A distinct aspect of Krav Maga in comparison to many systems is the conditioned response built upon the body’s natural reflex. In Krav Maga we develop a conditioned response; thus if one was getting choked from the front the hands would instinctively come to the source of the pain and pluck. This simple choke defence technique is an apt example of the system’s philosophy. Keeping the technique simple and based on the body’s natural response makes it easy to apply under pressure. Krav Maga’s axiom is less is more. We live in a stimulus response world, every second counts, it is very important to have an instinctive conditioned response to an attack.
We counter attack simultaneously with the plucking defence which is another Krav Maga principle of simultaneous attack and defence. How we attack is flexible, it could be a knee to the groin, a kick, a head butt, palm heel, punch, hammer-fist etc. It all depends on the environment, position of attacker and your own personal preference. For example it would be stupid to try and knee someone’s groin if you were being choked over a bar. We continue to counter attack several times until there is no longer a threat or we are able to safely escape. We base our attacks on our acuity of the assailant’s reaction. This is quite different to the way that self-defence techniques are taught in other systems where you are taught to do a specific set of strikes in a given situation.
This simple and flexible approach is what gives the system its expediency as a top self-defence method. I guess it all comes down to how high you rate self-defence as a reason to practice martial arts. Being a taekwondo black-belt I can recall being told at a grading not to do anything simple and to impress the grand-master with Hollywood style techniques. However I would feel rather pretentious if I was to teach a spinning hook kick or any superfluous move as a self defence method. This is why I would describe Krav Maga as a military hand-to-hand system rather than a martial art form.
Having relatives who had served in the IDF; to me Krav Maga personifies the IDF mentality where equalitarian comradeship, devout belief in daring and spontaneity and individualism takes precedence over unnecessary regulations, formal guidelines and military patina. It is an honour to have the opportunity in teaching practical self defence used by those who protect Israeli national freedom and independence to the people of New Zealand.