can start with, and learning further moves through lessons or online research will give you a much better range of options.
Regardless of how you choose to learn further, self-defense is incredibly important for a majority of the population. It’s a valuable skill to have in your own life, and it’s just as important to know so you can teach and support others. If you end up in a situation where these tips could be useful, you’ll surely be thankful to have moves like these to fall back on.