Audio by Jonathan Fader

Another important founding idea of Krav Maga is to avoid injury.

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This is, of course, in jest, but no seriously…

It is both a fundamental principle and expectation that you will do your best to avoid injury in both training and in real life. In the gym, we train hard. We kick, punch, and spar, but at no point in training is it permitted to intentionally hurt your training partners or instructors.

On the street, hopefully, all the knowledge you gain in the gym will help you avoid outright fights. However, should you find yourself in such a situation you must remember that you probably have a day job. Unlike professional fighters, who make tens of thousands and sometimes millions to fight and can afford to take months off to heal, you cannot. If you throw a punch in self-defence and break your hand, but you require your hands to do your job, you may have survived the conflict but negatively impacted yourself in another way.

It is because of this that Krav Maga prefers techniques that minimize (but not eliminate) the risk of injury during a conflict.

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The most common example of this is how we punch. Kravists should be punching with their first 45 degrees in relation to the ground, not overextending their elbows, and using their bodies to generate the power. This differs from boxing, where gloves are worn and it is acceptable to over-rotate the fist for more range and, arguably, more power. Or Wing Chung Kung Fu, which uses vertical fists to increase punching speed. Kravists choose the middle ground between power and speed, so that our punches are more likely to land with the larger two knuckles.

Another example is the concept of soft on hard, hard on soft in which we use hard parts of our bodies to strike the soft parts of the attacker’s body, and soft parts of our bodies on the hard parts of their bodies. An example of this would be switching to a palm strike, if we are keen enough to notice they have lowered their head exposing the harder part of the skull; punch this with bare knuckles and you may break your hand, but a palm strike will deliver the same effective force with limited damage to yourself.

So remember, both in training and practical application a Kravist will always take the path with the least chance of injury to themselves.

Note: Of course, it must also be understood that Krav Maga literally translates to “contact combat” or “close combat,” and accidents do happen. As such, it is unrealistic to expect, over the course of years of training, that you will never get hurt. Choosing not to practice or train because of fear of injury is not good at all. This is a common occurrence, as people accidentally get injured and then create a mental block related to training. Just remember, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and the faster you bounce back the happier and healthier you will be.

*Topics under any principle category (Eg. Krav Maga Principles) may be updated from time to time.  So check-in every few months to see if the posts have been updated.