Somebody asked me the other day: “How many Krav Maga techniques do you know?”
They meant it sincerely, but I had to chuckle, because it’s the equivalent of somebody in a gym asking: How much do you bench press, bro?”
My answer to the question, quite honestly, was “I don’t really know”, but I suppose if you had to quantify it, it would run into several hundred techniques and sub-categories, which is to be expected if you’ve been practicing a skill for almost two decades.
Here’s the thing, though: learning techniques is not the only goal of smart Krav Maga.
Yes, of course you need to know specific modes of movement and practical physical methods, no argument there. But “learning techniques” is only a stepping stone, only a doorway into a far deeper and more intelligent application of Krav Maga.
Another question I frequently get asked, is: “Your Krav Maga looks different, but what is it that actually sets it apart from so many other systems out there?”
The answer? The Elite Defence Academy International system of Krav Maga is principle-based.
PRINCIPLES ABOVE TECHNIQUE
Several years ago, when EDA was still affiliated with an Israeli-based Krav Maga organization, one of the things I quickly noticed was that the teaching being given was based entirely and only on knowing physical techniques.
“If the opponent does this, then you do that.” Simple.
Simple, yes, but not very effective – because there was no framework for explaining why you should “do that”.
And when I would ask about this, I was met with a puzzled silence. So, as part of my journey in mapping out not only what we should teach, but how to teach it more accurately and intelligently, I gradually evolved a list of 16 key Krav Maga principles for Elite Defence Academy International.
And these principles are the invisible factors, the “operating system”, that sets us apart from dinosaurs who still teach the old “kick and punch and try to be fierce” paradigm of Krav Maga.
Why are these “invisible factors” so important?
Because intelligence – and combat intelligence – consists of having superior pattern recognition. And superior pattern recognition leads to faster reflexes, smarter tactics, and greater power (or firepower) in a fight for your life.
You see, techniques are simply methods of learning principles. They are not goals in themselves.
And once a student begins to grasp the connectedness of the underlying principles, something amazing happens: they begin to think “outside the box”, with the understanding that nothing is rigid, but that everything becomes adaptable. And that little flash of insight is what enables a student to instantly change tactic if an aggressor does something unexpected or unpredictable; it’s the ability to apply intuitive insight to a situation and to choose the smartest, most effective course of action.
Our 16 key principles of Krav Maga seem simple, but they’re deeply interwoven into everything we do, and are underscored by our Prime Directive, the preservation of life.
To someone who doesn’t train in our system, this may look like a random collection of “insider jargon”, but when these principles are explained in detail, you instantly see why they’re so incredibly important - and how deeply they connect to each other.
Knowing these principles – and how to apply them – accelerates learning in Krav Maga. It also autocorrects performance faults, as well as giving insight into how to develop greater power and speed with less effort.
For an example of this, and an explanation of one of our core principles, you’re welcome to check out my article on the 3 C’s.
REMEMBER, YOU STILL NEED TO BE ABLE TO FIGHT!
Here’s another (obvious) truth: in combat, in a fight for life and death, being “more intelligent” or having “deeper insight” aren’t the only skills you need.
You also need to be able to fight. You need educated aggression. You need physical skill and resilience, courage, speed, power, accurate reflexes, laser-sharp focus, tactical instinct, the ability to deal with pain and shock, and a powerful reservoir of fighting spirit.
These are also qualities you learn in our training system– and we develop those as a priority, of course.
But those qualities and skills, on a purely physical level and viewed individually, are limited and often fragmented in a crisis situation. An understanding of deeper principles is the glue that holds them together.
And, most importantly, when you have a decent grasp of these underlying principles, they set you free from rigid techniques, and you start to enter a space where you’re not confined by a “system” or a “style” – the space in which combat intelligence asserts itself.
This, by the way, is not a new concept: it's been part of the deeper aspects of the martial arts for millenia.
In the beginning, an EDA Krav Maga student learns techniques, and learns them well (and this is obviously important). But there comes a point where “technique for technique’s sake” becomes an impediment, and a student needs to be taught how to enter a state of flow.
The “state of flow” is where responses now move beyond conscious thought.
They now become the domain of the subconscious mind, which can think and react hundreds (perhaps thousands) of times more quickly and accurately than our rational minds can.
It’s also vastly more creative, and operates in a realm where there is a tremendous amount of clarity and insight that is often beyond our conscious comprehension.
TAP INTO YOUR STATE OF FLOW
A real fight – a fight where someone is trying to kill you and you’re trying to kill them back – is really fast, and overwhelming on multiple levels. You cannot hope to win by playing the “if he does this, then I do that” game – you will die.
You need to be able to tap into something far more powerful than your conscious skill set and beliefs.
And that is why learning how to harness the power of principle-based learning changes everything.
It becomes a doorway into a more intelligent (and more powerful) way to practice Krav Maga.