There is a popular belief that learning Krav Maga is fast and easy, that it only requires a couple months of training, and that you can quickly be ready to defend yourself for life. Yet, many instructors mention the decades of Krav Maga training they have done to become masters. Krav Maga techniques are built upon natural human reflexes, which means it has a very short learning curve for the average person. However, it’s not a quick fix.
Then, why do people advertise this?
Historical Reason. In the Israeli Defense Force, average combat soldiers might get 10-60 hours of Krav Maga training during their service. For Krav Maga instructors, their course could only take about 6 weeks long.
Business Reason. It is an easier business practice to go around the world, teaching short and intense courses. Israeli Krav Maga instructors tend to choose this method instead of taking the time to develop students from scratch.
Cultural Reason. At the core, people are different from country to country and region to region. The Krav Maga mentality that people in Israel or Serbia have is that they train knowing that they will likely need to use it. In addition, the Israeli military is a conscription army, which allows them to choose the best of the best citizens of the entire country to make their army strong. Which means that the level of Krav Maga they display is definitely not reflective of the general population. In peaceful countries, like Taiwan or Canada, people don’t have the same kind of mental and physical toughness, at least in the urban areas. There are certainly rough neighbourhoods or bad weather, but there is a lack of day-to-day dangers. Their priorities are not the same. Thus, it takes a much longer time to educate and train students into the Krav Maga mentality.
UTKM lead instructor, Jonathan Fader served in the IDF in Givati. This video is published by the Israeli Defense Force and depicts baseline combat soldiers, but they are not the elite, which is what most people visualize. These infantry soldiers probably have about 10-60 hours of Krav Maga, but just physical training.
The Krav Maga Mentality
Muscle memory: If you don’t use it, you lose it.
One thing that Israeli instructors fail to understand is that the fight or flight instinct takes a long time learn how to control, and then it takes longer to learn how to maintain control. The same goes with instinctual reactions and fighting spirit. Sure, six months of proper fight training can enhance one’s ability to protect him or herself, but what about after six months? Students here will lose what they learned because they live in a much more peaceful society than Israel. Thus, in order to maintain their abilities and control, they should train a certain amount per week.
Krav Maga is unlike traditional martial arts. It’s not because it’s easy to learn. It’s not because it doesn’t take time to practice. It is because time is not wasted on forms or preparing for competition, which are useless in the real world. Despite what most major Krav Maga instructors advertise, you need to train hard to keep some of the most fundamental moves, such as 360 defense. Krav Maga techniques are built upon human instinct, but it does require years of practice to ingrain it into your muscle memory. The more you practice the more confident you are with them.
It’s all about the mind
For people in war-torn countries, the warrior spirit comes naturally to them because of their experience. For people in peaceful countries, the warrior spirit takes longer time and more consistent training to develop. Training should be a lifestyle – a warrior lifestyle – not a short cut or quick fix.