I am a musician and a Kravist
For as long as I can remember, I’ve related or equated the things I experience in my life to music. The ups and down are dynamics. The quiets, the louds, the transitions in between, and definitely the moments of silence all make up a grand piece of music that plays throughout life.
If this over-arching “music-of-life” concept is like an album, individual events or ideas or philosophies are like singles. As I got into Krav Maga, I began thinking of what kind of music it would be. Many other martial arts have a specific genre that springs to mind, but Krav Maga seems a little harder to pin down.
As I got into Krav Maga, I began thinking of what kind of music it would be.
When I was younger I studied Tae Kwon Do. Similar to many other traditional martial arts, like Kung Fu or Karate, Tae Kwon Do has a distinct classical music feel. While they have a great dynamic range and power, they are filled with and steeped in tradition and can sometimes seem rigid or inflexible. Tai Chi has a flow to it, but also a very relaxed feel that reminds me very much of ambient music. Boxing is like hip hop with the swagger and the attitude. It can have finesse, but also rawness and aggression. And of course, the world of MMA is rock and metal. Being mixed, this sport contains a large amount of different techniques from karate, muay thai, BJJ, boxing, wrestling, and so on. It is a very deep genre. It draws on many influences and histories. There is also a lot of aggression and posturing, and the gladiatorial beating of another person in front of a cheering crowd (like a mosh pit). Of course, there is technical ability involved, but that can easily be overshadowed by egotism (or the “meat-head” attitude).
So then, what genre is Krav Maga?
It contains elements of all other martial arts: the technique, the history, and certainly the aggression. It has a rich and traceable lineage. It can be anywhere from smooth and subtle to harsh and aggressive. I think Krav Maga is the jazz of martial arts. Jazz involves a great deal of technique and knowledge. It also involves the ability to improvise, which is a key point. In jazz, every situation in different. In Krav Maga, every encounter with every person is different. You need to have the ability to assess each unique situation and react, just like jazz. Every time you play a piece, the individual parts may be familiar but the song a different version. Knowing the technique, the moves, the history and the philosophy is very important. As well, you have to know when to break the rules and improvise. In Krav Maga, you must know how to fluidly move between attackers. In jazz, you must know how to transition between chord changes.
Krav Maga is the jazz of martial arts.
Finally, in both Krav Maga and jazz music, regardless of whether you execute perfectly or make a mistake, you have to keep moving forward and turn difficult situations to your advantage.