A Beginner’s Guide to Krav Maga

Developed by the Israeli Defense Forces, Krav Maga is a hand-to-hand combat system from the standing position that doesn’t require any equipment and can be done wearing street clothes.

Groin Kick:
From a staggered stance (your dominant leg behind you) and facing your opponent, engage your hip flexors by kicking up and out with your dominant leg. Bring your kicking leg right up between your opponent’s legs contacting his groin with your shin.

As a natural response, your opponent will bend over at the waist. Now with your dominant arm, twist and swing toward the side of your opponent’s head hitting him with your elbow using the force from the swing and twist of your body driving him to the ground.

Defending the Outside Strike:
To defend against someone taking a swing at you, raise your hand to protect your face and to block the swing of your opponent’s arm, while at the same time punching him in the throat, chin or nose with your other hand.

The Bear Hug Release:
This is a defense move if someone comes up from behind you and grabsyou thereby pressing your arms against the sides of your body. Once in the bear hug, drop your center of gravity by executing a squat. This makes it harder for your opponent to pick you up.

With your feet shoulder-width apart, slightly twist your hips to the side and drive your arm up and into your attacker’s groin. This should break his hold on you.

Now turn around while facing him, execute your elbow to the side of his head as explained in the Groin Kick.

Two-handed Rear Choke Hold:
If an attacker comes up behind you and is choking you with both hands, execute the following movements to break free.

Take one step forward. Now turn in the direction of your rearward leg while bringing up your arm of the same side. This should break the hold. While facing your opponent, either hit him in the side of his head using the force of your elbow of your opposite arm as explained in Groin Kick, or strike him in the throat, chin or nose as explained in Defending the Outside Strike.

All four of these moves are easy to learn and as you can see, incorporate elements from one move as part of the execution of another move. This makes learning the moves easy as it reduces the number of elements that must be learned to adequately protect yourself.

4 Key Krav Maga Self-Defense Moves:
There are several different types of Krav Maga moves, but here are four that are easy to master and work well to defend yourself both from front and rear attacks.

Kick to the Groin:
The groin is one of two places on the male body that cannot be conditioned to being struck, making it one of your prime targets in an attack. To start, face your attacker with your feet shoulder-width apart. With your non-dominant leg forward, fists up and against your chest, kick forward and up with your dominant leg. Flatten out your kicking foot so that the shoelaces or top of your shoe contacts the center of the groin. Immediately retract your leg back to the starting position and either prepare for another move, like slamming the side of your attacker’s head with your dominant elbow, or leave the scene.

Because the groin is such a sensitive area, a well-placed kick will double over your opponent and can even cause nausea.

Hammer Fist Punch:
If you are not used to fighting with your fists, you can easily break bones if you strike in the normal manner. However, this move lessens the risk of injury.

From the fighting stance mentioned in the above move, make a tight fist with your dominant hand. While rotating your hips slightly forward, raise your dominant hand like you were going to throw a ball. Drive your weight forward and bring down your raised arm hitting your attacker in the face with the bottom part of your fist. Immediately return to the fighting stance position and prepare to deliver another strike or move, or leave the scene once the threat is eliminated.

Headlock from the Rear :
These are easy to break if you know how. If an attacker has his right arm around your neck, get out of it by grabbing his forearm and hand with your hands, tucking your chin down and to your left pressing your left shoulder into your attacker’s chest. This should give you some room to make the next move.

Then step out behind with your left foot from under your attacker’s arm. At that point you can let go of his arm or keep twisting it which will either dislocate his shoulder or break his arm.

Chokehold from the Front:
This is another easy hold to break. Here is how.

If an attacker has a chokehold on you from the front, bend your arms at your elbows, raise your arms so they are outside of your attackers. Now come down with force on the attacker’s forearms thus breaking his grip on your throat. Here is the important part. At the same time, you are breaking his grip, thrust up as hard as you can between his legs with your knee, thus kicking him in the groin.

With him bent over in pain, you can prepare your next move or leave the scene. An appropriately next move would be a Hammer Fist Punch to the top of his head or with your dominant leg bent, come up as hard as you can to the front of his face.

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