Posts Tagged ‘aggression’

Unfortunately, defending yourself from an attacker requires more than one punch. (source)
Audio by Jonathan Fader

If you believed the previous myth then you may also believe this one, as they are fairly connected. It too is simply bullshit. Yes, Krav maga is brutal, but the reality is if you understand HOW to train your nervous system, and you understand Krav Maga concepts and strategies from a “principles first” point of view, then all you really need to know is that you CAN flip that switch and apply it in a lethal form if needed.

Obviously, if it was so harsh that you could train consistently or for a long time, then the training isn’t very good at all. The “hardcore” mentality is an “old School” mentality and is misguided if you expect longevity in your training path. Additionally, not everyone is capable of going hard all the time, not to mention that we want to avoid injuries in order to stay training and live a good life. If we actually trained at 100% all the time, the bodies would hit the floor and we would be violating a (rather sensible) Krav Maga principle; avoid injuries.

It’s not about training hard for lethality, it’s about training smart to get the results we need. If you came to class to “kill” there’s a good chance you won’t last; either someone will put you in your place or you will be kicked out.

So, let’s discuss.

Whenever I hear about this myth one of my favorite Israeli sayings comes to mind:

אַתָה חָי בְּסֶרֶט

Which says, “Ata Chai be Ceret” or “Are you living in a movie?” (in the masculine) While this phrase actually translates quite well into English it still doesn’t have the same impact as it does in Hebrew. In English you could say “You are crazy,” “You are delusional,” “You are living in a fantasy,” etc…

The logical fallacy of this myth is easy to point out: If everyone who ever trained Krav Maga did so in a lethal fashion, everyone would be dead and no one would actually be training it!

Or, if the process of training it was too lethal then the Israeli Army, the IDF, would not have been around to defend anyone. A great general (or even a good one) would be wiser than to kill off his best warriors in training.

This logic is fairly simple, yet some people still live in a fantasy land or spend too much time perusing the depths of the Internet (like random Reddit sub forums, a place I never really understood).

Yes, Krav Maga is a style deeply rooted in life-or-death situations and it trains for potential deadly encounters. This however, is true for any martial art that started with self-defence or practical combat in mind. (At least, it should be, otherwise what is the point?) Thus it is a relatively safe assumption that all styles started as violence-vs-danger. Krav Maga, being more modern, has yet to fall prey to the current trend to water down a system for sporting and marketing purposes.

The need to defend oneself physically has been around since we, as humans, realized there were threats all around us. Once we became self-aware we needed more than simple nervous system responses to protect us, in particular from other humans. This is why self-defence systems, martial arts styles, and combat tactics were developed globally. They were all rooted in the need to better defend oneself in order to survive. Which means all styles started with some degree of lethality in mind, then peaceful times and sport aspirations asserted their influence.

There are many styles that are comparable to Krav Maga, where it’s simply of matter of taking out the flashy elements and ensuring that the fundamentals are (reasonably) easy to learn and apply on a consistent basis, for most people, most of the time, in most situations, with more variables allowed for than the average style.

Additionally, Krav Maga’s “lethality” comes from the training methodology, developed under duress, to allow people to train safely and be able to function under duress. We don’t train to “fight,” we train to defend ourselves, but we still need to be able to spar, and survive sparring, in order to understand how fights move, flow, and how to stay calm and react. Perhaps the notion of “lethality” here could be replaced by “efficacy.”

A system or style that, for most people, only works in the dojo or competition isn’t very practical on the street or in combat. Krav Maga remained effective for practical applications as “practical applications” came up a lot for Jews before, during, and after WWII.

However, don’t think for a second that any martial art style cannot be lethal, as it is not the system that is lethal but the person and their intentions. In the ring an MMA fighter is most likely going to beat the average Kravist, as the two train for different purposes. Plus MMA fighters certainly have the skills to be lethal on the street if they need to. Humans, after all, are just bags of water, flesh, and bone, and lots of things can kill us.

The only real difference is Krav Maga’s simplicity and ability to deal with a wide variety of situations quickly, including modern weapons and tactics. Which is bolstered by the training style, focusing on training the nervous system for the inevitable stress of a mugger, assault situation, or other life-or-death altercation. Just ask anyone who has fought in combat and fought in the ring: There is a difference.

That being said, if you find yourself training Krav Maga at a school where it feels like actual life-or-death training, and you are fearful of getting your head kicked in regularly, then your instructor is either an idiot or an asshole and knows nothing about proper Krav Maga.

So, is Krav Maga too deadly to train properly? Ata Chai be Ceret!

Written by: Jonathan Fader

For training online visit at If you are in the Metro Vancouver area, come learn with us in person, sign up at

Apply a bit of crazy to crank up your aggression and stop a threat before it stops you. (source)

I regularly encounter the belief that “if I learn Krav Maga it will make me really aggressive, because it’s just about going crazy and fighting.” Not exactly. While aggression and an understanding of how fights work are components of learning Krav Maga, these in themselves are NOT Krav Maga. Remember, Imi Licthendfeld, the founder of “modern” Krav Maga, when asked what its purpose was, said “so one may walk in peace.” Does this sound like the words of someone who wanted people running around being aggressive and messing people up? I think not.

While you certainly cannot learn Krav Maga without learning to attack with purpose and aggresion, if you think you are always going to walk into a Krav Maga class and go 100%, trying to kill each other, you are completely wrong and probably need to spend less time on the internet (or get better sources).

More accurately, Krav Maga teaches you to understand, and respect, the reality of violence, with the additional understanding that times change and so do people. Especially in a modern world in which laws matter and cameras matter, making self-defence more complicated, you need to have a more holistic approach to your Krav Maga.

So let’s expand.

Yes, being aggressive is a fundamental of Krav Maga. However, we aren’t talking about aggression in personality or attitude in everyday life, what we mean is, when forced to, you must attack with everything you have in order to overwhelm the threat, and you don’t stop until the threat is stopped. Though it probably isn’t the original expression Kravists used, we like to sum it up as “crazy beats big.” Or rather, the person willing to do greater violence with greater ferocity (while applying wise tactics) is most likely to win any given fight. We also have to remember that Krav Maga came out of a need for survival in a literal life or death situation. Of course, if you are in a life or death situation with another human then, by all means, have at it; be as aggressive and as violent as you need until the threat is stopped, even if that, unfortunately, means lethal force.

The thing is, unless you are in such a situation (ideally avoided via the first two stages of self-defence), then being so aggressive that they die is going to result in dire consequences legally, emotionally, socially, etc.. The days of going full on in all situations are basically over in most places (at least in the Western World) and the reason is simple: Accountability.

How so? As one of my many teachers Amit Himelstein of IKF said, and I’m paraphrasing, “Guys, it’s the 21st century, Krav Maga can’t be about being insanely aggressive anymore; everyone has cameras or there are cameras everywhere.”

This means that if you are overzealous in your violence somebody probably saw it or it was filmed. Best case scenario it’s on YouTube, worst case scenario you are in jail for the rest of your life (or worse depending on where you are).

The reality is our modern societies have modern laws and modern social standards.

Let’s take Canada for example, our self-defence laws are as such that you may employ “equal force” in the moment to stop a threat. Now, in theory this is simple, but, in practice, when looking at the results in a range of court cases, you might as well flip a coin. Cases I thought were clearly self-defence ended in a guilty verdict, and cases I deemed aggravated assault were came out not guilty.

The truth is the jury process really isn’t about peers, it’s simply about citizens, who, on average, are not experts on use of force and have little understanding of how violence works. That is, sometimes you need to be more violent than onlookers may think; because they aren’t the target of the threat itself and therefore cannot feel the actions or resistance of the aggressor, or grasp what’s going on for you internally.

It means that, in reality, you actually need to be very careful how much force and aggression you use, which can be quite difficult without significant training.

If your default is always be super aggressive and destroy the attacker, (especially for men, even more so larger men) you may find yourself regularly on the wrong side of the law. Even if you, and others, feel you were in the right, based on actual knowledge of use of force and self-defence.

I am going to tell a story about an “alleged” student I once had: They came in and were quite aggressive, to the point that all the instructors and students complained. I asked this student about it and they told me “but Krav Maga is all about aggression and that if they weren’t being aggressive in class then it wasn’t Krav Maga.” This individual is the only person I can recall to whom I’ve had to give a written warning and probation (most people who don’t fit the style of the school just leave on their own.) I told them they had to train safely or they would be out. They kind of disappeared until the probation period was over and came back thinking it was lifted. I guess they didn’t understand how it worked. From what I’ve heard they ended up bouncing around a few Krav Maga schools that I know. One day I got a visit from one of the more serious police squads. It seems this individual may have not have gotten the hint, or may have just been a psycho, and may have stabbed someone a few years later. They claimed they learned it all in Krav Maga and that I taught them to be super aggressive. This claim, of course, was false; they were just unstable and were looking for somewhere to be violent. Which is not Krav Maga, and is certainly not “learning to walk in peace.”

While some people (psychos aside) thrive on aggressive, hard training, and only want to do Krav Maga if it is this, I must constantly remind people that this, in itself, is not Krav Maga, but rather an aspect of it.

If you only want to train because it’s hard, aggressive, and you get to go crazy, then you may in fact be missing the point.

Krav Maga is truly about learning to walk in peace, knowing you are capable of violence, if you must, but that you would rather not, in true warrior fashion. Warriors of old knew this because, once upon a time, it was always life or death, and the wrong encounter would mean your death not theirs. Or worse, a crippling injury with no medical system, which meant your family starved and you died anyway. This, perhaps, is a lesson we have lost, since it’s not all about life or death anymore, but it is one we must never forget.

So, whether it’s because our laws keep us in check, or because the wrong fight means death, just know that aggression is only one part of Krav Maga. It is meant as a tool to counter someone else’s extreme violence, not a state of being or a default.

Use your aggression along with your strategy, your technique, and your control, all while trying to avoid conflict altogether. But know that when fire meets fire, you may have to go full flame on. BUT ONLY IF YOU MUST.

Ask yourself, are you learning to be aggressive and go ham in Krav Maga, or are you actually really learning to walk in peace as Krav Maga was originally intended for?

Written by: Jonathan Fader

For training online visit at If you are in the Metro Vancouver area, come learn with us in person, sign up at

In my previous review, posted my commentary on the Fight Quest episode about Krav Maga. Here is my review of the Human Weapons (2007) episode on Krav Maga.

Personally, I enjoy Human Weapons more out of the two series, probably due to the awesome 3D graphics they employed. I also liked Fight Quest less because I really didn’t like Jimmy Smith. Either way, it is a shame that both series have been canceled after only one season each. Also, Human Weapon employs a slightly different format of experiencing the various martial arts. The hosts stay together, train together, and learn identical techniques, and I think the fact they both get the same experience is better for the show.

Timestamped Commentary

00:17 You can see them walking with Prof. Itay Gil, a former Sheyetet-13 (Navy Seals equivalent) and other units as well as a well-known counter-terrorist and Krav Maga expert. They use the term “anti-terrorist unit,” but this means nothing to me and shows that they either didn’t want to say the name or couldn’t be bothered. In reality, Israel has many anti-terrorist units and people using the terms vaguely without actually specifying the unit is a pet peeve of mine. Itay was one of the early people spreading Krav Maga and CT tactics globally and out of Israel before it even became widely known. He is also known for training IKI’s Moshe Katz.

01:00 I know that stadium well. It is an obvious landmark in Jerusalem, but I never actually went in it. I am not sure if he is still teaching to civilians there, but there is only one way to find out. Itay’s style is hyper-aggressive, to the point, and very military focused on the specific needs of what soldiers and police might need.

01:56 Enter the weapon. Even an amateur fighter could handle themselves easily against the average person in a fight, but bring in the weapons and all of a sudden they are usually not sure what to do. If you have never trained with realistic weapon attacks. all your martial arts may have been for naught.

04:14 The anti-terrorist training facility is not such a secret. I mean, if you know what its name is then you can easily find it because they have road signs for it in Israel, so they probably knew its name simply by watching the road signs on the way in. Also, when I spent my time there during sniper school, there were US Marines and units from all over the world periodically training there. So really, if you really wanted to find it you could just ask around. Not sure if that’s so secret….

04:56 It’s called bursting. This basically means putting all your energy forward into the target. To me, if your feet are in the same place they started you really didn’t burst. In Krav Maga, if you are not running away or creating space, you should be moving forward. Thus, you must start with a burst and keep moving. If your instructors always have you stationary when you drill, then either they don’t understand the concept or they are a bad instructor. Sorry, it’s another pet peeve of mine. Also, it should be noted that you should be hitting the face not the chest, but I am sure they did it they way they did so as to protect the actors.

06:31 As you can see, they are attempting to do a combo 360 defense with their burst. However, as is common with new practitioners, they are so mentally concerned about getting away from the knife that they screw up the technique. They are usually moving out and sideways before they have actually completed a full burst, which diminishes its effectiveness. I would like to also add this builds bad muscle memory when done like this as you cannot always run immediately, often bursting means moving forward to control the weapon arm and if your reflex is always to hit and run, you may be in trouble in the times you cannot run.

07:26 IKMF is originally founded in 1996 by Eyal Yanilov and others prior to Imi’s death, probably because they were pissed off by the succession by Haim Gideon. Anyway, it is now run by Avi Moyal who ousted Eyal in the late 2000’s. Eyal left and created KMG. You have to love the Israeli and Krav Maga politics… I also originally started with IKMF, but due to a difference in opinions let’s say, we left IKMF.

07:36 Hey, look! There is Eyal before he left. That’s how old this show is. He is widely seen as the true protege for Imi. Also, you saw Avi Moyal a little earlier in the clip.

07:55 As you can see, they are doing a pressure drill. In Krav Maga, you avoid the ground and do not stay on the ground, so drills like this force people to be aggressive under pressure in order to get off the ground. Although, this circle looks kind of tame…

09:02 If I am not mistaken, that is Zeev Cohen with whom I have never trained, but I know several people who have. From what I have heard, he is widely considered one of the top instructors and practitioners in the Krav Maga world. As far as I know, he operates his own school under his own name/brand but is more affiliated with KMG these days as he followed Eyal after his ousting.

09:20 Crowd control work for VIP protection. It is situations like this that people usually hire giants for their body guards. Though outside of these situations, giants are not always the best, just saying.

09:50 As you can see, they are practicing the 360 block. Really, this needs to be combined with bursting. I like the drill they are showing, but only when explaining why it’s called 360 and if people are having trouble with the block section. I would much rather teach it in full with the burst so as to build proper reactive muscle memory. If you are static due to muscle memory caused by these drills during an aggressive knife attack, you will have a hard time dealing with it. I personally feel part of the reason some organizations claim that 360 is not a good technique is because they are not teaching it properly in the first place. It is a simple and effective technique when taught and trained properly, but I see people messing it up all over the internet. Pet Peeve. Did you notice I have a lot?

12:00 These choke attacks may not be common for everyone and thus a lot of places don’t like to teach them. However, they are very common in large person versus small person self-defense situations, such as domestic violence, and should not be ignored. Would I attack any one like that? Probably not. I know better, but I hate it when I hear people say that “Nobody attacks like that.” They do, even if you have not seen it before.

12:20 Someone who is grabbing the trachea with force to crush it using only one hand probably has some idea about what they are doing. Most people are just targeting the neck in general, but if they are targeting the trachea specifically, you had better react fast if you don’t want to die.

13:00 This is actually one option in this scenario that I still teach. However, I teach two others as well because, due to body shapes and sizes as well as varying situations, sometimes having one option is not good enough. All options work just fine when they suit the person and situation, but sometimes one is better than the other even though the other is preferred. As much as possible, we try to limit the move to just one option, but again due to the variables in attacks, sometimes people need a couple options. For example, you can see that plucking relies heavily on speed to work.

14:14 You can tell this is old. The IDF largely uses the Micro Tavor now. When I was in the army, they were still trying to convince SF operators to use the regular Tar 21 which is what I used. I would take the Micro Tavor though over either, but the M4 over the Tar 21 Tavor any day.

14:28 He pronounced the name wrong, just so you know. Also, they are a bit dramatic by saying they are going to armageddon. It’s actually a really nice area full of farmlands and hills. I know since I lived in Kibbutz Ein-Ha-Shofet just around the corner for most of my time off base in Israel. Though, I should really have moved to the city because, well, Jonathan Fader and socialist communists don’t really mesh. Look up “Kibbuts” for more info, although a Kibbutz is a good example of why socialism fails because they rely on capitalism in order to survive. Go figure.

14:40 Ok, you can just skip over this section. If you didn’t know, Moni Aizik is a fraud and was never actually in any “Commando” units as a combat soldier. He was allegedly a paper pusher in one of the bases. Also, he was only ever a Judoka as far as I know. He has been widely discredited since this show and I am fairly sure he is wanted in several countries for fraud or other things though I couldn’t tell you what. Unfortunately, some people still pay money to train with this fool. Not to mention a lot of the techniques he teaches are quite laughable.

18:00 Ok, for the last f***ing time, Wingate is not the main base of the IDF. For the most part, it is a private sports institute that happens to have a military base on in and, yes, a lot of physical tests and the general program for Krav Maga is run out of it. And yes, back in the day it is where Imi and others taught out of but that was many many years ago. It is not this main amazing crazy place that so many people claim it is. There is a hill I mentioned in the Fight Quest post that I do hate. Personally, I went there to do fitness competitions. In addition, many of the SF pre-trial tests are done there. Also, as mentioned, the general Krav Maga training program is there where instructors take a 6 week or so program to teach IDF Krav Maga to soldiers. So, if this is the only training that IDF KM instructors have in KM, it means not all of them are very good unless they trained as a civilian previously. It is a fairly nice base though as IDF bases go as its right on the mediteranian. and NO every israeli citizen does not go to Wingate for Basic trainging, I sure as hell didnt. I was stuck in the Negev Desert…..

19:21 To be honest, I have no idea who Shahar Klafeld is so perhaps someone can enlighten me. He looks like a Miloeemik or reservist doing his annual duty. If thats the case they didnt take the show very seriously. Also head instructor is relative if they always change them.

20:00 Personally, I don’t teach the butt hit anymore as you are not controlling the muzzle. As far as I am aware neither do a lot of people. I simply use magazine and the barrel from different angles. I also don’t teach people to hit wildly again due to muzzle control, which if you are not aware is a key part of firearms safety.

23:15 By the way, that gear is the crappiest available. Again, they weren’t giving them anything frilly. At least they gave them new unifroms. Also, I like this drill but it could have been much better but again due to safety when firearms are involved you can’t go too crazy or else someone might end up with a barrel in their eye. By the way being hit in the face with a barrel is not fun, as I can attest.

25:01 What is saying is great. Let the trainig and reaction take over. Because under stress you can’t think you need to just do. This is why it’s so important to build the correct reactions to calm situations. It’s better to practice slowly and correctly than quickly and incorrectly because this trains your body how to move properly.

25:49 Massada is one of my favourite places in Israel. So much history and also known for the famous pre-sunrise hike. If you go to Israel and don’t go to Massada then you didn’t really visit Israel.

26:19 It should be noted that while Dennis Hanover is an AMAZING martial artist, self defense expert and overall combative expert, he isn’t technically doing Krav Maga even if he is teaching a lot of the same things. This is mainly due to the fact he has an immense martial arts back ground, but really doesn’t come from the traditional Krav Maga lineage. Either way though, I would not mess with him as he clearly trains to kill and is proficient in most hand-held weapons. I also love the way this guy moves, there’s just something about being a true master.

31:12 It’s true that the heat in the Jordanian Valley is quite annoying. If you want to experience different types of heat then simply travel all over Israel in the summer. Hot in the Jordanian Valley is a whole different kind of hot.

31:19 This is more Kyokushin style training, but I support it periodically. It allows people to condition their body and really push themselves physically. Of course, if you do it too much, it tends to lower your guard from protecting the head, which is a bad habit. You must always train sparring with head shots (of course, with protective head gear) and occasionally do this kind of sparring. It may also be a section in some of UTKMs belt tests.

33:03 As you can see, some people have their faces covered, this means they are SF and cannot be seen on camera. Again, they are on Israels Central CT base, though I still say it’s not so secret anymore. Also, people really need to stop using the term commando as a general term as it really means nothing other than SF, but doesn’t specify the unit. It is likely that these are members of CT707 the same unit that Nir Maman served it. However, as many SF units train out of this base you really cannot be certain.

34:30 For example, these guys who are sparring could be Matkal, Sheyetet-13, Shaldag or any other top tear unit, but you really cannot know. See how it mostly focuses on aggression and engagement?

36:44 I wonder if this is actually how they decided. I mean, its generally obvious who has the better skill. It’s usually Jason, but Bill does get in sometimes.

39:00 These circles are great. We use them is some of our testings. If your school has never put you in a similar circle, tell them it’s time to up the ante. Though, please do them safely. Although, Jason has a tendency to go to the ground too often. I think it’s his MMA training coming in, but with knives, you rarely want to go down to the ground since you’ll get cut for sure. Also, I really think they are going easy on him. Either way again, even after going through a week of training, you can tell he is reverting to what he knows. Also, he probably would have been dead from the second knife attack. Overall, these circles are great for training people for the unexpected when you are tired. You really never know who is going to attack and when.


For the most part, the guys in Human Weapons trained a little bit more with the military Krav Maga organizations and a little less with civilian ones probably because of Itay Gil. While both military and civilian Krav Maga organizations are very good, a truly great Krav Maga organization or program should provide both military and civilian aspects of training. Military Krav Maga is generally more focused on conditioning, aggression, and mental toughness, while civilian Krav Maga spends more time developing technical prowess and correct reflexes. Again, both are important with regards to being a good Krav Maga practitioner.

Also, like the Fight Quest episode, I would really like to emphasis how much BS is out there regarding both Krav Maga and the IDF. I know so many people who don’t have a clue what they are talking about when it comes to the IDF or Krav Maga. Always do your research and don’t be easily impressed just by titles alone.