So you want to compare Krav Mega to other martial arts? Well, let me share with you my training session in Krav Maga. I hold a black belt in Moore's Shou Shu chinese martial arts.
Here is my impression of Krav Maga after first training session. But before I start, allow me to tell you a little about myself. At age 18, I trained with Okinawa-Te karate. Like many, I was happy with my training, and I did well because of sparing session that we had (no, not full contact). During sparing we continued fighting even if we ended up on the ground. Through that experience I learned how to position and move my body against another physical force.
Three years later I relocated and was unable to continue my training. At age 35, I decided to begin training and started with Moore’s Chinese Martial arts.
Now I’m realizing that my current school (Moore’s karate) is much better than my previous training; because a lot more focus is placed on the mechanical body movements. For example, the appropriate hip rotation for the strike, floating foot, the drive from the supporting leg, etc., all add up to magnify the impact of the strike.
My cousin asked that I try Krav Maga, and one night (for the first time) I visited and participated in a Krav Maga class. During the class, students were asked to pair up; each team member took turns holding a bag for hand and knee strikes. We started the training session with a set of driving left jabs, then moved on to a driving left jab and a right cross combo. Then we followed into jab, jab, cross. During the class the instructor was focusing on the importance of driving and striking hard.
Then we moved into knee strikes to the mid section similar to the way kick boxer or mao-tai practitioner would execute it.
Next we moved to an escape against a front choke and sides choke attack (one at a time). For the front choke, we simply pulled the attacker’s arms to the side and knee them to the groin. For the side choke we use one hand to pull of of the attacker's hand away, meanwhile throwing an elbow.
We finished the night with another set of combo against a bag (left jab, right cross, front left leg wheel/round house kick).
When I attended the class, I was 37, 5′8, 175lb. My partner was 47 year old, about 6′1 over 210 (healthy and in shape). He started training in Krav Maga about 3 weeks prior. During our training he commented on the power of my strikes. I know that I was generating much more striking power than him (despite the size differences). My strikes were certainly one of the better ones in the class. My power was generated due to mechanics of my body movement and years of thought and practice. However, in krav maga not much was being focused on the mechanics. And considering its history and purpose, it is more important to hit as hard as you can than spend time fixing proper mechanics.
This brings me to my point. Though I was one of the hardest strikers in the class, by no means I would be crazy enough to think that I can stand a strike from any individual in the class.
The concept is simple; hit as hard as you can. Don’t worry too much about the form, and let your body figure it out. Which is why even my 3 week old partner was deliver devastating blows.
Now lets focus on the escaping choke attack. Now I saw a simple choke escape that seems versatile. Regardless of being in middle of a room or against a wall, the technique would work well. Other techniques that I know would not work well if there is a wall behind you. Then again, when it comes to it, you should be responsive and not worry about executing technique 1A; defender should explode towards his attacker! Even though my partner had difficulty escaping me from time to time, I had no trouble executing the choke escape every time. I’m sure this is due to my experience and better understanding of how to move against a body.
Even with my current experience, there are techniques that I practice in Moore’s karate that I find challenging to execute because of their complex body movements (which is not a bad thing). Are there any such complex movements in krav maga or is every move as simple as the choke escape that I saw last night!
Overall, I didn’t see anything different than my current training, other than more combination bag work during class. Which I believe it is an important element. My current training does focus more on the body mechanics for better and more transfer of energy. And learning the fine details does make a person better athelete and martial artist.
To evaluate a martial arts system by attending one class is unreasonable. But if the system holds true to what I have read and seen in one class, than I believe a person can become proficient in self defense in a shorter time than studying another form of martial arts. Perhaps, in a few years I will return and try it for 6 months to truly see its effectiveness, and if so continue from there. In the mean time I like to continue my journey, and feel that my current discipline has more to offer.
I'm not a fighter, nor have I ever been in a fight. And by no means I ever plan to challenge a Krav Maga practitioner, another martial artist, or an 18 year old punk in the street. I train hard, and hope that the right stuff will surface when the time is right.
I hope this helps the next person who is confused.