It’s one thing to learn about Israeli Krav Maga and it’s another to walk in its path. Therefore, in an ongoing quest to bring consistency and authentic knowledge to the Krav Maga, David Kahn has assembled the following glossary of terms.

It’s important to note that while some defenses, tactics and scenarios will seem to be identical to those of other marital arts — all are unique. No one marital discipline should be compared or a fighting style’s respective effectiveness be seen as transferable from one to another. All disciplines (when taught properly) are unique in the way they are executed, drilled, and how they are used ‘in the moment.’ Lastly, this glossary will allow you to better understand and explore Krav Maga’s intricacies. Nothing will better prepare you than training properly with the right tools and instruction.





















































Active Shooter

Active Shooter: Someone using a firearm to actively shoot unsuspecting people (usually civilians). Motivations may be personal, a sense of injustice, politically, and/or religiously motivated.

Active Stabber

Active Stabber: Someone using an edged weapon to actively stab or slash unsuspecting people (usually civilians). Motivations may be personal, a sense of injustice, politically, and/or religiously motivated.

Adrenaline Dump

Fear arms the body to physically survive by providing protection to internal organs and a force multiplier (through adrenaline) for defensive actions. The body is adrenalized causing vasoconstriction while blood pressure increases. Hormones are immediately injected: adrenaline/nor-epinephrine and cortisol. Blood sugar levels spike along with elevated heart rate to increase blood flow for increased physical exertion capability, The body’s immune system is thrown into high gear. Endorphins are released to temporarily mitigate pain. Hormone levels (cortisol) are affected by high stress, impairing memory. Hence, the importance of an instinctive/conditioned response for self-defense. Instinctive (re)action harnesses adrenaline.

Alan Feldman

Alan Feldman (senior Krav Maga blackbelt) is one the original martial arts instructors who received a scholarship to train in Israel in an intensive program to harvest American instructors. Alan began teaching Krav Maga in the Philadelphia area in 1981. Alan is certified by the ministry of education in Israel and is one of the highest ranking American instructors. Training directly under Krav Maga founder, Imi Lichtenfeld, and his top ranked instructors, Alan has taught thousands of civilians in numerous schools, colleges, organizations, and agencies in addition to founding the first privately owned Krav Maga school. A member of the Israeli Krav Maga Association and recognized as a senior black belt instructor, Alan is committed to the proper expansion of the system in the U.S. and around the world and has qualified several American instructors. Over the years Alan was featured in many publications and was most recently interviewed by NBC Channel 3 News, Philadelphia.


Surprising an opponent.

Five elements comprised within:

  1. When an ambush is executed, the victim is usually distracted, complacent, outnumbered, or caught in a state of maximum unpreparedness (“-5”).
  2. The chances of escape for the victim are minimized or nonexistent as the attacker has chosen the site and circumstances.
  3. The attacker often acts from concealment or closes on the unwitting victim.
  4. The attacker affords himself the chance and avenue for escape.
  5. The attacker possesses the intent—and usually the capability—to physically dominate the victim.

Anatomical Targeting: Israeli Krav Maga

A key tenet of Krav Maga is to attack whatever targets the opponent presents. The kravist learns to laser in on these anatomical targets of opportunity. Within the range of possible targets are anatomical points that yield especially effective results—maximum effect. Some of Krav Maga’s emphasized anatomical targets:

  • Eyes. A light finger whip to the eye can cause watering and temporary blinding. A thrusting attack with a finger can crush an eyeball or dislodge it from its socket. In addition to intense pain, blinding an assailant provides easier access for other attacks and allows you to get away. Because strikes to the eyes can be fatal, only use them if the threat warrants this type of defense.
  • The throat. A punch, chop, or other strike to the throat can cause severe damage or death. In addition, strangulation can result in a loss of consciousness or death. You can grab and squeeze the wind pipe to deprive the brain of oxygen or crush it by a strike.
  • The sides and back of the neck. You can target the sides of the neck with “blood chokes”. This compresses the carotid artery in the neck that supplies oxygen to the brain. If you restrict blood flow with a stranglehold, one’s assailant will lose consciousness in a few seconds. This type of hold differs from a stranglehold to the throat, which restricts air passage through the windpipe and may take longer to render an opponent unconscious. Prolonged constriction of the blood vessels and cutting of breathing can also result in death.
  • The testicles. As you may already know, the testicles are a particularly vulnerable part of a male’s anatomy, making them an obvious target for kicks, knees, and hand strikes. A strong blow to this area will result in debilitating pain and could damage the urinary bladder, resulting in internal bleeding, or a fatal blood clot. Although a groin strike is one the most effective combatives, an opponent can experience a significant adrenaline surge before the pain registers and still continue an attack.
  • Vulva. The female vulva is also highly sensitive to any kind of strike and, similarly, will cause significant pain.
  • Temples. Just above one’s jaw joint, the temples form the thinnest part of the skull and house a sensitive nerve center. Because the brain is the least protected by the skull at the temples, a strike here can produce hemorrhaging. Deliver a strike to the temple with a protruding knuckle or point-like weapon of opportunity such as a cell-phone or pen. As noted with eye strikes, a temple strike can be fatal and should only be used as a last resort.
  • Base of the skull. Striking here can create shock, concussion, paralysis or death because the brainstem is located here.
  • The nose. The nose is extremely fragile and may be attacked with a number strikes including punches, hammer fists, ridge-hand, palm heel, elbows and headbutts. (You’ll learn more about such strikes in upcoming chapters.) You can easily break the nose with a high kick to the face or a knee jab while an opponent is standing or on the ground. Breaking an opponent’s nose can be debilitating, but a determined attacker can continue to fight despite the pain, blood, and watery eyes. You can also lift the nose (philtrum) at the nostrils to pull or push the head back to create separation from an assailant or expose the throat to further strikes. A strike to the nose, depending on the angle, can also be lethal.
  • The ears. Boxing the ears will stun an opponent by throwing off the ear’s inner equilibrium. A concussion from an eardrum rupture results when the large inner canal suffers trauma. Located behind the ear is the mastoid (jaw bone) that when struck hard, disrupts the opponent’s equilibrium.
  • The chin, jaw, and mouth. A blow to the chin can disorient an opponent by literally shaking his brain. A chin or jaw strike may result in a knock-out by rattling the brain against the skull wall and producing localized brain damage. In addition, the jaw is flush with nerve centers that are vulnerable to punches, palm heels, elbows or a head-level kick. The mouth is vulnerable to these types of attacks, too, but keep in mind that a mouth strike is likely to hit the teeth. By their nature, the teeth are sharp and can damage one’s fist, risking infection and blood poisoning.
  • Clavicles. A sharp blow here can break the clavicle, preventing one’s assailant from using his arms. You can also insert one’s fingers into the hollow between the bones and yank down forcefully to break the clavicle.
  • The ribs. These bones form a protective yet fragile cage around the lungs. A sharp blow such as punch, kick, or knee can break the ribs, especially the floating ribs that have no direct attachment to the sternum. Broken ribs are extremely painful and if a rib is broken with enough force it can puncture a lung.
  • Small of the back. The central nerves of the body branch out from the base of the spine close to the surface of the small of the back.
  • The kidneys. Located just above the small of the back, the kidneys are susceptible to damage from a blow such as a punch, chop, knee or kick. In addition to acute pain, kidney failure may result.
  • The solar plexus. You can strike centrally above the naval and below the sternum to damage the liver or rupture the gall bladder, resulting in severe internal bleeding.
  • The knees, elbows, and other joints. You can dislocate and fracture almost any joint in the body with a sharp blow or forceful counter-movement against the joint’s natural articulation. You can also manipulate joints to subdue one’s attacker.
  • The thigh, shin, and foot. The top of the foot is especially vulnerable to a stomp with the heel, which may fracture many of the small bones. You can twist or break an ankle with a downward stomp, especially if the opponent is perched on the ball of his foot and the stomp is delivered to the Achilles.
  • Hair. You can grip one’s opponent’s hair to immobilize the head or expose the throat for attack. You can do so by sliding one hand through the hair with the fingers wide apart. Once the hair is between the spread fingers, close one’s hand into a tight fist and forcefully pull at the scalp to create a strong grip and inflict significant pain. Yank longer hair, especially when in a ponytail, in one direction or another to set up a throat strike.

Arimi “Clothesline” Strike

The Arimi “clothesline” strike is a powerful inner forearm strike using the radial bone targeting the opponent’s throat, neck, or nose.


For ground survival Israeli Krav Maga uses a few simple armbars that enable a kravist to dislocate an opponent’s elbow or worse. To damage or break a joint, you simply force the joint in a direction it is not evolutionarily designed to go. Joints move in six basic directions, including extension, flexion, supination, pronation, adduction and abduction. To inflict maximum damage with an armbar, place as much distance as possible between the applied force (one’s grip) and the fulcrum (one’s inner thigh). The opponent’s arm is the lever. The goal is to damage the opponent’s elbow ligaments and tendons by forcing the elbow joint to bend beyond its natural anatomical limits. A forcibly applied Straight Armbar stands a strong chance of dislocating the elbow.

Armbar: Variations

  • Basic – one’s opponent his flat on his back and you have achieved a cross position by securing his targeted arm tightly between one’s legs. Keep one’s hips close to his body by positioning one’s thigh above his elbow. Squeeze one’s knees together to further isolate the joint’s movement and push down on the ground with one’s heels. Clasp the opponent’s arm tightly, lean back while simultaneously extending one’s hips up for breaking pressure.
  • Scissors – crossing one’s legs can be used when one’s opponent is lying flat, trying to stand, or turning on his stomach. Locking one’s legs together provides powerful leg pincers to extend one’s hips and torso together to exert breaking pressure.
  • L-brake – after securing the opponent’s arm, insert one’s far side leg in front of his face firmly pushing his head away with one’s shin. This also allows for one’s free leg to deliver devastating heel kicks to the head.
  • Armbar feint – from the mount you appear to focus on barring one arm and begin the initial movement of turning one’s body, but, switching directions and target the opposite arm will catch one’s opponent off-guard.

Arm-bar Defenses

  • Basic Defense: The basic defense against the arm-bar at the most elemental level is to prevent the opponent from grabbing and securing you arm.
  • Stacking Defense: A second compression defense against the attacker is used if you find oneself in a kneeling or standing position in the opponent’s guard with one’s arm caught between the attacker’s legs.
  • Buying Time Defense: A third less preferred defense is a backward roll over the shoulder of one’s trapped arm, however, you must do this decisively because one’s opponent can easily reposition himself to continue the attack.

Awareness Methods

The Israeli Krav Maga curriculum places heavy emphasis on the ability to recognize, avoid, and/or preempt physical conflicts. Developing recognition of pre-violence indicators along with impending attacks is instrumental to Krav Maga. The obvious and best solution is to remove yourself from the situation before an impending attack can take place. Generally, human behavior is overwhelmingly predictable. Therefore, you must identify what are normal human behavior patterns and what are anomalous behavior displays. Someone, for example, constantly looking over his shoulder should merit enhanced scrutiny. Or, as another example, an unknown person trying to subtly get close to you warrants immediate attention. Further, you need to distinguish what is crucial information versus what is non-crucial.

  • Awareness. Recognition of an impending attack/threat obviously affords the greatest reaction time for the following seriatim solutions: (a) avoidance, (b) de-escalation, (c) escape, and (d) counterviolence. Always trust your instincts and intuition including things you saw, heard, felt or smelled—all your senses—the things your subconscious brain intakes and processes faster than your conscious mind can keep up. Importantly, only a minimal amount of threatening behavioral information is enough for you to put your defenses on high alert.
  • Constantly survey your surroundings. Keep in mind that when you are mentally focused or consumed with something such as a thought or having a conversation, you are apt to lose focus on your surroundings. When you are observing, remember also not to use single-point focus. Rather, make maximum use of your peripheral vision combining it with a slight head swivel to see your 270 to 360-degree blind spots. Do not stare at people who may concern you; be subtle with your observations. Human eyes tend to focus on the obvious for good reason, but a seasoned observer will begin to look in, around, and between obvious concerns to survey an entire scene.

Awareness Levels: Krav Maga Six

[0] – Definition forthcoming

[-1] – Definition forthcoming

[-2] – Definition forthcoming

[-3] – Definition forthcoming

[-4] – Definition forthcoming

[-5] – Definition forthcoming

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Related to a Hammerfist, a fighter uses an outside clubbing movement to strike the opponent either with the fleshy underside of the fist or, alternatively, with the top two knuckles of a fist’s backside.


The ability to maintain one’s balance or stability along with fluid movement.

Balls of the feet

The defender should remain on the balls of the feet to move in any direction from any kind of stance.

Ball of the foot

When delivering a straight or roundhouse kick, the padding of the foot by curling the toes upward is used to make impact.


When delivering a kick, this is the leg used to pivot and slide to generate power while supporting the body upright.

Bear Hug

An opponent wraps his arms around the defender’s torso or both arms and torso from the rear or the front effectively hugging the defender.

Belt Rank: Israeli Krav Maga

Level 1: Yellow Belt — Approved testing after nine months*
Core fundamental expectations** for yellow belt students are as follows (but not limited to):

  • Stance and Footwork
  • Hooks; punches; strikes and kicking
  • Mental preparation and spatial orientation
  • Basic ground survival
  • Basic throws
  • Weapons of opportunity
  • Basic retzev

Level 2: Orange Belt — Approved testing after 24 months
Core fundamental expectations* for orange belt students are as follows (but not limited to):

  • Intermediate hooks; punches; elbows; strikes; kicking and boxing
  • Closing on an opponent
  • Weapon attack defense(s)
  • Submissions and takedowns
  • Intermediate ground survival
  • Intermediate throws
  • Intermediate retzev

Level 3: Green Belt — Approved testing after 36-42 months
Core fundamental expectations* for green belt students are as follows (but not limited to):

  • Advanced hooks; punches; elbows; strikes; kicking; boxing and wrestling
  • Impact weapon attack defense(s)
  • Edged weapon defenses leg range
  • Advanced submissions and takedowns
  • Multiple attackers
  • Head attacks
  • Advanced ground survival
  • Advanced throws
  • Advanced retzev

Level 4: Blue Belt — Approved testing after 60-66 months
Core fundamental expectations* for blue belt students are as follows (but not limited to):

  • Increased complexity and control with cumulative training
  • Critical ground survival
  • Timing and body defense
  • Law enforcement control holds
  • Edged weapon defenses hand range
  • Full motion defenses

Level 5: Brown and Black Belt — Approved testing for brown belt 96 months and blackbelt invitation only
Complete understanding of* for brown and black belt students are as follows (but not limited to):

  • More complexity and control of all cumulative training
  • High degree of fighting ability and efficiency
  • Close range techniques
  • Fighting a trained adversary
  • Advanced edged and impact weapon defenses
  • Multiple attackers armed and on the ground
  • High impact mental preparation
  • Firearm defenses

*Testing approval is different for everyone and is highly dependent upon attendance, aptitude, attitude and overall proficiency
**In all circumstances per belt there are (literally) hundreds of additional moves; tactics; mindsets and programming (many of which are the intellectual property of the IKMA) that we insist upon. Shown here is a base foundation for glossary education only. In most all cases of these core fundamentals there’s the defense to each taught per belt rank.

Redbelt — The highest krav maga rank (Grandmaster) currently held by Grandmaster Haim Gidon


For optimum effect, cant one’s head to use the incisors to tear the attacker’s flesh. Biting may be the default tactic when you are choked or grabbed in such a way that no other combative is available. Remember, the Krav Maga curriculum emphasizes using whatever means are at one’s disposal to defeat an attack.

Boaz Aviram

Boaz Aviram is the third in lineage of Israeli Defense Force Fighting Fitness Academy Krav Maga instructors, specializing in teaching the most advanced Krav Maga applications to special operations units, and conducting Krav Maga Instructor’s training program certification. He has taught security personnel of the Israel Aviation Authority, as well as numerous US and European federal and local law enforcement agencies. He is certified by Israel’s Wingate National Sports Institute as a Krav Maga Senior Instructor, and a coach.

Body Defense

Evading an attack (usually a strike of some sort) by moving one’s body away or off the line. Note, a body defense does not involve a deflection of an attack. 

Body Shovel Punch

The Body Shovel Punch targets the stomach or internal organs. The hip rotation is similar to a straight punch.

Body Strike

As you strike, move the entire body in concert to use one’s entire torso. As you propel all of one’s strength and body weight through the strike, you’ll maximize one’s strike’s impact.


Brace/Brakes:  A position on the ground where the defender rolls slightly onto his side to place his bottom leg’s heel on the opponent and his top leg’s shin to push the opponent away to create distance or kick the opponent.  The position prevents the opponent from gaining a mount or maneuvering between the defender’s legs (sexual assault.)

Bratislava, Slovakia (1939); Czechoslovakia (today)

Imi Lichtenfeld’s home town where he began to develop Krav Maga.

Breathe while striking

Exhale as you deliver the strike. Some people like to use a blood-curdling cry as they strike. Either technique—the cry or exhale–will prepare one’s body for both delivering a strike and receiving a strike. Exhaling facilitates oxygen transfer to one’s muscles, tempers one’s movements to keep you in control, and creates a vacuum to defend against a counter-strike.

Bucket Takedown (Te Guruma)

The Bucket Takedown or Te Guruma is a potent takedown that allows you to strike the opponent’s groin from the rear, while dropping him face down onto the ground. This technique can be used as a follow-up to many techniques, including an outside block against a hook or the sliding punch defense.

Building Block Learning Process

Learn one elemental technique at a time and then build on it over time.

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Carjacking Defenses

Krav Maga defenses against carjackers with firearms follow the system’s core disarming principles. A few essential scenarios begin to develop the Krav Maga practitioner’s training development. The key is to react and disarm having exited the vehicle and at the opportune time.


A wrist takedown forcing an adversary’s wrist to move against its natural range of motion usually combined with tsai-bake for added power. Cavaliers are designed to use your powerful hip muscle groups and body weight to torque an opponent’s wrist to take him down while establishing strong control over the weapon for removal. There are two types of cavaliers frequently used in Krav Maga. Cavaliers are preceded by retzev combatives against the assailant including full force strikes to the groin, neck, eyes and other vulnerable opportunistic targets.


  • Cavalier #1: This powerful takedown places enormous pressure on an opponent’s wrist forcing him down to the ground while placing strong control of the weapon. If necessary, you can follow up with a strong kick to the head, midsection, or groin along with an arm-bar or wristlock to remove the weapon.
  • Cavalier #2: Cavalier #2 is used when you have wrapped up the opponent’s weapon arm from the inside such as when using an instinctive defense to defend an underhand edged weapon attack. You will rotate the assailant’s hand to the inside by applying a joint lock to his shoulder and elbow. The Cavalier #2 wristlock involves moving from inside control of the edged weapon-arm by trapping the assailant’s arm across your chest.
  • Cavalier #3: Cavalier #3 is used when you have wrapped up the opponent’s weapon arm from the inside and find it easier to keep the arm wrapped and trapped to apply a wrist a lock for weapon removal. Similar to Cavalier #2, the Cavalier #3 wristlock involves moving from inside control of the edged weapon arm by trapping the assailant’s arm across your chest.

Choke Holds

In Krav Maga parlance, there are two types of Choke Holds, known respectively as “air chokes” and “blood chokes.”

  • Air Chokes cut off the oxygen supply to the brain by preventing air from refilling the lungs.
  • Blood Chokes or strangulation techniques stop the flow of blood by constricting the carotid artery and jugular veins on the sides of the neck that carry oxygenated and deoxygenated blood.

Choke Holds: Rear

  • Blade of the Forearm Choke: Blade of the Forearm Choke applies crushing pressure to the opponent’s windpipe, depriving his brain of oxygen by the pressure of the radius or blade of the forearm.
  • Crook of the Elbow Choke: The Crook of the Elbow Choke or “V Choke” applies pressure to the opponent’s carotid sheath on both sides of the neck, occluding blood flow to his brain.
  • Professional Rear Naked Choke: The blade of the forearm and bicep apply pressure to the opponent’s carotid sheath on both sides of the neck, stopping blood flow to his brain.

Choke Holds: Standing/Side

  • Standing Triangle Choke (Kata Gatame) The Standing Triangle Choke or Kata Gatame is a choke when trapping the opponent’s raised arm against his carotid.
  • Standing Professional Underneath Choke: The Standing Professional Underneath Choke may be used when the opponent’s level is down using a underneath figure 4 “vise grip” similar to the Rear Naked Professional choke.

Choke Holds: Principle Collar Chokes

  • Cross Collar Choke: a choke when one collar is secured and the choker uses the other arm to secure the opponent’s collar to punch across thereby executing a choke.
  • Knuckles Choke: a choke when both collars are secured and the choker uses both hands’ knuckles to press against the carotid sheaths thereby executing a choke.
  • Thumbs-in Choke: a choke when both collars are secured and the choker uses both hands’ thumbs to press against the carotid sheaths thereby executing a choke.
  • Single Wing Choke: a choke from the rear when the choker traps the opponent’s arm while securing one collar and wrenching the garment across the neck thereby executing a choke.
  • “X” Choke Palms Facing: a choke when the choker reaches into the opponent’s collar crossing his arms with his palms facing himself to twist and wrenching the garment across the throat thereby executing a choke.
  • “X” Choke One Palm Away Other Palm Facing: a choke when the choker reaches into the opponent’s collar crossing his arms with one palms facing himself and the other to twist and wrenching the garment across the throat thereby executing a choke.
  • Forearm Choke: a choke when the choker secures the opponent’s collar and forces his forearm against the attacker’s windpipe and compresses it thereby executing a choke.
  • Wrap-around Choke: a choke from the rear when the choker reaches around the front of the opponent’s collar to loop and wrench the garment across the throat thereby executing a choke.

Choke Holds: on the Ground

  • Rear Naked Choke: Similar to a standing rear naked choke, the choker’s arm wraps around the opponent’s neck while the support arm folds behind to create a vise cutting off the brain’s blood supply. Several grip variations are preferred depending on one’s build.
  • Ground Triangle Choke (Kata Gatame Variation): The Ground Triangle Choke or Kata Gatame is similar to one’s standing Triangle Choke tactic; however, it is even more powerful, because you can use one’s body weight and gravity to aid you in the choke.
  • Triangular Leg Choke with Combatives: Triangular leg chokes are an extremely powerful combative utilizing one’s strongest muscle groups and core strength against an opponent’s vulnerable neck

Choke Hold Releases

Krav Maga emphasizes instantaneous chokehold releases by relying on the body’s natural instincts to immediately pluck at a choking implement which is combined with a simultaneous or near simultaneous counter-attack.

Choke Releases: Front

Krav Maga’s choke defenses build on instinct and are particularly illustrative of Imi’s practical approach to self-defense. Most people, for example, will reach for their throats when choking on a piece of food. Similarly, if a garment is too tight around one’s neck, you will automatically pull down on the constricting material to give one’s self breathing room.

  • Front Choke Release #1: Pluck and use a modified #1 or horizontal elbow to release the attacker’s hands followed by immediate counterattacks.
  • Front Choke Release #2: Pluck and use an inside eye gouge or linear strike to release the attacker’s hands followed by immediate counterattacks.
  • Front Choke Release #3: Use a double pluck while simultaneously kneeing or delivering a shin kick to the attacker’s groin.

Choke Releases: Side

Krav Maga’s choke defenses again build on instinct and are particularly illustrative of Imi’s practical approach to self-defense.

  • Side Choke Release #1: Pluck and use a modified #1 or horizontal elbow to release the attacker’s hands followed by immediate counterattacks.
  • Side Choke Release #2: Pluck and use an inside eye gouge or linear strike to release the attacker’s hands followed by immediate counterattacks.
  • Close Side Choke Release: Pluck and use a groin strike followed by a #7 vertical elbow strike.

Choke Releases: Rear Hand

Krav Maga’s choke defenses again build on instinct and are particularly illustrative of Imi’s practical approach to self-defense.

  • Rear Hand Choke Release: Double pluck and use a modified #1 or horizontal elbow to release the attacker’s hands followed by immediate counterattacks.
  • Rear Choke with Push Forward Release: Takes natural motion into account by stepping forward to clear the attacker’s hands and counterattack.
  • Rear Choke with Pull Release: Turns 180° into attacker to release hold and counterattack.

Choke Releases: Rear Arm

  • Rear Arm Release #1: Uses a reverse cross step to break the hold turning the defender into the attacker to counterattack.
  • Rear Arm Release #2: Uses a modified osoto gari takedown to release the hold and send the attacker hard to the ground.


The Chop is a strong combative that can be utilized on whatever opening one’s opponent gives you, especially the carotid artery, windpipe, throat, neck, and nose. It may also be employed to target internal organs such as the kidneys, spleen, and liver.

There are two basic types of chops:

  1. Inward Chops
  2. Outside Chops

Chop Front and Rear Chop Combinations: A highly effective combination involves an Outside Chop followed by an immediate Inside Chop targeting the same anatomy point.


In a superior clinch position, one opponent can trap the opposing opponent’s head and torso making both attack and defense difficult while maintaining his own combative options, primarily elbows, short uppercuts and hook and shovel punches, knee strikes to the groin and midsection (especially switching knees and roundhouse knee shots), locks, chokes, takedowns, and throws.

Clinching: Positions

  • Crown of the Head Clinch: This powerful combative allows you strong control of one’s opponent by clasping the crown of his skull setting you up for knees, vertical elbows guillotine chokes, and neck torquing movements. You may also gouge his eyes with one’s thumb prior to encircling his head with one’s arms.
  • Clinch Canting Opponent’s Neck: This clinch variation gives you the ability to take one’s opponent down with severe torquing pressure on the neck or a neck crank.
  • Rear Body Clinch: The rear clinch allows you to position one’s self behind one’s opponent for control and takedowns.


Clampdown: Locking down the opponent’s arm or wrist.

Clinch Defenses

Defenses against a clinch attempt, especially, when the attacker is trying to secure the defender’s head and deliver knee strikes.


Clawing: Using the fingers to scratch or gouge an opponent’s eye(s).

Closing the Body

If you are attacked unexpectedly by a hail of incoming blows to one’s head, one’s instinctive reaction will be protect one’s self by raising one’s arms to one’s head. Krav Maga builds on this natural reaction.


Any manner of strike, takedown, throw, joint lock, choke, or other offensive fighting movement.

Compound Kicks

Compound kicks use the same kicking leg epitomize economy of motion by harnessing the momentum from one kick and using it instantaneously to launch another kick.

Compound Kicks: Variations

  • Compound Straight Kick into Sidekick : A Straight Kick may be followed immediately by using the same kicking leg to deliver a devastating Sidekick to an attacker’s knee. This combination same-leg kick harnesses the straight kick’s power and natural “bounceback” from the strong contact it makes with an attacker’s groin or torso.
  • Compound Roundhouse Kick into Sidekick: A Front Roundhouse Kick against an opponent’s forward leg may be followed immediately using the same kicking leg to deliver a devastating Sidekick to the opponent’s rear knee. This combination same-leg kick harnesses the Front Roundhouse Kick’s power and natural “bounce-back” from the strong contact it makes with an attacker’s front, targeted leg.
  • Compound Kick Roundhouse Kick into Ankle Stomp: A Front Roundhouse Kick may buckle an opponent’s front leg, sending him to the ground. If the kick is powerful enough, it may drop the opponent immediately, allowing for a devastating follow-up stomp to the opponent’s exposed Achilles tendon or ankle.

Conflict Avoidance

Nonviolent conflict avoidance is always the best solution. Becoming an accomplished observer helps you resolve a situation before it fully evolves or gets out of hand. By constantly surveying your locale and its dynamics, you will notice at all times who and what surrounds you.

Walking away from a confrontation is a test of mental discipline and moral fiber. For example, if a situation involves someone taunting you, attempting to embarrass you, or assert social hierarchy, take the sensible action and walk away. Should one (correctly) walk away, be sure to disengage with a heightened sense of potential confrontation awareness. Until you are safe, continue to maintain both a mental and physical preparedness to spring into action. Extricating yourself from a potentially violent situation is both wise and pragmatic for myriad reasons including avoiding potential injury to you, your family, and to avoiding criminal and civil liability proceedings.

Use common sense, basic precautions, and a confident demeanor to minimize your chances of being targeted and assaulted. Notwithstanding these preventive measures, accept the possibility of violence targeting you. There are several types of violence including social, criminal, sociopathic, and professional. Statistically, you are most likely to face the first or second categories, social or criminal, respectively. Terrorism usually falls into a blend of the latter two categories. While you need not live in fear, denial is the most common obstacle to taking appropriate action. This is why you must be prepared if you must face down a violent situation. Sharpen your mental and physical skills so you can implement them without thinking.

Control/Escort Holds

Krav Maga uses nine different control hold-variations. These are usually preceded by a combative distraction or retzev to thwart the opponent’s ability to resist or undermine the hold.

Control/Escort Holds: Variations

  • Control Hold #1: a standing armbar escort hold.
  • Control Hold #2: an escort hold trapping the opponent’s arm behind his back.
  • Control Hold #3: an escort hold trapping the opponent’s arm behind his back.
  • Control Hold #4: a “gooseneck” escort hold trapping the opponent’s arm next to his side.
  • Control Hold #5: an escort hold trapping the opponent’s wrist in an upside down “L”.
  • Control Hold #6: a standing kimura trapping the opponent’s arm behind his back.
  • Control Hold #7: a standing figure 4 wrist lock trapping the opponent’s arm to his shoulder.
  • Control Hold #8: a standing armbar into a takedown.
  • Control Hold #9: a standing armbar into a takedown dropping the torso on the opponent’s arm to create severe damage in the shoulder and elbow.

Cross: Right/Left

Right or Left Cross: A straight punch thrown from the rear hand or arm farthest way from the opponent (as opposed to a Lead Punch).

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David Kahn

IKMA United States Chief Instructor — FULL DEFINITION HERE

Dead Side

One’s attacker’s dead side, in contrast to the attacker’s live side, places you behind the attacker’s near shoulder or facing the attacker’s back. You are in an advantageous position to counterattack and control the attacker because it is difficult for the attacker to use the attacker’s far arm and leg to attack you. You should always move to the dead side when possible. This also places the attacker between you and any additional third-party threat.

Dead Side: Positional Control

Once committed to a fight, one’s goal is to put one’s self in a dominant position. Never turn one’s back to one’s opponent in any type of fight situation, especially if this puts you face down on the ground, the worst possible position. From this position the back of one’s head and neck are exposed to attack. Nearly as dangerous is if the opponent secures you from behind or “takes one’s back” with his legs pincered around one’s torso or a body triangle clamp where he folds one leg under a knee creating a “figure 4” As with deadside position in a standing fight, optimally you will a side-mount or rear-mount position in a ground fight.


Defense: An active tactic to thwart, block, deflect or ward off an attack.

Decisive Action

Be both decisive and quick in responding to a violent encounter. Do whatever is necessary to overcome a dangerous threat.


Deflect-redirect: To parry or misdirect and attack.

Designated Weapons

Specific weapons designed as tools to kill and maim (firearms, edged weapons, impact weapons, etc.)

Drowning Defenses

Krav Maga uses its principal choke defenses, with modifications, to counter chokes and drowning attempts. A fundamental tenet of ground fighting applies to a drowning situation if the opponent is able to take one’s back: at all costs you must prevent this from happening.

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Edged/Bladed Weapon(s)

Any designated knife or type of blade or, alternatively, a weapon of opportunity such as a broken beer bottle.  Any type of edged weapon that can be used to puncture or slash a person.

Edged Weapons Defenses

Any and every advantage is required to defend against a determined assailant using an edged weapon.  A significant number of the population worldwide carries folding edged weapons or some other type of cutting instrument. Kitchen knives are accessible to just about anyone bent on doing harm. Never underestimate the harm an amateur, yet, nevertheless determined attacker can inflict — let alone someone skilled in edged weapons use. Essentially, anyone with a edged weapon in his or her hand could be a deadly threat, particularly if they have no compunction about getting “up close and personal.”

Slashing to the jugular and major arteries is usually fatal, but lacerations to the other parts of the body are generally not. Thrusting wounds are far more dangerous. Puncture wounds of more than 1.2 inches can produce instant shock and seriously damage or shut down internal organs.

It is likely that you will get cut. Of course, try to prevent wounds to your eyes, neck torso, and major arteries. Nevertheless, whatever injuries you might sustain, relentlessly pursue your defense and counter-attacks to end the threat. In short, the longer the edged weapon attack continues, the more your chances or surviving it diminish. Once you successfully defend and neutralize the threat, you must immediately think about triage. Seek professional help right away, and if not available, administer self-triage.

Edged Weapons Defenses: Variations

  • Running away – from an edged weapon threat is a real and viable option. In fact, when possible, running might be your best defense. But if you must engage the assailant, Krav Maga once again emphasizes simultaneous defense and counter-attack. The counter-attacks must be targeted and forceful. The goal in striking an attacker’s eyes, nose, windpipe, groin and knees is to short-circuit his ability to continue the attack.
  • Damage the attacker – as much as possible to disrupt his physical ability to press the attack and destroy his resolve. Attempting an edged weapon disarm without debilitating counter-attacks can and will get you seriously hurt or killed. While Krav Maga emphasizes simultaneous counterattacks and weapon control as soon as possible, it may be that you have counter-attack and then disengage only to counter-attack again only when you deem it safe to close the distance, hurt the attacker, and control to control the attacker and remove the weapon
  • Judging distances – the logical progression of a weapon’s path(s) even when initially blocked or redirected, and the varied angles of attack are paramount to a successful defense. Israeli Krav Maga uses two ranges in combination with body defenses to defend edged weapons attacks: “legs or hands.” Either type of defense and range usually takes the defender off the line of attack in a position to deliver strong-counterattacks, with one exception: the instinctive defense against a surprise underhand attack. As with other Krav Maga defenses, employ a block or deflection-redirection when in the hand range coupled, when possible, with a body defense, combined with effective simultaneous counterstrikes, preferably to the assailant’s throat, groin or eyes.
  • Kick defenses – are usually employed when the defender sees the edged weapon at long range. Kicks harness your most powerful muscle groups and have the longest range of any of your personal weapons. In addition, kicks can be combined with the use of shield-like objects, such as a bag or briefcase, to simultaneously block or deflect-redirect an edged weapon attack way while delivering a debilitating combative to the assailant’s groin or knee. Strong defensive kicks with glicha keep the edged weapon farther away from you and are also best to stop a charging assailant’s momentum.
  • Hand defenses – are used when the assailant closes the distance quickly, takes the defender by surprise, or the defender is in a close quarters situation. Note, many students practice and emphasize hand defenses, however, when sparring against a facsimile edged weapon attack; they quickly revert and prefer leg defenses. Kick defenses come naturally when facing an assailant threatening with the edged weapon but who remains still uncommitted to the attack. Spitting in the assailant’s face as you launch your hand or leg defense is tried effective proven tactic.

Regardless of the defense you use, even if you are slashed or stabbed, you must continue to fight. In training you will probably get “nicked”, slashed or stabbed. Obviously, the goal is to improve your skill set to avoid being wounded at all let alone fatally slashed or stabbed. Again, if your defense is imperfect and you are stabbed or wounded, it is imperative that you press your defense and counterattack. Remember, you’ll fight as you train, so, try to train, as you’ll fight. If you no longer resist, your attacker will likely continue to administer wounds that will, no doubt, be fatal. Puncture wounds initially feel like strikes and slashes might not be evident until you see your own blood.

Note that Krav Maga defenses against a edged weapon, broken bottle, or syringe are principally all the same, however, the removal techniques from the assailant’s grip may differ. Absorb the principals and apply them against variations not covered using good common sense along with a little trial and error if necessary.

Edged Weapon Threats

  • Edged Weapon Threats
  • Defending Against an Assailant Posturing/Threatening with a Edged weapon
  • Defending When the Assailant Switches the Edged weapon Between His Hands
  • An Assailant Posturing with an Edged Weapon at a Distance
  • Edged Weapon Threats against Defender’s Throat: An assailant can hold a edged weapon to your throat and threaten in two typical situations: (1) the edged weapon is held to throat with the assailant’s thumb up or (2) it is held across the throat with the assailant’s palm down. In either case, the assailant might also grab you with his other arm.
  • Edged Weapon Threat to the Defender’s Back
  • Edged Weapon Threat to the Defender’s Throat From the Rear
  • Edged Weapon Threat from the Side Behind the Arm

Educational Defense

This technique tells a would-be assailant that you are trained, hence, its name “educational defense.” The educational defense attacks the hollow of one’s opponent’s neck, one of the most vulnerable areas of the body when it can be reached.

Elbow Kiss

When securing an edged weapon or firearm held by an assailant and pinning it against the his body, the defender moves to the assailant’s deadside creating an angle between the defender’s arm and assailant’s arm where the tips of their respective elbows touch or “kiss.” The defenders’ forearm and assailant’s gun arm create a “V” by the underside of one’s forearm pressing against the topside of the assailant’s forearm.

Elbow Strikes

Elbow Strikes:  Elbow Strikes are powerful short range combatives making impact just below the elbow tip (for Elbows #1, #4 #8)  or, alternatively, just above the elbow tip (Elbows #2, #3, #5, #6, #7).  For maximum power the hips and torso must “explode” through the strike by pivoting/moving on the balls of the feet.  It is crucial to understand that while Elbow Strikes are short range combatives, for maximum effect, they require long movements or maximum reach.

Short Movements:  A short movement (the opposite of an optimum Long Movement) is an undesirable shortening of the body when using a deflection or strike. In other words, the defender is not extending through the movement and thereby not properly engaging the hips by usually not pivoting on the balls of the feet.

Long Movement:  An optimum movement (the opposite of an undesirable Short Movement) where the body is extends at optimum or maximum effective range by properly engaging the hips and pivoting on the balls of the feet.

Elbow Strikes: Variations

  • Elbow Strike #1 Front and Rear Horizontal Elbow Strikes: This horizontal (parallel to the ground) elbow’s path follows whatever opening or target one’s opponent gives you. Make impact with the target just below the tip of the elbow. Targets usually include the jaw, cheek, throat, and ear.
  • Elbow Strike #2 to the Side: A Lateral Elbow Strike can attack an opponent who is standing to one’s side. Use this strike to target the face, jaw, and throat. Contact is made with the tip of the striking elbow or just above the tip.
  • Elbow Strike #3 to the Rear: The horizontal rear elbow follows the same body movement principles of the reverse knuckles or hammer fist strike.
  • Elbow Strike #4: Similar to an Uppercut Punch, this technique uses the forearm bone to strike upward at the jaw, throat or chin. Make contact just below the tip of the striking elbow.
  • Elbow Strike #5: The Downward Drop Elbow Strike #5 is similar to the Vertical Hammer Fist. Targets again include the back of the neck, the area between the shoulder blades, and the kidneys. Make contact just below the tip of the striking elbow. This elbow is particularly powerful and a natural fit following a straight knee strike when the opponent doubles over exposing the back of his neck and base of his skull to attack.
  • Elbow Strike #6: The Midsection Rear Elbow Strike #6 delivers a compact strike to an opponent’s groin, midsection, face, and other targets. In this strike, one’s hips once again create the power by opening up as you take a short step backward with the leg on the same side.
  • Elbow Strike #7: The Rear Vertical Elbow Strike #7 is another good follow-on to the short rear elbow targeting the solar plexus, throat, or face with one’s elbow. Make contact with the area just above the tip of one’s striking elbow. You can also use a blunt weapon with this strike.
  • Elbow Strike #8: The “Over-the-Top” Elbow #8 strike is designed to slam down on one’s opponent. Targets include the eye ridge, nose, ear, and throat. The “Over-the-Top” Elbow uses a hip-pivot movement that’s somewhere between those used in the straight punch and in the roundhouse punch
  • Elbow Strike #9: When using the Forearm Elbow Strike #9, a short direct and rapid strike, aim for the throat, jaw or nose.
  • Elbow Strike #10: The Anti-Group Elbow Strike #10 targets the jaw, throat, nose, and any other part of the face. This is employed when you must make one’s escape from multiple assailants exploiting a seam or opening between two opponents in a group confrontation and exploit the seam to make one’s escape

Emerich (Imi) Lichtenfeld



The same distance.  This term is usually used when referring to footwork when one foot steps a certain distance the opposite footsteps an equal distance to keep the body in balance with a strong fighting platform intact.

Equipment: Krav Maga Training

  • Boxing or MMA gloves: Foam encased training gloves to protect the hand and a sparring partner.
  • Cane training: Using a designated (wide handled cane) or walking cane for specific impact weapon combatives or integrating the cane with combatives using the legs (retzev).
  • Chest guards — protective padding worn over the chest when sparring or practicing kicks designed to partially absorb a kick or knee to the chest. Some styles resemble a catcher’s chest protector.
  • Focus Mitts: Small training hand pads ideal for punches
  • Groin Protection: Groin/Underbelly protectors provide the necessary protection not only during professional matches but also when training with a sparring partner. They are available for both men and women. Men’s and women’s groin protectors are adapted to the specific anatomy, and can easily be distinguished by their shape.
  • Headgear or Head Protection: Foam encased training partial helmet (and mask) to protect the head from impact (usually worn during sparring).
  • Kicking Shield: Large sized training pad ideal for punches, elbow and knee strikes, along with shin kicks.
  • Mouthpiece: A rubber or plastic mouth insert designed to protect the teeth when hit
  • Replica or Training Handguns: Training rifles usually made of plastic or rubber
  • Replica or Training Knives: Training knives usually made of plastic or rubber
  • Replica or Training Rifles: Training rifles usually made of plastic or rubber
  • Shinguards: Foam encased training shin pads to protect the hand and a sparring partner.
  • Tombstone pad: Medium sized training pad ideal for punches, elbow and knee strikes, along with shin kicks.
  • Training Stick/Baton: A foam coated or covered club usually between two and three feet used as an impact weapon.


Escape: Used in a traditional sense to denote fleeing from a situation or, alternatively, a tactic where one fighter “escapes” or maneuvers to avoid a lock or other type of attack.

Escaping Violence

Escape methods are a vital and significant part of the Krav Maga curriculum. Escape is your second choice when avoidance and de-escalation fail. Escape is different from avoidance as the aggressor has already begun his actions and you are actively fleeing.


Evade: To avoid, slip away, or use a body defense to thwart an attack.

Eye Gouge

Forcibly jamming a finger (usually the thumb) into an opponent’s eye socket to damage or dislodge the eyeball.

Eye Gouge: Thumbs

You can also strike the eyes with one’s thumbs, penetrating the eye socket. This combative is certainly one of the most brutal and visceral in the Krav Maga arsenal. Use one’s opponent’s cheekbone as a guide to strike with one’s palm heel and then insert the thumb. Krav Maga’s rule of thumb (pardon the pun): if you can find the cheekbone, you can find the eye.

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A cervical neck lock orchestrated from the rear when taking an opponent’s back.

Face/Weapon: Control Hold

Control of the assailant’s head can work against any weapon, however, a handgun could be redirected at you, so you must be both diligent careful to control the weapon as well. Controlling the assailant’s head creates dominant control. Generally, if you control his head, you control his body.


How to fall down properly whether by accident or if you are taken down or thrown.

  • Forward “Soft” Fall Break: The forward “soft” fall break gently brings you to the ground when you are falling forward.
  • Rear Fall Break: By using one’s body to create the broadest possible striking surface against the ground, the backward fall break will reduce one’s impact with the ground, distributing the force of the fall through the more durable areas of one’s body: the gluteus and one’s forearms. The importance of this safety technique reaches well beyond self-defense applications.
  • Side Fall Break: The side fall break prepares you in case you must fall to one’s side.

Farside Leg

Farside Leg:  Leg farthest from the opponent.

  • Note: Nearside Leg: Leg closest to the opponent.


Feints deceive one’s opponent of one’s true intention and force him to react using an improper defense as you follow through with the actual combative. They can be difficult to master, but devastating to one’s opponent if employed properly. The key is to sell the feint by using one fluid movement instead of two. You convince one’s opponent you are going to do one combative, but, instead you do another.

Figure 4

Figure 4:  Configuring the arms to wrap around an opponent’s target limb (choke or joint lock) or body or the legs to wrap around the opponent’s torso.  The arms or legs of the person performing the choke or lock contort or resemble the number “4”.

Figure 4 Lock

A lock or control hold securing an opponent’s arm, torso or ankle to exert pressure. The control hold is enabled by using both of one’s arms on the joint of the wrist, shoulder, or tendon of an opponent. A legs figure 4 may also be applied to an opponent’s torso by hooking one leg across the torso and securing it in the crook of the other leg’s knee.

Finger Eye Claws/Rakes

Finger Eye Claws and Rakes to the eyes can disable an opponent quickly and effectively. The eyeball can be collapsed with minimum pressure and easily scratched. Blinding or partially blinding an attacker sets up retzev follow-up strikes to end a confrontation quickly.

Finger Manipulations/Breaks

Finger manipulations and breaks are easy to learn. As with all joints, the fingers follow a natural articulation. When forced out of their natural articulation great discomfort ensues. Enough force will disable a finger’s movement by dislocation or break.

Firearm Defenses

(see also Handgun Defenses and Rifle Defenses): If someone pulls a gun on you and does not shoot, he or she wants something. It is possible that he or she may still shoot you, but, not before achieving a desired ends. When possible, compliance with the gunman’s demands is the best solution. Compliance, however, is not always possible; especially, if your instinct tells you the gunman intends you bodily harm no matter what. Of course, carefully consider your options and course of action. Again, there may be situations in which attempting a disarm is impossible and you must comply with the gunman’s wishes.

Firearm Defenses: Variations

Firearms are often referred to in Krav Maga parlance as “hot weapons.”

  • Seek to Create an Advantage – Similar to edged weapon defenses, to defend a firearm threat you must deflect-redirect the weapon using a body defense (as with edged weapons defenses) move off the line of fire combined with simultaneous combatives to facilitate the disarm. Most important, Krav Maga’s philosophy is to give you any and every advantage. You might have to wait until the assailant closes the distance or lowers his guard in response to your feigned acquiescence, when, in fact, you are simply waiting for the best opportunity to disarm him.
  • Be Aware – Your immediate environment and how they might affect your disarm including walls, curbs, parked vehicles, the confines of a small space such as an elevator or a vehicle. With all firearms disarms, carefully gauge the distance and your reach capability to deflect-redirect and secure the weapon.
  • Run Away – If the assailant has a handgun and you decide to run, the greater the distance between you and the gunman, the more likely you will not be hit. To be sure, a bullet moves faster than any human reaction. Handguns are difficult to fire with accuracy, especially at longer ranges and only skilled shooters can fire with decent accuracy at distance. Fortunately, criminals tend not to be the best shots, but the high capacity pistol magazines give them up to seventeen chances or more to hit you.
  • Serpentine Pattern – If you flee, you can choose to run in a non-linear pattern as fast as possible. In other words, flee using a zigzag pattern to make yourself a more difficult target or to locate cover to stop a bullet such as a building or the engine block of a vehicle. A gunman has more difficulty swinging his gun arm and body in the direction of his dominant arm to shoot accurately. If you are facing a right-handed gunman, move laterally to your left (his right) – it is more difficult for him to swing the gun across his body. With a left handed gunman move to your right. Obviously, if your back is the gunman the directions reverse as moving to his right side will also now be moving to your right side. These evasions are also applicable for rifle/SMGs and sub-machine guns.
  • Active Shooter – In an active shooter situation, it is preferable to begin your evasion plan (or a disarming technique) as soon as the threat is recognized. In short, non-telegraphed (body movements indicating what you are going to do before you actually do it) and unpredictable evasive maneuvers improve your chance of successfully disarming him or fleeing respectively.
  • Active Shooter: Trapped – If you can’t flee an Active Shooter scene, find cover or concealment. There is a difference between cover and concealment. Cover effectively shields you from incoming fire. Concealment hides you but is not impervious to gunfire. If you are located within reach of the gunman and you conclude fleeing or reasoning with him is futile, you must, of course, use the appropriate disarming technique. If you find yourself in an active shooter situation and you cannot close the distance for a disarming technique, you can throw objects at the gunman such as bags, books, chairs, staplers, coins, etc. to either close the distance for a disarm or as distractions in your attempt to flee. If you are hit, you may wish to feign being dead to prevent the shooter from pumping more rounds into you, but under no circumstances should you give up. Remember, many victims die because they lose the will to live.
  • Active Shooter: Crowd – In an active shooter situation within a crowd, one disarm technique, requiring great nerve, is to upend him. Close on him from behind, reach down and clasp his legs just above ankles and brace one shoulder against his buttocks and yank sharply backwards to dump him on his head. The assailant will let go of the weapon or, if he holds onto it, likely break his wrists on impact. As a last resort, a number of the intended victims may swarm the gunman to overwhelm him. This tactic, for untrained people and sometimes trained people alike, is contrary to human nature. Without a determined brave soul to initiate and rally the group into

Firearm Defenses: Four Pillars

If you decide there is no choice but to disarm an assailant you must follow the four pillars of Krav Maga’s firearm defenses:

  1. Redirect-deflect the line of fire combined with a body defense.
  2. Control the firearm whenever possible moving deep to the deadside while stunning and neutralizing the assailant.
  3. Understand “time in motion” – or what the gunman’s reaction will be the instant you react.
  4. Disarm the assailant and create distance maintaining the firearm

Firearms: Disarmament Distances

There are five distances Krav Maga classifies for firearm disarm attempts:

  1. The firearm is extended from the assailant’s torso and held at distance but within arm’s length of you.
  2. The firearm is held close to the assailant’s torso but within arm’s length of you.
  3. The firearm is extended from the assailant’s torso and the muzzle is making physical contact with your body.
  4. The firearm is held close to the assailant’s torso and the muzzle is in physical contact with your body.
  5. The firearm is not yet deployed and you are in arm’s length of the potential assailant.

FirearmS: Disarm Philosophy

The brain slows down when processing several stimuli or engaged in two thought processes. If you must disarm an assailant brandishing a weapon – in this case a firearm – the most opportune time to act is when the assailant is distracted. He or she may be giving you an order or responding to your entreaty not to harm you. You might also spit in the assailant’s face or use another distraction such as throwing loose change, keys or anything else that is handy to initiate the disarm. Keep in mind, if you do attempt to disarm the assailant, he or she now considers you a deadly threat and will fight as if his or her life is at stake.

Firearms are ergonomically designed for the operator – not someone trying to take the weapon away, especially, if the operator has a two handed vice grip on it.  Therefore, whenever possible, you must move deep to the assailant’s deadside. In nearly every instance, the firearm will discharge as you deflect-redirect it because of the assailant’s reflexive flinch-trigger-pull-response. Do not worry about this. Your deflection-redirection hand will not get hurt. Prioritize securing the weapon while simultaneously debilitating your assailant with combatives to the throat, groin, eyes and other secondary targets.  As always, your Krav Maga must be decisive and brutally efficient. In addition, you need to secure the firearm in the best possible way reducing the chances of bystanders being shot.

Keep in mind that the assailant’s immediate instinctive or “flinch” response will be to retract his gun and pull the trigger. Therefore, your strategy must also incorporate “time in motion.” Time in motion is the movement pattern where the firearm (or any other type of weapon) is likely to end up as a result of your deflection-redirection and the assailant’s reflexive response. Once again, the need to move deep to the deadside is evident to keep yourself clear of the weapon’s line of fire..

Firearms Knowledge

There are two types of handguns, revolvers and semi-automatics, with the latter much more in circulation these days. A revolver uses a rotating cylinder to cycle the next round into the chamber while a semi-automatic uses a spring loaded clip that pushes another round into the chamber as the previous round is ejected. A revolver usually holds 5-8 rounds while a semi-automatic can hold from 8-17 rounds of ammunition. Some high capacity magazines can hold more than 17 rounds. If you disarm a gunman by securing the barrel and his finger is on the trigger, a semi-automatic handgun is likely to discharge.

Krav Maga frontal handgun defenses secure the slide preventing the ejection of the spent round rendering the gun temporarily inoperable. In the case of a revolver, securing it at the trigger guard while wrapping the hand around the cylinder can prevent it from cycling a new round as well. It is best to work with an expert to educate yourself on the firearms operations, especially, to learn how to clear the weapon and make it operational. This ability could be crucial after you have disarmed the assailant and created distance (more about this shortly.)  You should learn how to “tap and rack” a handgun to ready it for use or put it “in battery.” When a firearm is not operational, it is called “out of battery.”

Fish Hooking

Fish hooking: Forcing one of the five digits in an opponent’s eye to yank back on the eyeball.

Flying Knee

Flying knee: A (blackbelt or expert level) straight knee strike where the defender jumps on the forward leg to leap at the opponent targeting the knee strike at the opponent’s head using the same leg he initiated the leap.

Focus on Vulnerable Soft Tissue

Counter-attack the vulnerable areas of the one’s opponent’s body including the groin, eyes, and throat.

Force Multiplier

A borrowed military term, a force multiplier refers to a factor or a combination of factors that increases (hence, “multiplies”) the effectiveness of fighting tactics the ability to accomplish greater fighting efficacy than without it.


Foreleg: The shinbone used to strike or create a barrier to stop an opponent from gaining a tactical position on the ground. (Please see also Brakes/Brace definition).

Foreleg Brace

An essential Krav Maga defensive position on the ground whereby the defender rolls onto his/her side using placing the bottom leg heel and top leg shin against an opponent to kick/gain separation the opponent while not allowing the opponent to gain a Mount or inside the Guard position.

Foreleg Brace: Into Armbar

The essential Foreleg Brace where the defender turns on one side to prevent the attacker from mounting or pummeling the defender with upper body attacks. By turning on one’s side, insert one’s top foreleg and knee between you and the attacker to keep her/him at bay as you deliver combatives such as eye gouges and throat strikes. The “brakes” technique disengages you from an attacker who is trying to spread one’s legs or mount you but it can also serve as snare to catch and trap the opponent for transitions into Straight Armbars (and Triangle Chokes, the next technique presented).

Foreleg Brace: Into Short Triangle Choke

The Foreleg Brace also allows transitions into Triangle Choke Holds. Surviving on the ground sometimes means maiming or strangling the enemy.



Footwork and Body Positioning

Whether standing or prone, allow you to simultaneously defend and attack leading to seamless combative transitions essential to retzev. The key to evasion is moving out of the “line of fire” or the path of an opponent’s offensive combatives. Positioning oneself to counterattack one’s opponent more easily than he can attack you is most advantageous.

Front Bear Hug: Arms Free & Driven Back Defense

This highly effective defense involves torquing the attacker’s neck using a one hundred and eighty degrees (“tai sabake”) body turn placing enormous pressure on the opponent’s neck as you use one’s turning hips and body weight against the opponent’s neck while securing one of his legs with one’s own leg. This is otherwise known as a neck crank.

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Hebrew world for a sliding movement on the balls of one’s feet to carry one’s entire body weight forward and through a combative strike to maximize its impact.


A control hold that forces the opponent’s wrist at a 90 degree angle while trapping his elbow against one’s torso or the ground to create compliance pressure on the wrist.

Ground and Pound

Ground and Pound: When a fighter mounts or straddles and opponent to pummel him with upperbody strikes.

Ground Side Headlock (Kasa Katame with Combatives)

The ground side headlock or kesa katame is a hold that establishes a good base by exerting tremendous pressure on an opponent’s cervical vertebrae while also setting up an opponent for retzev ground combatives.


A position on the ground where the defender is kneeling on the ground and the opponent secures the defender between the opponent’s legs with the opponent’s back to the ground. In the Open Guard, the opponent does not cross his legs across the defender’s back. In the Closed Guard, the opponent crosses his legs across the defender’s back. The Z Guard is another name for a defender Brace/Brakes ground positioning of the legs while on his side. (A position on the ground where the defender rolls slightly onto his side to place his bottom leg’s heel on the opponent and his top leg’s shin to push the opponent away to create distance or kick the opponent. The position prevents the opponent from gaining a mount or maneuvering between the defender’s legs [sexual assault.])


An air choke where one fighter traps the opponent’s head and neck facedown to apply pressure to the windpipe using the radial bone.


A deflection or absorption of an incoming strike by bending one’s elbow to touch one’s bicep to one’s forearm. The angle of deflection depends on the strike. For example, to defend against a hook punch or roundhouse kick to the head, position the elbow to cover one’s head with the back of one’s arm parallel to the ground with the elbow tip facing slightly outward. The gunt may also be used to defend against knee attacks by jamming the attacker’s knee with the tip of the elbow.

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An elite self-defense organization established in Palestine prior to Israel’s founding in 1948. Also the Hebrew word for “defense.”

Haim Gidon, Grandmaster

Tenth dan and Israeli Krav Maga Association president — [FULL DEFINITION HERE]

Half-Hook (or Half-Roundhouse) Punch

Similar to the straight punches, this technique best targets the nose, jaw, or throat. Make contact with the first two knuckles, while maintaining proper wrist alignment. The only difference between a Straight Punch is the angle of the punch, as the elbow is slightly bent all the way through the punch to the point of making contact. The punch allows for you to counter-attack from an “off-angle.”


Hammerfist: An upperbody strike when a fighter uses the fleshy underside of a closed fist to strike.

Hand Defenses against Edged Weapons

Hand Defenses against Edged Weapons: Hand defenses are used when (1) the assailant closes the distance; (2) the defender is in a close quarters combat situation; (3) or the defender is surprised by the attack. In other words, you do not recognize the attack early enough to use leg defenses, find yourself in a confined space where leg defenses are not an option, or burst directly into the incoming edged weapon. All Krav Maga weapon defenses, when possible, move off the line of attack combined with defense and attack.

Hand Defenses against Edged Weapons: Variations

Here are the typical “hands against knife” defenses taught in the curriculum:

  • Defending an Incoming Overhead Stab
  • Overhead Defense When Not “Nose to Nose” or the Defender Can Burst Early
  • Defending an Overhead Off-Angle Stab When Facing in Opposite Direction
  • Straight Stab “L” Deflection
  • Straight Stab “L” Deflection when in an Opposite Outlet Stance .
  • Instinctive Defense against a Close Underhand Stab
  • Sidestep against an Underhand Stab
  • Defending an Off-Angle Underhand Stab .
  • Defending a Midsection Hook Stab or Slash
  • Defending an Inside Slash
  • Defending an Inside Diagonal Slash
  • Body Defense against an Inside Forward Slash and Follow-up Back Slash
  • Back Slash Defense or against a “Reverse” Stab
  • Body Defense against a Back Slash and Follow-up Inside Slash
  • Defending against a Stab or Slash to the Legs
  • Defending against an Assailant Who Strikes/Kicks and Stabs/Slashes
  • Defending against a Standing Assailant Slashing at Your Legs or Jumping on You
  • Defending Continuous (“Blender”) Edged Weapon Attacks
  • Late Defense Using Minimum Deflection-Redirection and Tsai-bake
  • Defense against an Assailant Who First Engages You in an Unarmed Fight and Then Attacks With an Edged Weapon.
  • Defenses against a Needle
  • Defenses When the Defender Is on the Ground
  • Overhead Attack Defense with the Defender on His Back
  • Hook Stab or Slash Defense with the Defender on His Back
  • Lower Body Stab with the Defender on His Back
  • Stab to the Throat with the Defender on His Back

Hand/Elbow Groin Strikes

Hand and Elbow Groin Strikes are highly effective follow-up strikes to the perpendicular rear elbow, or independent strikes in their own right. Use this strike to target one of the body’s most sensitive areas. One option to strike the groin is using a cupped hand. One may strike a forward, side, or rear-facing opponent. Groin strikes are highly effective against the popular Mixed Martial Arts and Jiu-Jitsu mount and guard positions, if you defend immediately.

Hands & Feet Together

The ability to fight with both arms and legs in a coordinated fashion (the foundation of retzev continuous combat motion.)

Hand Range Defenses

Hand range defenses are used when the attacker is closer and the defender recognizes the assault with enough time to intercept or deflect the attack. Similar to leg range defenses, the key is using proper timing, target selection, and moving on both balls of your feet to drive your body mass through the aggressor’s targeted anatomy.


Haymaker: A looping hook attack generally thrown by an untrained fighter though the term is occasionally used in fight sports.


A strike using the head targeting the opponent’s eye orbit, temple, nose or chin (not the teeth).

Headbutt: Variations

  • Front
  • Rear
  • Sides

Headbutts can be a highly effective counterattack, especially when you smash one’s opponent’s face by surprise. Targets include the opponent’s temple, chin, and nose.

Headbutt Defenses

A simple raised elbow parallel to the ground puts a formidable obstacle and deterrent to one’s opponent delivering a head butt. It also provides you with the ability to strike


  • Duck against Choke or Side Headlock: A quick defense against a choke or side headlock is to move underneath, slapping the groin with the option of elbows, chokes, and throws against one’s attacker.
  • Groin and eye or filtrum combined attack.


The Heel Stomp is a simple and highly effective combative targeting the top of the attacker’s foot or other exposed areas such as the groin, head, and throat (in a deadly force encounter), ribs, kidneys or hands. Note, you can also strike his Achilles if he is kneeling, which will likely hobble him.

High Sidekick Defense

To defend against a high sidekick to the head, one can use the inside cross parry punch defense to deflect the kick as you learned against a straight kick to the head. Alternatively, while risky, one may use a deflection underneath the kick with one’s forearm while dropping one’s torso to take one’s head below the kick (a modified #1 block from a 360 degree instinctive defense where you have different blocking positions by moving one’s arms in a defensive circle) to send it upward away from one’s head.

Handpad or (Muay Thai) pad

A maneuverable foam pad designed to be held by a training partner for punches, elbows and other upper-body strikes. (See Resources for recommended products.)

Handgun Defenses

Handgun Defenses (also see Firearm Defenses): Here are the typical handgun defense variations:

  • Frontal Handgun Defense Modification When the Assailant Falls Backwards
  • Frontal Handgun Defense against Handgun on the Assailant’s Hip, Under His Garment, or in His Coat Pocket
  • Frontal Handgun Defense When the Assailant holds the Handgun in Front of Your Head
  • Frontal Handgun Defense When on Your Knees
  • Frontal Handgun Defense When Shoved Backwards with Free Arm or Barrel
  • Frontal Handgun Defense with the Assailant’s Other Arm Extended in Front and the Handgun is Pressed to His Hip
  • Frontal Handgun Defense When Held to the Throat
  • Frontal Handgun Defenses While on the Ground
  • Defense against Handgun When on Your Back
  • Frontal Handgun Defense When You Are on Top
  • Handgun Defenses from the Side (In Front of and Behind the Arm)
  • Handgun in Front of the Ear
  • Handgun Behind the Ear
  • Hostage Defense against a Handgun Held to the Side of the Head
  • Hostage Defense against a Handgun to the Side of Your Head When on Your Knees
  • Defense While Lying in Bed against an Assailant Holding A Handgun to Your Head
  • Handgun Defenses from the Rear
  • Rear Handgun Defense with the Assailant Placing One Arm in Front to Push Forward or Keep His Distance
  • Rear Handgun Defense with Assailant’s Free Arm on Your Shoulder for Control and Handgun Compressed Against Your Torso
  • Defense against a Handgun to the Back of the Head
  • Handgun Defenses to the Back of the Head When Pressed against a Wall (Hands Are Pressed Against a Wall and With Your Hands At Side)
  • Handgun Defense from the Rear When the Assailant is Controlling/Choking You with His Free Arm
  • Rear Handgun Defense to the Head When on Your Knees
  • Defense When the Handgun is Visible in the Front Waistband
  • Defense When the Handgun in the Rear Waistband


A grappling or typical street hold when an assailant wraps his arms around the defender’s head or neck usually from the side forcing the defender’s head towards the ground.

High closed guard

One’s back is to the ground with one’s opponent is pincered between one’s legs which are hooked at the ankles.


Hiptoss: Hip throw (usually Ogoshi)

Hook Punch

Hook Punches are powerful and can circumvent an opponent’s defense. The punch’s path follows whatever opening or vulnerability one’s opponent gives you. Targets usually include the jaw, cheek, throat, and ear. Krav Maga uses the sub-terms Front Hook and Rear Hook to denote which arm is delivering the punch from an outlet stance. 

Hook Punch Combination

The one-two Front-Rear Hook Punch Combination takes advantage of the momentum of one’s body. Begin in one’s regular outlet stance with one’s hands protecting one’s face. Deliver a front roundhouse strike. Then, immediately follow up with a rear roundhouse punch. 

Hook Punch: Body

The Body Hook Shot combative delivers a roundhouse punch to the torso, primarily targeting the kidneys, liver, and floating ribs.

Hot Weapons


Horizontal Palm Heel Strikes

The Horizontal Palm Heel Strike is a highly effective strike to the temple, ears and jaw. This strike is particularly useful, as it uses an open hand, thereby minimizing the danger to one’s knuckles and wrist. In addition, the strike can (and should) be delivered without telegraphing, making it more difficult to spot, and, thus, defend.

Human Responses (Life-Threatening Encounter)

Both anxiety and subsequent fear, when triggered in a potentially violent situation, protect the body. Adrenalized strength along with a heightened internal first-aid capability is summoned. When confronting a life-threatening situation, shock can be more of a problem than fear. Fear triggers certain automatic human responses including physical, emotional, perceptual, and cognitive—triggering the freeze/flight/fight reaction. Fear creates time and distance distortions where actions may be perceived to speed up or slow down. Fear, when transformed to panic, can also paralyze. Paradoxically, the human mind may ignore danger when the body is instinctively reacting otherwise. Cognition, or an attempt at reason may override the instinctive recognition of danger. The key is to transition immediately from surprised/fearful to a Krav Maga assault mind-set. The following are some well-documented human responses in a violent situation of which you must be aware:

Human Responses (Life-Threatening Encounter): Variations

  • Tunnel Vision: Under extreme stress, to increase blood and oxygen delivery to your eyes your attention may be focused primarily on the greatest threat resulting in a temporary lost of peripheral vision.
  • Auditory Exclusion. When in a crisis or violent situation, your vision takes over while your hearing diminishes. Your body is funneling all of its resources into recognizing and coping with the threat.
  • Time and Space Compress (tachypsychia): When in danger or violent situation, time and space will become muddled with your added difficulty in judging the interrelationship of speed and distance. Movements may appear in slow-motion.
  • Random Distracting Thoughts Can Occur: When in danger or violent situation, the brain struggles with itself to prevent conscious decision making from interfering with primordial flight-or-fight mechanism).
  • Behavioral Looping. When in danger or violent situation, repetitive behavior or behaviorial looping may occur whereby you repeat an action again and again while denying that the attack is actually happening. You may delude yourself by not seeing something—however harmful—so you do not have to face it, which can get you immediately maimed or killed.

Human Criminal Violence

Human Criminal Violence: A criminal uses violence as a physical tool to acquire valuables. Raw criminal violence is more prevalent in isolated places, which provides privacy for predators. Criminology studies underscore that criminals usually rely more on intent rather than a specific (trained) method of violence. Criminals do not operate using the same set of accepted social beliefs of their victims who respect the social contract and obey the law. The criminal predatory assault mind-set is ruthless. Some attackers view their targets as humans while other sociopath attackers can “dehumanize” or make someone an outsider thereby denying any social contract. “Dehumanizing” can pave the way for violence by distinguishing or rationalizing another person’s humanity away. The attacker need not necessarily be physically skilled. If he succeeds in stunning the victim, he can compound the damage requiring little ability other than targeting the victim’s vulnerable anatomy.

Human Emotionally Disturbed Violence

When dealing with an aggressor with an altered mind, rational rules of human behavior do not apply. One solution when dealing with a mentally impaired aggressive individual is to avoid direct eye contact while listening passively and disarmingly. Nevertheless, expect the unexpected and, accordingly, be prepared physically. A sociopath views asocial criminal violence as a useful tool. Pleading with a sociopath usually will not succeed. To counter asocial criminal violence where there may be no quarter given to you, you must break down the attacker’s body. Note: Rape can fall into both criminal and sociopathic categories.

Human Social Violence

Humans have subconscious rules governing social violence. The contest of teaching someone a lesson by asserting social dominance by either intimidation or physical force usually does not involve grave injuries or murderous intent. Scientists have noted that evolution wired our brains to generally avoid killing (a hardwired safety mechanism) when testing social dominance. With animal and humans alike, hierarchical conflict is rarely lethal, but males, in particular, often have difficulty backing down from status conflict.

The reality is that some people will tolerate effrontery and abuse while others will not. Amateur social violence occurs, for example, when Aggressor #1 (A1) is not entirely committed to injuring Aggressor #2 (A2). A1 hopes one combative will likely hurt or subdue, but, importantly, not injure A2 to deter him from continuing. In summary, the goal of amateur violence is to “put a hurt” on someone, but not to truly injure the attacker. The takeaway is that you should recognize impending social violence and not let it control or dictate your future.

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Israel Defense Force (Hebrew abbreviation: Zahal)

IDF "School of Combat Fitness"

Located at the Wingate Institute is Israel’s national sports institute otherwise known as “training base #8” (Bachad Shmoni)

Israeli Krav Maga Association (IKMA)

Founded in 1978 by Imi Lichtenfeld and his top instructors, the IKMA is the original governing body for Israeli Krav Maga recognized by the Israeli government. The IKMA is headed by current Grandmaster Haim Gidon, one of Imi’s original students.

Impact Weapons

Any type of designated (baton) or improvised weapon (ex: golf club, pool cue, bottle) used to strike an opponent.  Note the ground, may also be designated an impact weapon when a person crashes into it through a takedown or throw.

impact weapons Defense

Impact weapon attacks can come in many forms. For example, someone can try to smash you with a baton, hammer, crow-bar, impact weapon-like object, bottle, chair and anything onsite an assailant can pick up to hit you.

The three fundamental principals are:

  1. Close the distance between you and the assailant while deflecting-redirecting the attack
  2. Disengage until you recognize the correct timing to then close the distance
  3. Retreat straight away

Attacks can come from a myriad of directions, heights, and angles in single swing attacks or multiple salvoes. Impact weapons (along with edged weapons) are often referred to in Krav Maga parlance as “cold weapons.”

Impact Weapons Defense: Variations

Here are the typical variations taught in the Krav Maga curriculum:

  • Overhand One Handed Strike Defense
  • Overhand Defense against a Long Distance Attack or When Late
  • Defending an One Handed Overhand “Off Angle” Defense
  • Defending a Two Handed Overhead Chair or Stool Type Attack
  • Defending a Side Swing Impact Weapon Attack
  • Defending a Low Side Swing Impact Weapon Attack
  • Defending an Attacker Using Two Impact Weapons
  • Defending against an “X” pattern strike
  • Defending against a Chain or Whip-like Attack
  • Defending against an Overhead Impact Attack When on the Ground
  • Defending against an Upward Rifle Butt Stroke
  • Defending against a Horizontal Rifle Butt Stroke
  • Defending against a Impact Weapon Front Choke
  • Defending against a Pulling Impact Weapon Rear Choke

Improvised Weapon(s)

(See: WEAPONS OF OPPORTUNITY] Any weapon of opportunity (as opposed to a designated weapon) that is within arm’s reach such as a pen, book, laptop computer,

In battery

In battery: An expression denoting a firearm is ready to fire (magazine is seated properly and a round is in the chamber.

Inside Defense

An inside defense defends against an inside or straight attack. This type of attack involves a thrusting motion such as jabbing one’s finger into someone’s eye or punching someone in the nose.

Inside Defense: Variations

  • Inside Deflection against a High Straight Kick: This defense parries a straight high kick to one’s head. It is similar to the first step of the inside L Deflection against a straight punch.
  • Inside “L” Deflection against a Straight Rear Punch While Stepping “Off the Line”: This defense, similar to the inside sliding parry, allows you deflect an incoming straight right punch from either side while simultaneously moving away from the punch, trapping the opponent’s arm, and delivering one own straight punch counterattack to the throat, chin, or nose.
  • Inside Sliding Parry against a Straight Rear Punch While Stepping “Off the Line: This defense allows you deflect an incoming punch from either side while simultaneously moving away from the punch and delivering one’s own straight punch counterattack to the throat, chin, nose, midsection or groin.
  • Instinctive Inside Deflection with Palm Heel/Forearm Retreat: From a natural stance or open stance facing one’s opponent, the inside instinctive deflection with palm heel/forearm to redirect kick is designed to redirect a straight kick launched at one’s groin or midsection while you step back to create distance from the attacker. The defense will work against either a front or a rear kick, but works better against a rear kick (assuming you and one’s opponent are in left outlet stances) because the defense will bring you to one’s opponent’s deadside. This defense builds on our instinct to swipe

Israeli Krav Maga Association (IKMA Gidon System)

Founded in 1978 by Imi Lichtenfeld, the IKMA is the original Krav Maga association now headed by Grandmaster Haim Gidon.

Israeli Krav Maga Association Professional Committee

The IKMA has a professional committee of the highest ranked instructors to assist Grandmaster Haim Gidon in curriculum refinement and development.

  • Ohad Gidon, 6th dan, is one of the highest-ranking instructors in Israel. Ohad began his Krav Maga training under Imi and other senior IKMA instructors. Ohad is now instrumental in Krav Maga’s development and curriculum, along with his father, Grandmaster Gidon. Ohad is recognized as a “senior coach” by Wingate.
  • Yoav Krayn, 5th dan, is one of the highest-ranking instructors having also trained with Imi and other senior instructors. Yoav has trained under Grandmaster Gidon since 1985 and serves as general secretary for the IKMA.
  • Noam Gidon, 5th dan, is also one of Grandmaster Haim Gidon’s sons and top instructors. After serving in the military, Noam attended Wingate to receive his Krav Maga “senior coach’s” certification.
  • Yigal Arbiv, 5th dan, is one of Grandmaster Haim Gidon’s top instructors. After serving in an elite paratroop unit as a weapons specialist, Yigal attended Wingate to receive his Krav Maga “senior coach’s” certification. Yigal is a professional security specialist and Krav Maga instructor.
  • Steve Moishe, 5th dan, is also one of Grandmaster Haim Gidon’s top instructors. After serving in the military, Steve attended Wingate to receive his Krav Maga “senior coach’s” certification.
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An adopted Japanese term for a side headlock on the ground also know as a scarf hold.


(see: Figure 4) A grappling hold in which a contestant uses both arms to lock an opponent’s arm in a compromised bent position.


One’s lower body houses the most powerful fighting weapons that you can use at maximum fighting range. One’s knees, shin bones, and the balls of one’s feet (especially when clad in shoes) serve as hard and durable striking surfaces. When you kick or knee one’s opponent, you use one’s body’s largest muscle groups, including the gluteals, quadriceps, and hamstrings. The IDF recognized the need to use fighting techniques that would work for all trainees, especially under trying circumstances. Therefore, low kicks combined with upper body combatives became integral to Krav Maga training. When asked if Krav Maga favored kicks to the head, Imi replied, “Of course we kick to the head, but first we beat him to the ground and then we kick to the head.”


  • Straight Kick: Launch the kick from low to high or “under the radar screen” of one’s opponent’s vision while pivoting on the ball of the base-leg (non-kicking) foot 90°. Connect with the ball of one’s foot against one’s target. Do not raise the knee up and then push out to kick. Rather, snap or thrust the kick towards the target. Land, after impact, with one’s kicking leg forward. Keep one’s hands up the entire time. Many people unconsciously drop their hands to improve their balance. (Note: You can practice keeping one’s hands up by grabbing one’s shirt collar as you kick). Straight Kick variations:
  • Straight Shin Kick: The Straight Shin Kick may also be delivered making contact to the opponent’s groin with one’s shin.
  • Lead Straight Offensive Kick with Glicha Shuffle Step: The Lead Straight Kick may be enhanced by using a shuffle step. Essentially, you are replacing one’s front foot position with one’s rear foot position.
  • Rear Straight Offensive Kick with Sliding Step: The Rear Straight Kick with secoul places one’s entire body in motion to maximize one’s reach, momentum, and kinetic energy. This is achieved by using a sliding step with one’s front base leg. Essentially, you are stepping forward, while simultaneously pivoting on one’s front base leg. The kick is a slide (secoul), not a jump.
  • Retreating Straight Kick: The Retreating Straight Kick may be used when you attempt to de-escalate a situation by moving away from the conflict, and yet the opponent follows you. Step back with one’s lead leg.
  • Straight Instep Kick Standing: The Straight Instep Kick is highly effective against a standing opponent’s knee when you are upright or on the ground either on one’s back or on one’s side. The kick is delivered using one’s instep against the attacker’s leg, preferably his knee.
  • Straight Heel Kick When on the Ground: Even when you’re on the ground, you can successfully launch a front Straight Heel Kick against a standing opponent. As soon as you fall to the ground, protect one’s head, using arm positioning similar to one’s outlet stance to form one’s defensive posture.
  • Side Kick: The Side Kick may be the most important Krav Maga tool in one’s arsenal, provided you are at the correct range to use it. The Sidekick and Rear Straight Defensive Kick build one’s arsenal of combatives, enabling you to kick a threat to one’s side or rear. The Sidekick is highly effective against lateral attacks such as straight punches, where you can use the kick’s superior reach and power against the attacker’s forward knee, thighs, or midsection. Variations include:
  • Stepping Sidekick: The Stepping Sidekick is an extremely powerful combative that enables you kick an opponent who is to one’s side, while covering a longer distance. Targets include the shin, knee, thigh, midsection, or head. The Stepping Sidekick is an effective combative for striking an opponent at a greater distance using a step (secoul) by varying one’s left outlet stance, or “cheating” by positioning one’s feet almost perpendicular to one’s opponent, rather the left outlet stance when one’s feet are positioned about 45 degrees to one’s opponent.
  • Ground Sidekick: The Ground Sidekick works well if you find oneself on the ground with one’s attacker standing over you. The attacker’s knees, thighs, and groin usually present the best targets when in this position.
  • Rear Defensive Kick: Targets for Rear Defensive Kick include the knees, thighs, groin, midsection, and solar plexus. Higher kicks can target the neck and head. To recognize a threat from behind, turn one’s head in the direction of one’s attacker. Even though one’s upper torso will naturally lean away from the kick, drive one’s body through the target. Thrust one’s foot into one’s opponent, connecting with one’s heel, as you did with the sidekick. You may connect with one’s foot parallel to the ground or with one’s toes pointed to the ground.
  • Roundhouse Kick (using the shin bone but also for precision the ball of the foot): The Roundhouse kick is a strong arcing combative using the shin or ball of the foot for precision.
  • Front Roundhouse Kick: The Front Roundhouse Kick is a particularly effective quick kick because of one’s proximity to one’s opponent. This swift and powerful combative strike targets the opponent’s vulnerable leg areas. The medium-height roundhouse kick targets the groin, midsection, ribs, and kidneys, whereas a high roundhouse kick targets the neck and head.
  • Rear Roundhouse Kick: Similar to the Front Roundhouse Kick, the powerful Rear Roundhouse Kick attacks the opponent’s vulnerable leg areas. A medium-height Roundhouse Kick targets the groin, midsection, ribs, and kidneys, whereas a high Roundhouse Kick targets the neck and head. You can connect with either one’s shin or with the ball of one’s foot.
  • Low Roundhouse Kick Sweep: The Low Roundhouse Kick Sweep buckles or “sweeps” an opponent’s leg or legs out. The main target is usually the Achilles tendon; however, the knees are also vulnerable to this type of combative.
  • Roundhouse Kick When on the Ground: A Roundhouse Kick can also be effectively delivered should you find oneself on the ground facing a standing opponent. To deliver the kick you must rise off the ground either by using two hands to lift one’s torso off the ground or, alternatively, using a forearm to lift one’s body.

Additional kick variations:

  • Spinning Side Kick: This tremendously powerful combative enables you spin and kick an opponent who is to one’s front or side. This kick is designed to follow one’s sliding (Hebrew: glicha) or stepping (Hebrew: secoul) Side Kick. This can be a particularly devastating surprise combative targeting the knees, thigh, groin midsection or even the head.
  • Instep Straight Kick: This short kick (crosses the body when delivered from the rear leg) uses the heel or instep to attack the opponent’s knee
  • Hook Kick and Spinning Hook Kick: A hook kick strike with the heel or pad of the foot by extending the leg out and curling the foot back towards the torso.
  • Inside Slap Kick: Inside and outside slap kicks: respectively may be used to knock and opponent’s hands down exposing his head to upper body combatives. In addition, when no other defense is possible, the slap kick may be used to defeat a midlevel weapon attack by slapping away the opponent’s arm and continuing with additional counter-attacks.
  • Scissors Kick (Straight, Roundhouse and Side Kicks): Scissors Kicks are advanced kick using one’s kicking leg to both spring you into the air and deliver the kick. This kick is most often used in combination with the Cavalier #1 takedown.
  • Axe Kick: This kick raises the leg high to chop down on an opponent’s upper body using the heel.
  • Flying Kicks (Straight, Roundhouse and Side Kicks): Flying kicks – using Krav Maga’s core three kicks – are preformed targeting the opponent’s head.

Kick Combinations

Kick combinations allow a defender to use the lower body’s powerful muscles and reach to debilitate an attacker. Targets usually include the knee, thigh, and groin. Of course, targets higher on the body are also available, including the stomach, solar plexus, chin, and face. The following four kick combinations are highly effective:

  • Front Straight Kick into rear Straight Kick (using opposite legs)
  • Rear Straight Kick into Rear Straight Kick (using opposite legs by having the rear kick land forward and making the former front leg the rear leg)
  • Front Straight Kick into Rear Roundhouse Kick (using opposite legs)
  • Front Roundhouse Kick into Rear Roundhouse Kick (using opposite legs)

Kick and Knee Combinations

Kicks may also be combined with knee strikes, if one’s first kick does not drive the opponent back. The following five kick and knee combinations are highly effective: 

  • Straight Kick Combination into Same Leg Straight Knee Strike
  • Front Straight Kick into rear Straight Knee (using opposite legs)
  • Rear Straight Kick into Rear Straight Knee (using opposite legs by having the rear kick landing forward and making the former front leg the rear leg)
  • Front Straight Kick into Rear Straight Knee (using opposite legs)
  • Front Roundhouse Kick into Rear Straight Kick (using opposite legs)

Kick/Punch Combination Drills

(These are exercises to build the all important retzev.):

  • Straight rear kick with step forward (into opposite outlet stance) and punch in one motion
  • Straight front kick forward with step and punch with same side arm
  • Straight kick to groin from rear and knee to head with same leg
  • Low/high roundhouse combination with same leg
  • Straight kick forward and then knee with other leg
  • Shove opponent backwards to unbalance him and deliver low roundhouse sweep
  • Blocking opponent’s vision with hand or glove and sweeping
  • Sweeping opponent’s base leg when opponent kicking

Kinesic indicators

The recognition and interpretation of nonverbal body movement including facial expressions and gestures.

Kicking pad (AKA: Tombstone)

A large foam shield designed to be held by a training partner for kicks and knee strikes. (See Resources for recommended products.)

Kinetic energy

Kinetic energy is the measure of tissue damage you inflict on an impact area. Israeli Krav Maga emphasizes transferring both momentum and kinetic energy through a strong small robust striking point such as the first two knuckles (pointer and middle finger) of the hand, as opposed to all four knuckles. Extreme force driven through vulnerable anatomy creates injury. Combative strikes harvest the largest possible load of kinetic energy to then drive it through the opponent’s targeted anatomy. This is achieved by harnessing the body’s entire body weight to propel it using a balanced movement through the target via a combative strike. The combative strike can only be optimized when you create sound structure, as the Krav Maga combatives depicted in this book demonstrate.


Kimura: An adopted Japanese term for a lock forcing an opponent’s arm behind his back in a compromised position using a keylock hold.

Knee Defense

See: Kick Defense


  • Straight Knee Strikes: Knee attacks provide some of the most punishing strikes and a strong finish to any technique. Shorter- range elbow strikes work extremely well when combined with knee strikes and are strong follow-up combatives into retzev. Notable variations:
  • Flying Knee: are preformed targeting the opponent’s head.
  • Offensive Knee and Trap against Attacker Standing in Left Outlet Stance: This combined Offensive Knee and Trap combative is designed to catch and control one’s opponent’s arms while delivering a devastating front knee to the opponent’s groin, thigh, or midsection, followed by additional retzev combatives .
  • Roundhouse Knee Strikes: Similar to a Roundhouse Kick, this best targets the kidneys and ribs. Use the same technique and movement for the front and rear roundhouse knees as you do for the front and rear roundhouse kicks, except do not extend one’s leg. Instead, you will connect with one’s kneecap instead of one’s foot.
  • Rear Half-Roundhouse Knee: The Half-Roundhouse Knee utilizes both the shin bone and the patella to make contact to the opponent’s thigh. One’s base leg (as with all kicks and knee strikes) pivots to allow one’s hips full follow-through for maximum power.

Knee & Elbow: Variations

  • The Front Knee Followed by Horizontal Elbows: This Rear Straight Knee into Horizontal and the one-two alternating Horizontal #1 Elbow combination followed by another Rear Straight Knee takes advantage of the momentum of one’s body movement. This combination is a great tactic to launch into close quarters retzev. Begin in one’s Left Outlet Stance with one’s hands protecting one’s face. Deliver a Rear Straight Knee Strike. As you begin to touch down with one’s right foot launch a Rear Horizontal Elbow #1 strike making sure to use maximum reach. Follow through completely and then execute a second Rear Horizontal Elbow #1 strike with one’s left arm (one’s knee strike switched one’s outlet stance) followed by a Rear Straight Knee. Note, how on one’s second Rear Horizontal #1 Elbow Strike, one’s weight shifted to one’s front leg as you pivoted? This weight shift facilitates the movement of one’s rear left leg into a Straight Knee Strike.
  • Knee on Stomach: Another strong control position placing one’s full weight on one’s opponent’s midsection and hooking one’s foot into one’s opponent’s hip while resting on the ball of one’s foot to create a stable striking platform and wear down one’s opponent’s body down by digging one’s weight into his midsection.

Knuckle Defense

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Knuckle Defense: Variations

  • Knuckles Edge Strike to the Throat: A strike to the side of the neck or windpipe using the four knuckles of a knife hand.
  • Knuckles Rake Strike: The Knuckles Rake combative targets the eye ridge, temple, or nose. Contact is made with the middle three knuckles. The strike is made by raking down on the target at an accessible angle. The photos represent the strike’s motion, using a near simultaneous attack and defense capacity against a rear double-handed choke with a push.


Often used as a shortened form for Krav Maga. Krav is a Hebrew word for struggle. The Hebrew word “krav” means struggle and was first used in the Old Testament when Isaac wrestled with Gabriel, the angel of death.


A term coined by David Kahn in 2004 found in Krav Maga: An Essential Guide to the Renowned Method—for Fitness and Self-Defense to describe a smart and prepared Krav Maga fighter.

Kravist Mindset

Mind of a Kravist: In a physical confrontation, you are likely experience a combined surge of stress, fear, and excitement. Mental and physical conditioning will allow you to harness one’s adrenaline and channel it into action. Mental confidence and toughness provides a decisive advantage in a violent encounter. Hone both one’s mental and physical skills to spring into action without thinking. Only proper training can trigger this fighting response.

Krav Maga Football Combatives

Specially developed modified tactics applied to American football developed by David Kahn and Al “Poodie” Carson.  For more, read the [FULL DESCRIPTION HERE]

Krav Maga’s Behavioral Code

Imi emphasized good citizenship and a strong sense of morality. The following pillars of Imi’s system help summarize his teachings.

  • Good citizenship: Treat one’s fellow-citizens with respect and obey the law. Imi sought to instill “a sense of self worth.”
  • Train properly to avoid injury: Do not injure one’s partner or one’s self by training haphazardly or over aggressively.
  • Act humbly: Do not show-off one’s skills or provoke others to test one’s mettle. Act courteously toward others. As Imi said, “The most necessary thing, is to educate you– and that is the hardest thing–to be humble. You must be so humble that you don’t want to show him that you’re better than him. That is one of the most necessary things for pupils. If a pupil tells me, ‘I fought him and beat him,’ it’s no good.”
  • Avoid confrontation: Avoid or deescalate a potential violent situation whenever possible. When asked about a hypothetical confrontation that could be avoided, Imi responded, “Know what I told you – to be humble. I don’t want to get beaten. I don’t want to beat him. My purpose in learning Krav Maga is not to get hurt. If you beat him, you want to show him you can beat him. If you turn away, you have enough confidence.”
  • Do not use unnecessary force: Respond to a threat or attack with only the necessary amount of force to neutralize the attack. Imi underscored, “That is most necessary and difficult thing in Krav Maga – that I must be so good that I don’t must kill.”

Krav Maga’s Dirty Dozen of Combatives

  1. Straight Kicks/Knees
  2. Low-line Sidekicks and Rear Defensive Kicks=
  3. Low Roundhouse Kicks
  4. Linear Straight Punches and Palm Heel Strikes
  5. Eye Rakes and Gouges
  6. Groin Strikes and Biting
  7. Hook Palm Heel Strike and Inside Chops
  8. Horizontal #1 Elbow
  9. Over-the-top #8 Elbow
  10. Rear Elbow #3 and Outside Chops/Forearm Strikes
  11. Chokes
  12. Takedowns (without the defender going to the ground)

Krav Maga Tactical Ten Commandants

Krav Maga Tactical Thinking

Fight positioning determines one’s tactical advantage. Optimally, a kravist or skilled Krav Maga fighter will move quickly to a superior and dominant position relative to his opponent, known in Krav Maga parlance as the deadside

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Late Leg Defense against Low Roundhouse Kick

This defense becomes necessary when you do not recognize an incoming low roundhouse kick early enough to defend it otherwise and must absorb the kick.

“L” Deflection

One of Krav Maga’s essential parry and deflection defenses using a bent arm (approximately 70°) rotation to deflect a linear attack.


Lethality: Defensive tactics that may kill an opponent.

Leglock Defense

 Krav Maga has three core leglock combatives designed to attack the Achilles tendon, ankle and knee respectively.

Leglock Defense: Variations

  • Achilles Leg lock: The Achilles Leglock targets the Achilles tendon, hence its name. It can often be applied as a surprise counterattack. The Achilles Leglock is an effective counterattack against an opponent who is trying to pull you into his guard or go to ground with you. It can be applied as a surprise attack as soon as you go to ground with one’s attacker.
  • Standing Achilles Leg lock: An Achilles Leg lock may also be executed while an opponent is on the ground and you are standing. In this case, you want to execute the Legbar against his leg while to his outside. Do not attempt the bar while straddling his free leg because he can kick you in the groin. You can also apply the bar to an opponent who is standing over you, while you are on the ground, by cinching the Achilles tightly and using one’s legs to force one’s opponent off-balance or take him down.
  • Ankle-heel Leg lock: The Ankle-heel Leglock “Figure 4” is also a highly effective combative to dislocate the ankle and rupture tendons and ligaments. Ankle-heel locks, sometimes known as “toe holds” are often preceded by a takedown. The heel hook is a highly effective technique, attacking the ligaments of the knee in addition to the ankle.
  • Knee Shredder Lock: Should you once again find one’s self with one’s back on the ground with an opponent’s leg foot within one’s grasp, you can apply a devastating Knee Shredder Lock. The Knee Shredder Lock is designed to cause severe damage to the knee by tearing its ligaments.

Legs against Edged Weapons Defense

Krav Maga uses two ranges in combination with body defenses to defend edged weapons attacks: “legs or hands.” Either type of defense and range usually takes the defender off the line of attack in a position to deliver strong-counterattacks, with one exception: the instinctive defense against a surprise underhand attack. As with other Krav Maga defenses, employ a block or deflection-redirection when in the hand range coupled, when possible, with a body defense, combined with effective simultaneous counterstrikes, preferably to the assailant’s throat, groin or eyes.

Legs against Edged Weapons Defense: Variations

Here are the typical “leg defenses against knife” in the curriculum against edged weapon attacks and threats:

  • Straight Kick against an Overhead Attack: The most typical edged weapon attack is an overhand attack targeting the defender’s neck area. The attack is best foiled at long range with a strong kick to the groin in combination with a body defense, especially, when the assailant is charging at the defender.
  • Straight Kick against an Underhand Attack: The second most typical edged attack is an underhand attack targeting your midsection or groin. The attack is best foiled at long range with a strong kick to either the head or the groin. Optimally, you should kick the assailant in the face as the assailant crouches to deliver the attack
  • Roundhouse Kick against a Straight Stab: Defending against a straight stab with your legs requires you to step off the line and deliver a roundhouse kick with the ball of your foot to his groin or with the shin to the assailant’s midsection. Notably, this kick can be used against straight punches, slashes and hook stabs in keeping with Krav Maga’s fundamental tent that of using one proven defense against myriad attacks. This defense operates on similar principles same as the previous leg defense against an overhead stab attack.
  • Roundhouse Kick Stepping against a Slash
  • Sidekick against a High Straight Stab
  • Overhead Stab Attack Defenses from the Rear: Attacking from the rear is a preferred method by assailants to surprise the defender with a stab in the back.
  • Underhand Stab Attack Defenses from the Rear: Similar to the underhand attack from the rear, deliver a straight lowlife sidekick to the assailant’s torso or throat to stop the attack.
  • Defending a Surprise Short Straight Stab
  • Using Shield-like Objects against Edged Weapon Attack
  • Defending an Attacker Using Two Edged Weapons


A straight line attack or defense

Line of Attack

Line of Attack:  The route or line a combative will travel.

Line of Fire

Line of Fire:  Where a bullet will travel or a straight line from the muzzle of the firearm.


When you are facing the front of one’s attacker and one’s attacker can both see you and use all four arms and legs against you, you are facing the attacker’s live side.

Lock/ Locking

Lock/ Locking: When a fighter succeeds in immobilizing the movement of an opponent, particularly, through isolating a joint such as the shoulder, elbow, knee or even the head.

Lower Body Combatives

SEE: Kick Defense

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Momentum is one’s weight combined with how fast one’s limb strikes. The difference between a high-momentum versus high-energy strikes is that high-momentum strikes drive an opponent backwards.


  • A groundfighting position where one opponent straddles another opponent whose back is to the ground or is facing the ground.
  • One opponent straddles the other opponent to pummel and set up locks and chokes.
  • A formidable control fighting and position where you are straddling one’s attacker with the attacker’s back to the ground and one’s heels are hooked underneath the attacker’s rib cage.

Mount Defense

Strikes to the groin with a simultaneous hip buck to the defender’s opposite the shoulder of the groin strike

Mount Defense: Variations

Four Preferred Krav Maga Offensive Ground Positions:  These four positions assume the fight is a one on one situation and you do not fear others attacking you while you are on the ground.

  1. Rear Mount: You have taken your opponent’s back by securing his torso from the rear (you are facing his back)
  2. Side Straddle: Your knee is on the opponent’s chest with your other leg planted on the ground in a strong position of balance (otherwise known as knee on stomach position.)
  3. Sidemount chest-down: You are perpendicular to the opponent with his back to the floor and your chest to his chest.
  4. High mount: You are straddling the opponent who has his back to the ground. You are mounted high on his torso optimally trapping his arms and protecting your groin. This position allows you to pummel the opponent while also setting up locks and chokes.

Mule Kick

Mule kick is used when the attacker grabs the defender from the rear and the defender’s leg is between the attacker’s legs. The defender simply curls the leg up to smash the attacker in his groin. Another variation of the mule kick may be used when an attacker is behind a defender and the defender curls his leg to smash the attack in the groin (different angle than between the legs variation) or in the face similar to a mule or horse rearing it’s back legs to kick at a threat.

Multiple Attackers/Opponents

Fighting Multiple Attackers or Opponents is a core concept and tactic within the Krav Maga curriculum. Imi was usually outnumbered and his fighting tactics were developed accordingly. When facing multiple attackers, one must only engage only one at a time using optimum combatives/movement while putting that attacker between you and any others. Inexperienced attackers, will, fortunately, group together. If you use correct tactical positioning (never between two attackers), one limits the attackers’ abilities to harm you. NOTE: there is a limitation on how many attackers can occupy the same space to get at you. In select circumstances, you may have to go through them.

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Nearside Leg

Leg closest to the opponent.

  • Note: Farside Leg: Leg farthest from the opponent.


Protecting one’s head, neck, and spine during a confrontation is vital. The ability to defend against choke and neck restraints is paramount in all aspects of a fight, particularly the ground phase. Two principle types of attacks:


  • Strikes: Combatives targeting the windpipe, sides of the neck and just below the base of the skull.
  • Neck Crank: Combative trapping the opponent’s head and forcibly rotating the head thereby “cranking” the neck. Variation: Neck Crank from the High Guard.


The Half-Nelson and full-Nelson wrestling type holds are used for controlling an opponent. The Nelson holds involve an opponent’s thrusting both of his arms under one’s armpits (only one arm for the half-Nelson) and clasping them with a strong grip at the base of one’s neck. A proper hold never interlaces the fingers. Several variations of these strong holds exist. There are four principle Nelson hold releases/defenses:


  • Nelson Weight Drop Release: The easiest and best defense against the Nelson holds is to prevent an opponent from positioning himself behind. Off angle: An attack angle that is not face-to-face.
  • Nelson Clampdown Sidestep Release: This defense allows you to defeat an attacker who is applying a Nelson type hold and pulling you backwards. Use the attacker’s momentum against him to push him backward off his feet and to land full-force on to him followed by retzev combatives.
  • Nelson Hip toss Fall Releases: This defense allows you to defeat an attacker who is applying a Nelson type hold and pushing you forward. You will use one’s powerful hip muscles and the attacker’s momentum against him to flip him and turn to land full-force on to him followed by retzev combatives.
  • Rear Bear Hug Defense While Being Driven Forward: This defense is similar to the defense against a rear Nelson hold when one’s assailant is driving you forward with one’s arms free. A “bear hug” from the rear also known as a rear clinch places you in great danger of being driven forward into a wall or the ground or being thrown.


A looping; in some cases unstructured; attack or defense

Neutral Position

A passive stance or a normal standing pose where a defender is neither bladed nor has arms up in any type of protective position.

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The OODA loop is the decision cycle of observe, orient, decide, and act, developed by military strategist and United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd. (READ MORE HERE]

When confronted, the mind goes through a series of steps to choose a response:

  • Threat recognition: In analyzing a potentially violent situation, the mind must recognize the danger and then process it.
  • Situation analysis: Once the mind recognizes the danger, it contemplates the possible outcomes and takes in any additional clues that may be helpful in arriving at a choice of action.
  • Choice of action: After processing the danger’s potential outcome or outcomes, the mind quickly contemplates available courses of action and chooses one. This leads to the final stage, action/inaction.
  • Action/inaction: After the mind settles on a reaction, it propels the body into action or the paralysis of inaction.


An attack angle that is not face-to-face.

Open limited training

Where you predetermine how one’s partner will attack and vary the attacks for example, might include practicing defenses against pre-set punch attacks. You know one’s partner is going to attack with a straight right punch to one’s head. In the next drill, one’s partner, either following the direction of an instructor or his own initiative, informs you that he will throw a right roundhouse punch to one’s head. The point is that you know what is coming.

Outside Defense

An outside defense counters an outside attack, that is, an attack directed at you from the outside of one’s body to the inside. A slap to the face or hook punch are examples of outside attacks.

Outside defense: variations

Outside Defenses against Straight “Sucker” Punches: Using an outside block or 360 degree instinctive defense, this technique deflects a straight punch delivered by an opponent standing to one’s side while you and he are facing in opposite directions.

Outside Scoop Defenses Using Hooks: This defense uses a deflection method along with a subtle retreating sidestep using one’s front arm to deflect incoming kicks to the outside (rather than the inside) while also using a body defense to get off the line. While the rear arm can also be used, it can be dangerous because the incoming kick will be too close to one’s body at that point to make an effective deflection.

Outside Scoop Deflection against Side Kick: Similar to the outside scoop deflection you used against the straight kick, you will time the defense to misdirect the opponent’s kick while delivering a devastating counter blow to his base leg knee.

Outlet Stance

Blades one’s body by turning one’s feet approximately 30 degrees to one’s right, with one’s left arm and left leg forward. (You can also turn 30 degrees to one’s right to come into a right regular outlet stance, so that one’s right leg and arm are forward.) You are resting on the balls of both of one’s feet with one’s rear foot in a comfortable and balanced position. One’s feet should be parallel with about 55% of one’s weight distributed over one’s front leg. One’s arms are positioned in front of one’s face and bent slightly forward at approximately a 60-degree angle between one’s forearms and one’s upper arms. From this stance, you will move forward, laterally, and backward moving one’s feet in concert.

Over-the-Top Defense

The over-the-top punch is a combined sliding deflection and inverted counterpunch (usually used against a straight punch or reverse forearm, hammerfist or slash.) delivering the strike the punch to the attacker’s exposed head.

Over-the-Top Punch

The over-the-top punch attacks one’s opponent from a slightly vertical angle, slamming down on one’s opponent’s eye socket, nose, or jaw. One’s body movement is similar to an “over-the-top elbow” where one’s striking arm moves high to low and slams down on one’s target. This strike is especially effective when you are able to trap an opponent’s forward arm with one’s forward arm to bring down his defense, while simultaneously delivering the strike to his exposed head.

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Palm Heel Strike

When using this direct and fast strike, aim for the nose, jaw, or throat. This strike is an effective intermediate-range strike, particularly for those who are not confident in the strength of their wrists and fists to execute regular punches.


Pre-1948 and Israel War of Independence fighting unit often considered to have elite fighters in its ranks. Self-defense organization established in Palestine prior to Israel’s founding.


An elite maritime self-defense organization established in Palestine prior to Israel’s founding in 1948.


To intercept and deflect a strike (usually a punch) 

Passive Stance

At times, you may be caught by surprise while you are standing in a passive outlet stance. Most people do not stand in a regular outlet stance, but rather in a passive outlet stance when not expecting confrontation. In other words, you are standing with your feet parallel and your hands down. Of course, when possible, stand in your regular outlet stance at all times during a confrontation.


The riverboat Imi and other Jews used to escape from Slovakia. Imi steamed down the Danube through the hostile, yet unoccupied banks of Hungary, Croatia, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Romania and then into the open Black Sea through the Turkish Straits. He and other refugees survived the hardships of man and nature, including a quarantine intended to starve them while marooned on the Romanian delta. Imi showed his selflessness by plunging into the water and saving a drowning child. Consequently, he developed an ear infection that would plague him throughout his journey. Upon entering the Aegean Sea, the Pentcho’s engines failed, grounding the boat on a desolate island. Imi and three other refugees took a life boat and rowed for three days. Imi’s ear infection gradually worsened and became life-threatening. A British airplane spotted them and summoned a British warship to rescue them.

Personal Weapons

Many parts of one’s body, including one’s hands, forearms, elbows, knees, shins, and head can be used as personal weapons. There is a distinct advantage in using the hard parts of one’s body such as one’s elbows, knees, and feet as weapons against one’s attacker’s vulnerable body parts. Optimized striking involves keeping the body’s muscles relaxed until just before one’s limb impacts the opponent. By making the body rigid, using a strong, balanced base a fraction of second before impact, you generate maximum speed to then instantly incorporate one’s body mass behind the strike.

Play Fighting

Development of one’s fighting technique through retzev. Play Fighting will improve one’s coordination, stamina, and overall fighting prowess. You simple spar with one’s partner, using the techniques you know and countering the techniques one’s partner throws at you. Play Fighting is not full contact power sparring, but instead focuses on deliberate slow movements. You can increase the speed as one’s skill set improves, but keep power to a minimum.


(the act of plucking) To remove an opponent’s hand from some part of the body.

Pre-conflict Indicators

Subtle cues, “tells,” or “precipitators” observed in a potential assailant’s behavior, especially when such indicators are assessed collectively, provide an early warning indicator. In other words, recognizing someone’s preparation to perpetrate an assault such as the attacker’s (un)conscious body language (including autonomic nervous system reactions); proximity and overall behavior pattern collectively produce clues you can discern. Body markings, such as tattoos, can also suggest someone’s background, affiliation, values, attitude, and behavioral proclivities. Understanding these clues allows you to become proactive or what the U.S. Marines describe as having a “bias for action” leading to, if necessary, Krav Maga “violence of action.”

Pre-emptive Attack(s)

A timing attack where the defender launches his attack before the aggressor can launch his respective attack.

Pre-emptive Straight Kick against a Roundhouse Kick

Against any level roundhouse kick, you may peremptorily straight kick the attacker’s groin followed by additional retzev combatives. You may also use a front roundhouse kick to sweep the attacker’s base leg with one’s front leg. It is also possible, with good timing, to launch a preemptive straight punch to the opponent’s throat, jaw, or nose at the moment one’s recognize one’s opponent winding up for the kick. Remember, however, that leg reach is usually longer than arm reach.

Pre-violence indicators (non-exclusive list)

  1. Fidgeting, shaking of one’s limbs, muscle tremors, or clenching one’s hands and teeth
  2. Sweating, increased respiration or blinking excessively
  3. A forward lean
  4. Moving onto the balls of the feet in preparation to attack
  5. Coiling a shoulder or blading the body
  6. Stiffening the neck
  7. Puckering the lips or sneering
  8. A change in breathing (fast-paced or measured)
  9. Puffing up (as the chest expands to intake as much oxygen as possible), becoming loud to intimidate, and turning red in the face and neck (vasodilations as blood fills the capillaries)
  10. Becoming pale (vasoconstriction occurs as blood rushes from the skin surface to the internal organs) indicating an advanced stage of fear or girding oneself against an attack and is one of the surest indicators someone is preparing for violence
  11. Pupillary constriction toward something considered a threat or challenge along with momentary pupillary dilation indicating the very moment a person is ready to act
  12. Disrobing to free the arms (and legs)

Push Defenses

Aggression often begins with a one- or two-handed push. This provocation typically marks an aggressor’s attempt to assert social dominance or to goad you into a fight. Someone pushing you away may also be precipitated by your invading that person’s social space. Push defenses, as with all Krav Maga defenses, involve the all-important Krav Maga concept of simultaneous defense and attack. As the defender, your preference is to move off the line of attack, in this case, the line of the attacker’s push.

Psychological Responses (Life-Threatening Encounter)

See: Human Responses (Life-Threatening Encounter): Variations

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Range & Distance

Range and distance are integral to your self-defense strategy. When defending against upper-body attacks, depending on the attacker’s distance, a kravist may choose to employ “leg defenses” or close the distance immediately by using “hand defenses.” You can kick an attacker if the attacker is in leg range or several feet away from you. Optimally, you can debilitate your attacker before the attacker can touch you, but such precision and timing is difficult. If the attacker has already closed the distance and is in physical contact with you, the attacker has entered your medium and close distance fighting ranges in which case you must use upper-body defenses and combatives.

Realistic Training

Realistic practice improves reaction capability by allowing an immediate assessment of a violent situation and triggering a corresponding stress-simulated reaction. With proper intense training you can learn effective physical tactics, while mentally adjusting to a simulated, harsh, violent reality. Instinctive trained reactions targeting the attacker’s anatomical vulnerabilities reign supreme. In the basest, most animalistic sense—provided the circumstances are legally justifiable—the kravist, when faced with a life-threatening situation, understands how to inflict terrible, debilitating wounds against an adversary. Wounding an assailant balances power in the kravist’s favor. Accordingly, a kravist trains as if compelled to simulate breaking bones, disabling ligaments, destroying an eyeball, crushing an adversary’s windpipe, maiming, crippling, or killing.

Rear Hammerfist/Forearm Strike

The Straight Rear Hammerfist/Forearm Strike or combatives respectively target the nose, jaw, or throat but are done with the rear (right) arm.

Red zone

The head, spine, vital organs, and groin. Red-zone strikes are designed to shock the attacker’s central nervous system and stop his movements.


A Hebrew word that means “continuous motion” in combat. Retzev, the backbone of modern Israeli Krav Maga, teaches you to move one’s body instinctively in combat motion without thinking about one’s next move. When in a dangerous situation, you will automatically call upon one’s physical and mental training to launch a seamless overwhelming counterattack using integrated combatives combined with evasive action. Retzev is quick and decisive movement merging all aspects of one’s Krav Maga training. Defensive movements transition automatically into offensive movements to neutralize the attack affording one’s attacker little time to react.

Reacting to an Attack

A surprise attack will force you to react from an unprepared state. Therefore, one’s self-defense reaction must be instinctive and reflexive. Krav Maga training prepares you for just that. The subconscious mind turns instinctive trained responses into immediate action.


Reversal: When one fighter reverses a difficult position to catch the opponent in a similar compromised position.

Reverse hook kick

A kick using the heel or the pad of the foot to make contact to the opponent’s head or other vulnerable anatomy.

Rick Blitstein

A member of the IKMA and recognized as a senior black-belt instructor, Rick is committed to the proper expansion of the system in the U.S. and around the world. – [FULL DEFINITION HERE]

Rear Mount

The most advantageous control position on the ground, where you are behind and straddling one’s attacker (who may be faceup or facedown) with one’s legs wrapped—not crossed—around the attacker’s midsection.


(see also Firearm Defenses): Rifle/sub-machinegun (SMG) defenses are similar in concept to handgun defenses but different in execution because of the firearm’s length. Defending against a rifle/SMG threat utilizes the core Krav Maga principal of simultaneous weapon deflection-redirection and body defense movement combined with counter-attacks. A distinct difference between a rifle/SMG design and a handgun is the firearm’s length, especially if the rifle/SMG has an extended stock. Certain SMGs such as the Uzi pistol might be need to be defended using the handgun defenses covered previously. Shotguns are also included in the rifle category for our discussion purposes. Keep in mind that a shotgun’s discharge creates a wider berth of danger as the shot scatters.

Krav Maga’s rifle/SMG and bayonet type defenses adapt to threats at different heights. The following three frontal defense variations are also used to thwart a bayonet type attack. Whichever defense you use, be sure to remain clear of the muzzle while controlling it. A semi-automatic or automatic rifle/SMG will continue firing as long as the gunman activates the trigger and ammunition supply lasts. An automatic weapon can discharge thirty plus rounds in just a few seconds. Keep in mind that these rounds also endanger third parties. With Rifle/SMG disarms you are not interfering with the firing mechanism as some of Krav Maga’s handgun defenses do.

Rifle/Submachine Gun (SMG) Defense: Variations

Here are the typical Rifle/SMG defenses included in the Krav Maga curriculum:

  • Frontal Rifle/SMG Defense
  • Frontal Rifle/SMG Defense to the Deadside
  • Frontal Rifle/SMG Defense to the Liveside

Rifle/Submachine Gun (SMG) Defense: Bayonet

Bayonet/Sharp Elongated Weapon Defenses: Bayonet/sharp elongated weapon defenses are similar to long-gun defenses by design -reinforcing Krav Maga’s fundamental principal of learning a few core defenses to apply against a variety of attacks. Krav Maga’s bayonet defenses derive from its rifle/SMG frontal defenses. The two primary bayonet defense variations parallel frontal rifle/SMG Defenses #2 and #3 respectively. 

  • Bayonet Type Stab with the Defender on His Back
  • Rifle/SMG Defenses from the Rear
  • Defense against a Rifle/SMG from the Rear While Being Pushed with the Free Arm (no photos)
  • Rifle/SMG Defenses from the Side

Rifle/Submachine Gun (SMG) Defense: Retention

Rifle/SMG retention, with or without a sling, uses the simple concept of turning the assailant’s force against him as he attempts to wrest the weapon away. By moving in the direction of the weapon pull, the defender’s momentum increases the power and effectiveness of the strikes. Importantly, the rifle/SMG is also turned trigger side in to break the assailant’s grip while turning the magazine into the assailant clearing the way for kicks and knee counterstrikes along with a possible strike

Road Rage

Violent conflict arising from a roadway incident. Unfortunately violent road rage conflict resulting from vehicular accidents or perceived slights is becoming all too common.

  • The best way to handle road rage is to simply ignore the provocateur and drive away. However, sometimes you might be hemmed in and unable to escape. While you can remain in your vehicle buttoned down with your windows up and doors locked, your assailant can still assault you by shattering your window and following through with whatever ill intentions suit him. If you do choose to remain in your vehicle, you should unfasten your seatbelt in case you do have to quickly react.
  • If you are alone, the better plan is to egress from your vehicle and move to the far corner away from the aggressor. If you have passengers and the assailant becomes violent, obviously, you’ll react employing whatever skill set is necessary to interdict the assault. If the assailant threatens you and then moves towards his vehicle you should quickly drive away, or if you cannot escape, you need to follow him to prevent his retrieving a possible weapon. A preemptive control hold might be necessary. As always, there are potential legal ramifications, including false imprisonment, if you forcibly detain someone, so you must be convinced that person has the intent and means to carry out his threat.

Rinaldo Rossi

Rinaldo is responsible for the national rollout of Israeli Krav Maga in the United States with senior instructors Don Melnick, Chris Eckel, and Officer Al “Poodie” Carson in coordination with the Israeli Krav Maga Association. – [FULL DISCRIPTION HERE]

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Sacrifice Throw

A series of throws where the defender goes down with the attacker, however, the attacker takes the brunt of the fall.

Same side

One’s same-side arm or leg faces one’s attacker when you are positioned opposite one another. For example, if you are directly facing one’s attacker and one’s right side is opposite one’s attacker’s left side, one’s same-side arm is one’s right arm (opposite the attacker’s left arm).

Seriatim Solutions

(a) Avoidance – avoiding conflict by removing oneself or steering clear of a potentially violent situation.

(b) De-escalation – verbal and/or physical cues to de-conflict or solve a possible violent confrontation by reasoning with a potential assailant.

(c) Escape:  physically running away from a violent situation.

(d) Counter-violence – krav maga tactical use of violence to incapacitate an attacker.

Simultaneous combatives

Simultaneous combatives:  As you defend using deflection and blocks, when possible use a simultaneous combative or strike.  In other words, defending and counter-attacking at the same time.

Simultaneous Defense & Attack

Key Krav Maga principle of combining one’s defense and offense into one complete strategy.

Stepping off the line

Using footwork and body movement to take evasive action against a linear attack such as a straight punch or kick. Such movement is also referred to as breaking the angle of attack.


Sidestep: Footwork that sidesteps a linear attack or takes the defender off the line of attack.

Scissors kick

This kick allows a defender to elevate a kick to deliver additional power. The scissors kick is delivered by the defender jumping up on the same leg that s/he intends to deliver the kick. The other leg is also “jack-knifed” up to help the defender elevate and deliver the kick. The scissors kick is most often used for a straight or roundhouse kick.


A larger step than glicha covering more distance to carry one’s entire body weight forward and through a combative strike to maximize its impact.

Shin to Foot

When defending a low roundhouse kick, the defender opens up to front leg to intercept the kick at the attacker’s foot using the defender’s shin, hence, “shin to foot.”

Shirthold Releases

These are defensive solutions if someone succeeds in grabbing one’s outermost garment:

  • Combative Strikes: use one’s strike arsenal to target the attacker’s vulnerable areas.
  • Standing Armbars: The shirt-hold standing armbar release against a one or two handed shirt-hold is a powerful technique which involves applying an elbow and joint lock to one’s attacker’s elbow. Once you have applied the lock, dropping one’s weight down on the elbow joint creates tremendous breaking pressure.

Short Inverted Punch

This quick punch allows you to cover a short distance to close on one’s opponent. Stand in a left outlet stance with one’s hands in loose fists. Punch as if you were connecting with a rear punch, except keep one’s pinky side of the hand facing the ground. The short inverted punch differs from the straight punch in that the knuckles are now vertical towards one’s target and the punching arm’s elbow is close the body.

Sidearm Retention

Sidearm retention is a foremost concern for the law enforcement, military and lawfully armed personnel. For sidearm retention, before the assailant can grab the defender’s weapon, Krav Maga uses basic deflection-redirection defenses with an one hundred eighty-degree hip pivot to take the gun-side hip away while simultaneously striking or creating distance from the assailant. If the assailant successfully grabs the defender’s holstered weapon, the simultaneous defense and attack principal dictates that with a typical Level 3 or 4 retention holster, the defender must secure the weapon with one of his forearms or his hands or by pressing against the top rear of the slide while delivering combatives with the free arm, legs, and, possibly, headbutts. In the case of a tactical thigh rig, both hands may be needed to secure the weapon necessitating knee strikes or kicks while turning the gun leg away from the assailant while tucking the chin to protect the throat.


One’s opponent is on his back and you are sitting up with one’s legs splayed wide and one’s arm controlling his head and possibly his arm closest to you.


A strong control position (example is to one’s opponent’s right) with one’s right knee pressed to one’s opponent’s hip and left knee inline with one’s opponent’s head. The elbow closest to one’s opponent’s head should be positioned on one’s opponent’s ear. There are different options for hand placement including through the opponent’s legs for groin strikes and torso control.

situational awareness

One’s ability to survey and assess potential threats and situations.

Six different levels of (in descending order) of situational awareness we refer to in Israeli Krav Maga:

 0: prepared to defend
-1:  Alert
-2:  Cautious
-3:  Aware
-4:  Semi-aware
-5:  Ambushed

(A description created by Sergeant Major (Ret.) Nir Maman when you are initially unprepared to fight for your life)


Controlled fighting where the intent is to improve tactics, build real-time fight movements, develop the ability to absorb strikes and test one’s mettle. Note, the objective practice one’s tactics and abilities without intentionally injuring one’s partner.

Spinning: moves/attacks

Where a fighter briefly turns his back to generate torque to then attack the opponent with an upper body or lower body strike.


Southpaw: When a fighter stands with his right leg forward in an outlet stance (as opposed to the majority of right-hand dominant fighters who stand with the left leg forward.)


Outside and inside Sprawls are used when you cannot react with a leg counterattack or by sidestepping either because your reaction is late or, perhaps, the attacker feinted some kind of other attack and then moved in to take you down. Sprawling backward keeping your weight on the balls of your feet, allows you to create superior leverage, preventing the attacker from reaching your legs.


How a defender is standing or positions himself while standing against an opponent.

Standing Guillotine Hold

The standing guillotine hold, if properly applied, is a fight ender. It provides you with a multifaceted attack: you can exert a standing choke, strike with one’s knees, and take him down (with the option of a pincered guillotine choke or neck crank.) One’s opponent has few defensive options. You can put one’s opponent in this extremely vulnerable position by combatives such as a straight knee to the groin that can force his head to sink below one’s if he attacks one’s legs with a takedown or you can transition from this hold to the neck clinch.

Stick Defense

Defending against a strike with a club or other type of elongated impact weapon.

Straight Punch

This strike is a core upper-body combative targeting the nose, jaw, or throat.

[THE] Street

In a civilian context, everyday interactions between people outside their homes in public settings.


Blows deliver by the limbs usually bifurcated into upperbody (punches, palm heels, eye rakes, elbow and forearm strikes) and lowerbody strikes (kicks).

Low Straight Defensive Punch

Dropping one’s level to deliver a straight punch targeting the opponent’s solar plexus, stomach, groin, liver or floating ribs.

Stop Kick Defense: Side Kick

A straight “stop kick” against an opponent’s side kick using a straight kick so that one’s foot is vertical when intercepting the opponent’s kicking foot which is horizontal.

Stop Kick Defense: Spinning Side Kick

With correct timing it is possible to deliver a straight “stop kick” against and opponent’s spinning side kick. You can deliver a straight kick to one’s opponent’s buttocks to stop his spin when he turns his back to initiate the kick.


If possible, use subduing techniques to de-escalate a situation quickly.


Submission: A lock or choke where the opponent taps out to indicate defeat before being rendered unconscious or having a joint damaged.

Suicide Bomber/Attacker

An assailant, usually under religious or ideological pretenses, who may be highly trained, partially trained, or not trained, but, who nevertheless tries to inflict as many casualties as possible with the conviction s/he is going to die.

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Tai sabaki

A Japanese term relating to “whole body movement” or tactical repositioning. Tai sabaki footwork usually involves a semicircular movement or up to a 180-degree step with one foot to move the body. It can be used to avoid an attack or to take an attacker down using a wristlock, positioning the defender in an advantageous position.

Takedowns & Throws Defense

The Israeli Krav Maga curriculum incorporates several throws. Founder Imi Lichtenfeld was awarded a black belt in judo by Moshe Feldenkrais, who trained in Japan directly under the legendary Kano Jigoro. At the green-belt level (third belt level in the traditional Krav Maga curriculum) Imi incorporated several of judo’s most accessible and effective throws and takedowns.

Takedowns "Flooring an Assailant"

You can put an assailant on the ground in three ways:

  1. Undermine his balance: Combatives include strikes, throwing.
  2. Undermine his support: Combatives include strikes, trips, and leg sweeps, especially on the front leg as he moves forward and shifts his weight.
  3. Lock his joints to force him down: When the defender is still standing, a heel hook is especially effective. The heel hook is best applied by using one’s hip and core, not just one’s leg. As you move one’s hip, drag one’s leg with you to ensnare the leg, while knocking his torso off balance.


Any type of trip, tackle, or flip of opponent


The following are Krav Maga’s seven core Takedowns:

  1. Outside Reverse Sweep (Osoto Gari): For the Outside Reverse Sweep or Osoto Gari, you’ll take out an opponent’s legs by sweeping one’s outside leg against and into the opponent’s inside knee(s) or lower leg(s). For maximum effect you can combine the sweep with a strike, shove, or hook to the neck. You can target one or both of the opponent’s legs and knees.
  2. Trip (Kosoto Gake): A same side leg hook to trap the opponent’s leg while forcing his body forward to drive his weight beyond his toes (from the rear) or trapping his leg and driving his weight to drive the weight beyond his heels (from the front), in either case making him fall.
  3. Two-Leg Front Tackle Takedown (Goshi Guru):  The Two-Leg Front Tackle Takedown or Goshi Guru takedown is a strong combative that lands an opponent squarely on the back of his head or at least on his back.
  4. Tomonagi: Japanese name for a “sacrifice throw” where the defender places one of his feet on the opponent trapping the opponent to fall backwards and roll the opponent head first over defender.
  5. Cavalier #1 Wrist Lock Takedown: The Cavalier #1 Wrist Lock is designed to use one’s powerful hip-muscle groups and body weight to torque an opponent’s wrist to take him down, while establishing strong control over a weapon for removal, if the opponent is holding one. A Cavalier #1 is usually preceded by retzev combatives against the assailant, including full-force strikes to the groin, neck, eyes, and other vulnerable targets of opportunity. Properly executed, Cavalier #1 will force an opponent to travel three times as far and three times as fast as one’s pivot if he is to remain on his feet.
  6. Scissors Legs Sweep (Kani Basame): Should you find one’sself on the ground with a standing opponent trying to gain position on you, the Scissors Legs Sweep or Kani Basame is a formidable takedown option
  7. Sidekick Leg Trap Takedown: Should one find oneself on the ground with a standing opponent trying to gain position on you, the Sidekick Leg Trap is another formidable takedown option. The goal is to take the opponent down on his back by damaging his knee with a modified foot trap and Sidekick. With correct timing, when on one’s side, use one’s bottom leg to catch and trap the opponent’s nearside leg in the vicinity of his Achilles.

TAKEDOWN & THROW DEFENSE: Japanese Core Throws

(Japanese Names used in Krav Maga curriculum):

  1. Ogoshi hip throw
  2. Kuruma neck throw
  3. Seo Nage one arm throw


Krav Maga utilizes six core defenses against a takedown from the front attempt:

  • Straight Kick or Knee to the Face
  • Boxing Defense with Tai Sabaki against Double Leg Takedown
  • Knee and Uppercut Punch Combination
  • Palm Heel Strike with Tai Sabaki sidestep
  • Wedge Arm Defense with Tai Sabaki sidestep
  • Sprawl (Inside and Outside) variations

Tap & Rack

(a slide-action firearm) To ensure a handgun’s functionality, one hits (taps) the bottom of the magazine to ensure it is securely seated in the handgun and then pulls back (racks) the handgun’s slight to ensure a round is seated properly in the chamber.

Tap Out

A signal used in sports fighting signaling one fighter submits to the other by tapping a few signs to indicate submission or the opponent gives up.


Telegraphing: Indicating, signaling, or “wiring ahead” or what a fighter wishes to do before a combative is launched (example: winding up with the shoulder foreshadowing a punch. Note: krav maga emphasizes not to telegraph hence, one expression, the hand leads the body regarding linear or straight combatives such as punches and palm heel strikes.


An underlying principle or key concept

Time in motion

Time in Motion: A concept of two fighter’s respective movements towards one another. Example: when parrying a straight punch, the defender must calibrate when to intercept the attacker’s incoming punch or when defending a straight stab attempt, the time and distance it takes for the attacker to retract the weapon in preparation for his next move.


Essential to a successful defense is correct timing: using the appropriate tactic at the correct time. Fight timing is harnessing instinctive body movements while seizing or creating opportunities to defend both effectively and logically. Alternatively defined, fight timing is the defender’s ability to either capitalize on a window of opportunity offered by the adversary or to create his own injurious opportunity using whatever tactics come instinctively to end the confrontation. Preemption and fight timing are an instantaneous fusion of instinct and decision-making. You have the choice to either preempt an opponent’s attack by initiating your own attack or wait to be attacked to exploit and counterattack a physical vulnerability the opponent exposes. While speed is not timing, speed can deliver a decisive advantage when the defender acts more quickly than the assailant. Krav Maga relies on economy of motion to eliminate wasted movement, which, in turn, improves speed.

Timing Kick Defenses: Punches

Timing Kick Defenses Against Punches: While requiring advanced recognition and timing, a timing-defensive linear Straight Kick or Side Kick can also be extremely effective against linear punch attacks. This technique will preempt your attacker before the attacker can land his punch. Note: Keeping in line with Krav Maga tactical and strategic thinking, these timing defenses are almost identical to the straight push defenses using both lead and rear leg timing kicks

Timing Defenses: Punches

A timing preemptive strike can also be extremely effective against punch attacks. This technique will preempt one’s opponent before he can land his punch.


SEE: [Takedowns and Throws Defense]


Japanese name for a “sacrifice throw” where the defender places one of his feet on the opponent trapping the opponent to fall backwards and roll the opponent head first over defender.

Training Reality

Making the Training as Real as Possible: Training will help you overcome the fight paralysis that can easily set in. You will learn how to alleviate fear, panic and other sensations.  You will learn effective physical techniques while mentally adjusting to a harsh violent reality.


Occurs when you pin or grab the opponent’s arms with one arm leaving you with free to continue combatives with one’s other arm.


Triangle: A choke hold where the opponent is either caught in vise between a fighter’s legs or arms where the opponent’s shoulder is in combination with the fighter’s thigh or radial bone (depending if the triangle is a leg or arm variation) is used to compress the carotid sheath to render a blood choke.


Taking an opponent down with a trip or a lower body combative (usually a roundhouse type of kick) that undercuts the opponent’s legs thereby downing him.

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Understanding Anatomy

The body can withstand a high amount of physical punishment. Adrenaline is a powerful energizer and allows the body to momentarily insulate itself against pain. The body’s resilience works for both victim and assailant. To stop an assailant, target the body’s vulnerable and vital areas using retzev.

Unlimited open training

You know a variation will come but do not necessarily know how or when.

This training allows one’s training to encompass the entire scope of a technique or number of techniques. Unlimited open training is used at the most advanced levels to resemble the street’s unexpected dangers. Using our above example, the exercise changes for unlimited open-training punch attacks as follows: you do not know which arm will launch the attack (right or left), what type of attack (straight, roundhouse, or uppercut, or modifications of these), or the attack angle (straight or from an “off angle”) and height (high or low). The point is that you do not know what is coming!

Uppercut Punches

The Uppercut Punch can seriously damage one’s opponent’s exposed chin, throat, or groin (the last target especially when you are on one’s knees and one’s opponent is standing).

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Visualization & Scenario Planning

Use one’s mind to train one’s body to automatically and instinctively react to danger. Visualization and scenario planning boosts one’s confidence, reduces fear, improves one’s fighting technique, and helps cope with unanticipated hostile situations because you will have envisioned them beforehand.

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Weapons of opportunity DEFENSE

Krav Maga techniques easily incorporate the use of firearms, knives, and various weapons of opportunity, such as loose change, keys, pens, cell phones, a belt buckles, or, even, spittle. Anything and everything portable could possibly be used as either a weapon or a distraction.

Weapons of opportunity DEFENSE: VARIATIONS

Defensive weapons of opportunity can be loosely grouped into the seven categories:

  1. Blunt objects. These include sticks, flashlights, stones, chairs, magazines, books, garbage can lids, briefcases, bottles, shoes, and wrenches.
  2. Edged or point-like objects. These include broken bottles, keys, scissors, pens, forks, and cooking thermometers. 
  3. Flexible elongated objects. These include belts, chains, ropes, jackets, and towels.
  4. Distraction objects and materials. These include keys, coins, watches, loose papers, cellular phones, clothing, spittle, coffee, perfume, and spray deodorant.
  5. Distraction and irritant liquids/sprays. These include spittle, coffee, perfume, alcohol, and aerosols. Note that certain liquids or sprays may result in a temporary or even more permanent blinding effect.
  6. Defensive shield-type objects. These include chairs, briefcases, duffle bags, garbage lids, and other shield-like objects.
  7. Immovable environmental objects. These could include such varied things as using a curb to upend an assailant, racing around a parked car when being chased to then turn opportunely on the assailant, ramming an assailant assailant’s head into the ground or a wall.

Web Strike to the Throat

When using this direct and fast strike, aim for the throat and more specifically the windpipe. This strike must only be used when confronting an assailant who represents a deadly threat to you.  If one’s timing and accuracy are correct, this can be a devastating first strike option.

Weight Drop

Weight Drop: When a fighter drops his body weight by slightly bending his knees to harness gravity to deliver a strike (usually associated with hammerfists or vertical #5 Elbow strikes). Alternatively, the term may be used where the defender sinks his weight to make it more difficult for an opponent to pick him up or when a fighter drops his body weight onto the opponent when using a takedown or throw.

Whipping Blows

This technique principally targets one of the opponent’s eyes, while the throat can serve as a secondary target.

Wrist Release

A rotational defense against an assailant grabbing one’s arms focusing the weakest point and angle of the assailant’s grip.

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Israeli Defense Force (IDF) or the Israeli army.

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