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Some Krav Maga Guidelines

by David Kahn, February 22, 2016

Footwork and body positioning combined with timing, whether standing or prone, allow you to simultaneously defend and attack, leading to seamless combative transitions essential to retzev or "continuous combat motion."

The key to evasion is moving out of the "line of fire" or the path of an opponent's attack. In defending an assault or threat, krav maga's essential philosophy is for the defender to close the distance and neutralize the threat. Clearly, positioning yourself where you can counterattack your opponent more easily than he can attack you is most advantageous.
Optimally, the distance between the defender and the assailant can be closed before the assailant can:

  1. Orchestrate the assault to debilitate the adversary with strong combatives
  2. Deny the assailant access to any weapon
  3. Achieve dominant control.

If a weapon is successfully deployed and put into action, closing the distance allows the defender to either deflect-redirect or parry the weapon in conjunction with body defenses while delivering withering counterattacks.

Most advantageously, a kravist will automatically move quickly to a superior and dominant position relative to his adversary, known in krav maga parlance as the deadside. Achieving deadside positioning often provides a decisive tactical advantage, especially when the defender can deploy a cold or hot weapon in addition to his personal weapons. Your finishing strategy should revolve around your capabilities and preferred tactics involving long, medium, and short combatives combined with evasive maneuvers and weapon deployment. Positioning becomes even more important when facing multiple adversaries.

Straight-Punch Defenses

As emphasized, krav maga combines, whenever possible, a deflection with a body defense to avoid an attack (including those with a weapon) and uses retzev counterattacks to neutralize the threat. Your defensive hand used to deflect the strike should always lead your body. In other words, your arm deflection should precede the rest of your body's defensive movement by fractions of a second. This gets you out of the line of fire or "off the line" to provide a double layer of protection, redirecting a threat while at the same moment moving yourself away from the threat. The following are select defenses and combinations.

Sliding Parry with Eye Strike

This defense allows you to deflect an incoming rear punch or cross while delivering a nearly simultaneous same-side eye strike. Parry the strike with your palm heel or lower forearm. Attack the assailant's incoming arm with your deflection. Use your same-side arm to immediately strike the assailant's eyes. It is an "opener" for you to continue retzev combatives.

Sliding Parry While Stepping Off the Line

This defense allows you to deflect an incoming rear punch or cross while simultaneously moving slightly away from the punch as you deliver your own counterattack strike to the throat, chin, nose, midsection, or groin. Note that this defense and the following related defenses enable a defender to use the same defense (albeit with opposite movements) against a straight punch to close on the assailant and neutralize the threat. Your hand leads your body defense to redirect the adversary's punch by sliding down your adversary's right arm while your right arm delivers a half-roundhouse counterpunch to the throat, chin, or nose.

Defending from Your Left Outlet Stance

Step to your left while bringing your left cupped hand diagonally across your face close to your right shoulder. The key is to deflect and step off the line, moving both feet together while simultaneously counterpunching. Do not lunge; keep your feet equidistant by moving them the same distance. You may also punch low to the assailant's body, targeting his liver, or deliver a hand strike to his groin. (These last two counterstrikes are useful if an assailant has a height advantage and you cannot readily reach his head to counterattack.)

This defense is readily followed up with trapping the adversary's right arm and placing him in a standing triangle "blood choke." Be sure to secure his right shoulder tightly against his right carotid artery while using the radial bone of your right arm against his left carotid artery. You could also drop him to the ground with an osoto-gari (one of the original 40 throws of Judo) type of takedown.

Modified Standing Triangle Choke

Slip your counterpunch arm around the assailant's neck, placing your biceps against one side of the main arteries. These arteries, the common right and left carotids, carry blood to the brain through the carotid sheath. Trapping the assailant's shoulder against the other side of the main arteries, clamp down in a figure four to execute a blood choke. Lastly, a number of strong takedowns are available from this triangular choke position, including taking the assailant down into formidable choke positions on the ground. In addition, there are number of devastating throws one may use to break the assailant from the modified triangle hold.

Notes:

  1. For the sliding parry defense, if you misread the assailant's straight punch—for instance, he throws a left punch instead of a right—stepping off the line properly will still allow the defense to work. You will have avoided the punch with a body defense (stepping off the line of attack) while counterattacking. In essence, you will "split" the assailant's hands with your counterpunch. The immediate danger is that you are still to your adversary's live side: he still may have the ability to mount an effective counterattack. The preferred defense is always to move to his deadside, minimizing his ability to counterattack.

  2. The inside sliding-parry defenses can be used when the defender is on the ground and slightly on his side. The assailant is braced against your topside shin with your other heel on his leg or hip to keep him at bay (sometimes known as the modified "Z guard.")   The key is a strong body defense moving away or deadside to the punch with a proper slide and simultaneous counterpunch into a chokehold.  Be sure to slide fully up his attacking arm as you simultaneously counterstrike using an eye rake or punch.  This will set up additional combatives, including (but not limited to) a short hook to the head or throat, and also position you on your side for a straight armbar.

  3. These sliding defenses may also be used with great effect against outside sucker punches if the assailant is slightly in front of you.  The finishes can be the same as described previously.  Timing—as with all defenses—is crucial.  You
    must step out of the line of attack in time to deflect and counterpunch.

Sliding Parry into Te Guruma (Hand Wheel or "Bucket Dump")

This defense allows you to deflect an incoming rear punch or cross while simultaneously moving away from the punch and delivering your own straight punch counterattack to the throat, chin, nose, midsection, or groin. Note: this defense and the following related technique enable a defender to use the same defense (albeit with opposite movements) to counter a straight punch and close on the assailant to neutralize the threat.

The key is to deflect and step off the line, moving both feet together. Do not lunge; keep your feet equidistant by moving them the same distance. You may also punch low to the assailant's body, targeting his liver, or deliver a hand strike to his groin. (These last two counterstrikes are useful against assailants whose height advantage does not allow you to easily reach their head to counterattack.)

This defense is readily followed up by trapping the adversary's right arm and delivering a right straight knee to the groin or midsection followed by a left over-the-top elbow (similar in movement to the over-the-top punch but instead using the elbow) to the back of the neck. Additional retzev combatives should follow, including multiple takedown options to land an adversary hard on his head. Once you dump him face first, continue with any additional combatives, such as heel stomps or taking his back, while administering punches or elbows to the back of his head or neck.

Steps:

  1. From your left outlet stance, step to your left while bringing your left cupped hand diagonally across your face close to your shoulder.  Your hand will lead your body defense to redirect the adversary's punch by sliding down your adversary's right arm while your right arm delivers a half-roundhouse counterpunch to the throat, chin, or nose.

  2. After you close on your assailant with your simultaneous counterpunch, to execute te guruma, transition your punching arm to control his torso.

  3. As you transition into the throw, sink your hips and thrust your other arm through the assailant's legs to first strike and then grab his groin.

  4. Load your hips property by bending your knees with your back straight.

  5. Still clutching the assailant's groin, pick him up to—in krav maga parlance—"bucket dump" him facedown or on his head.

The above excerpt is from Krav Maga Professional Tactics by David Kahn. Publication Date: April 2016

David Kahn serves as the Israeli Krav Maga Association’s U.S. Chief Instructor and teaches federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies along with all branches of the U.S. military. He is also a certified instructor through the New Jersey Police Training Commission and Mercer County Police Academy and also teaches at the New Jersey State Police Academy.


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