Keep It Simple, Keep it Linear

Posted: February 27, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles

One of the founding principles of Krav Maga was to keep it simple, easy to learn and base it off of natural body reactions and movements. This is the principle that makes Krav Maga so easy to learn as you practice regularly unlike other styles that have a steep and long learning curve.

By keeping it simple, it is far easier to train the nervous system to respond appropriately under duress. If you have trained for a limited time but have learned a 1000 techniques it is unlikely under stress you will be able to function in a realistic manner.

As Bruce lee famously said

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.

This is because practising the same simple movements over and over again means proficiency. Drilling the techniques slowly and then faster under stress trains and refines your reaction to being faster and faster.

Another analogy of more modern times is the toolbox. If you have more tools in the toolbox it is likely it will be messy and harder to find the tool you need. But if you only have a few tools, the ones that are only required for the job it will be far easier to pick it and do the job right.

In the Krav Maga world, some organizations adhere to this still, and some do not. Its ok, to learn tones of techniques if you are planning on training for the long term, but like all martial arts most people tap out after 1-2 years. Which means if you really want to defend yourself you must have practices 10000 times the same techniques for them to be effective.

Keeping it linear is more in line with keeping to natural body motions and logical attack patterns. Why add fancy circular motions that while looking nice take longer than a straight line approach would have taken. Remember, the faster you off balance, disrupt or cause pain that faster you can stop the threat. But if you add beautiful yet complicated movements it is possible for the attacker to turn the tables on you.

So keep it simple stupid, and lather, rinse and repeat what you need to know for your basics. If of course, you decide to train for the long haul then you can start exploring more complicated techniques.

If you have trained with various Krav Maga schools and organizations you may understand, but if you have trained only with one school or style you will probably say, “Isn’t all Krav Maga the same?” The reality is, each organization takes a slightly different approach to Krav Maga. If they maintain the core principles of Krav Maga then it is still Krav Maga, but if they stray too far and integrate too much of another style from traditional martial arts, forgetting the principles of Krav Maga then they are not teaching Krav Maga. We have noticed that there are two trends in the Krav Maga world that are mildly conflicting, and they are:

  • Keep it as simple as possible – This actually falls in line well with basic Krav Maga original philosophies. In reality, when you are stressed, you are going to react with your instinctual or highly trained response. Which means the simpler you keep it, the easier the system is to use in real life.


Pros Cons
§   React with ease without thinking

§  Overwhelm your opponent quickly

§  One size doesn’t fit all

§  People come in different shapes, sizes, and strengths 

  • Have an answer for everything –
    This makes sense because in real life you have no idea what is going to come at you. What if your attacker’s style is something you are not familiar with and have no idea what to do. Understanding every possible scenario and having an answer for it can be beneficial, if you have memorized everything and have trained sufficiently to be able to act appropriately.
Pros Cons
§  There won’t be a scenario in which you don’t know what to do in theory §  Learning a move that simply works is pointless to an overall strategy

§  You won’t know what to do unless you learn the application of self-defense

§  You are probably closer to the one who learned 10000 kicks than practice one 10000 times.


  • Our solution – We recognize that it is a balance of the two, though we learn more to the original philosophy of keeping it simple. Our curriculum and teaching style is one in which it forces the student to think. We cannot always be there to guide you so instead we give you a basic framework and strategy with which to work. Remember, asking us “What if this or that?” will always result in the same answer, “It depends”, as everything is based on the situation and your assessment of it.

While we teach you basic moves and ideas it is possible you will encounter something you have not seen before, in which case it is up to you to adapt and plug in a move that fits the strategy. In the early stages, we may teach a few options on how to deal with a specific situation. As you develop your skills we simply ask that you pick the one that works best for you and get good at it, but still, remember the other options just in case. We also often add in new moves as Krav Maga is meant to adapt. However, if a move does not fit into our strategy and is just another move we scrap it. Remember, “Keep it simple stupid”, but what works for me may not work for you, but follow the Krav Maga strategy and principles and you will be just fine.

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