top of page

My journey into … and away from … "Krav Maga"

I have so many thoughts and emotions around the topic of Krav Maga. Some of them positive. Many of them negative. The negative emotions come from what I see many, if not all, Krav Maga schools touting as training. What “they” (the school owner/Instructor) tout as effective. What they say will work.

There are several reasons for these emotions. Something I’ve done for so long almost feels like a waste of time. The business that I own, that helps to provide for my family, is affected by these feelings. The identity that I’ve built, so many reasons why my emotions around what I see Krav Maga has become are strong. I’ve been associated with Krav Maga for a long time, and I have worked hard to distance myself from that name.

Why am I posting this? Because I’ve reached a point where I need to speak up. Is my opinion worth anything? Maybe not. But if I stay silent, I’m no better than those who continue to spread false claims. Are all Krav Maga schools a waste of time? No. Are most of them? Yes. Probably 99.9% of them.

Several years ago, my wife April and I were at a No Boundary Muay Thai fight night. Many of the area’s premier muay thai schools had students fighting that night. As we sat there, I could see each school’s students proudly wearing their schools’ sweatshirts. Hard Knocks, USMMA; very respectable schools with the name of the school on their shwag. I saw one Krav Maga sweatshirt in the crowd that had the typical Krav Maga claims: “Touch me and your first class is free.” “I am the weapon.” (Sigh)

This was probably the first time I was actually embarrassed to be associated with Krav Maga. I needed my school to be different.

Why do I think some Krav Maga schools are a waste of time? As of January 6, 2023, this is what a local school’s website claims their Krav Maga training will provide to its students:

"Easily expose your opponent’s weaknesses with powerful, life-saving counter attacks.

Take down an entire gang of thugs at once, using the moves they’ll least expect.

Effortlessly escape extreme chokeholds, headlocks and bear hugs and walk away without a scratch."

This school also claims to “turn you into a Krav Maga master in no time at all.” I didn’t check, but I’m sure they also sell snake oil.

If these claims were true, every amateur and professional fighter would be training at these Krav Maga schools.

Do all Krav Maga schools make these claims? No. They may not advertise these claims on their website or in their school. But is the training they provide any different from these claims?

This is why people who know what “real” training is see Krav Maga as a joke. A farce. A waste of your time and money. When schools start using terms like “effortlessly” to describe their training, run in the opposite direction. There is nothing “effortless” about training. Without a scratch … seriously??? Okay, I’ll give you this one. If someone put you in a RNC you’d be able to escape without a scratch. But you’d be unconscious. Or dead. So, I take that back. Unless they didn’t cut their fingernails.

What is “real” training? In my opinion, it’s when you have a resistant partner in unscripted drills, and when you make a mistake, there are repercussions. (Ex. Sparring, free rolling, etc.) Does this mean that you have to be a fighter to train? Not at all. You just have to be willing to challenge yourself, understand that it will take time, and stay consistent with your training.

I was lucky to have an instructor who has a very similar mindset about training as I do. So, if you’re in the Malden, MA area, Krav Maga Boston and Dennis Amato are legit!

These outrageous claims are why many school owners have become wealthy. They take advantage of vulnerable people and become wealthy providing confidence without the knowledge. They are writing you a check without having the gold to back it up. Why don’t they include challenging training to their classes? Because they know if it’s too hard students will quit. Because they know they don’t have the skillset to help you. Because it’s not really about teaching you legitimate skills.

Why do I think I’m different? Because I took an honest look at what I had learned over the years and wanted to improve upon what I knew. I consulted with coaches and practitioners of BJJ and MMA and got their opinion about some of the things in our curriculum. I switched from “Krav Maga” free-rolling and sparring to training more in line with BJJ and muay thai. I set out and started to train BJJ and muay thai in respective schools. I pressure tested what we taught, “quality control,” bearhugs, chokes, etc. I made MANY changes to our techniques with the help of my wife who has 14 amateur fights. I had set out to change other people’s perspective about Krav Maga. Did this help? Nope. Was it actually possible to change people’s perspectives? No. I realized that I couldn’t control what other’s thought. I wanted to bring a respectability to what I taught, what I knew. I was able to do that, but it wasn’t under the title of Krav Maga. I decided to distance myself from the name.

Is what I still teach at my school Krav Maga? Krav Maga itself is a combination of muay thai striking, BJJ, and wrestling. Add a movement here and there and you have Krav Maga. Krav Maga is a form of self-defense. Boxing is a form of self-defense. Muay thai is a form of self-defense. BJJ is a form of self-defense.

Do I hate Krav Maga? Absolutely not. What I hate is what a lot of people are claiming to be Krav Maga or effective training.

What fuels my passion for realistic training are the calls and emails I get on a weekly basis from people who have been assaulted, who have been bullied, who have family members living in fear. We will work hard to help you any way that we can to keep our students safe. It will be hard. You won't be happy. You may actually get mad at us! But it will be worth it ... and fun!

David Eaton, Jr. Co-Owner South Coast Self Defense

17 views0 comments