Base, Posture and Structure as applied to Krav Maga Self Defense: Audio by Jonathan Fader

Sometimes concepts are universal and are applicable to all styles, no matter what your beliefs. One such set of concepts is that of Base, Posture and Structure. Not an innovation of Krav Maga itself, we loosely taught these concepts after being introduced to this them by Professor Robert Bernacki, based on his conceptual BJJ system. We have since found ourselves incorporating it more and more into our teachings.

When teaching the concepts of closing the distance, and cause pain, off balance, and disrupt we often find ourselves noting the structure of our arms. We use that arm structure to maintain good control over the posture of our opponent, and expand that concept to the structure of our own stance and base. Because these concepts apply universally, not just in self-defence but also in engineering and science, it seems appropriate that they are included in our general self-defence concepts.


The pyramid’s base is your legs in fighting stance, and the apex is your head.

Base is the ability to generate force and receive force while maintaining your stance or position. If you are in a fighting stance you are have a “solid base,” as you are able to generate force by bursting and you are able to receive a blow, within reason, without falling over. Without a solid base, it will be difficult to fight or defend yourself. Often during sparring sessions in our Warrior classes, individuals still don’t understand this important concept; intentionally or accidentally they cross their feet or legs, losing their base and the ability to resist force. Even when they get hit with a light blow they find themselves on the ground. The hit was not necessarily powerful, but it was perfectly timed to the loss of base, meaning they were unable to maintain balance against the incoming force. For Krav Maga, having a strong base means having a strong fighting stance. Lose your footing and you lose your base.


Here we see the universal nature of posture applied to squats.

Posture is the position of your spine or your opponent’s spine to take a load. When we burst into our opponent and take a control position, if they have a good base and are resisting, we can cause pain and disrupt with a knee or kick to the groin, the impact of which allows us to break their posture. Once we have broken their posture it is easier to control them. If we let an opponent maintain a good base and posture it will be very difficult to move or control them. We can’t cheat physics, but we can cheat biology! This is why Krav Maga applies the cause pain, off balance, and disrupt principle, without this means of breaking an attacker’s posture it will be difficult to take on opponents larger than us.


360 block
Structure as used in 360 defense

Structure is the efficient use of your limbs. If we have good structure in our limbs then we can effectively resist force pushed against us. Consequently, if we break the structure of our opponent’s limbs, turning their limbs into a lever, we can easily control them. One of the best examples of good structure in Krav Maga is the 360-degree defence, in which our arms create a super-efficient block and create 0-95 degree angle. This angle allows us to absorb the impact of circular attacks with minimal effort (energy) as the angle of the structure redirects the incoming force. This same angle can be employed when in position 1 (reference point 1) to control the person’s forward motion at the head and neck via arm structure. Other self-defence systems, such as Tony Blauer’s SPEAR system, would call this the “outside 90” and have created an entire martial arts system around that central concept. Such is the power of structure.

*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.