Here’s a quick checklist of what you’ll need to start training – and a few things that will make your training easier.
To train Krav Maga, you don’t need a huge amount of space at all.
In fact, many trainees start out right there in the living room, or a garage (or even lawn, in good weather). As long as you have enough space to face your partner, and you can take 2-3 steps in different directions without tripping over furniture or animals, you’re good to go!
Obviously, with safety in mind, watch out for tripping hazards, sharp corners or edges, or other obvious hazards like glass doors, low hanging light fixtures, or stuff you could slip on.
If you have the convenience of a carpeted floor, it’s a little more forgiving than a hard tiled or concrete floor, but not absolutely necessary. In time, you may want to invest in a couple of soft rubber mats for groundwork – and you can use pretty much anything, from a yoga mat to lengths of fully vinyl-upholstered foam.
However, starting simple is always good. In fact, just STARTING is the most important thing.
Obviously, you need a training partner.
If possible, your partner should be as enthusiastic and committed as you are… it’s not always very helpful to “volunteer” a long-suffering spouse who’d rather be watching Netflix.
Look after your partner. Remember that certain Krav Maga techniques, applied aggressively, can cause serious injury or death, so while it’s okay to have fun, always exercise care and don’t be reckless.
Share information. Be open to suggestion and experimentation. Pay attention to the videos, and see how closely you and your partner can mimic every little detail. You’re there to help and encourage each other.
If your partner is not as strong as you are, or is physically a little softer, then do not execute your techniques with too much force. The object is to accommodate the strengths and weaknesses of your partner, so that you can both build up to a level of good resilience in a careful and progressive manner.
If your partner is registered on your enrolment form, then he / she shares equal status as a registered EDA student, and is free to communicate with us just as you do, with all the benefits, such as being allowed to participate in Krav Maga Belt Ranking tests (if you want to), receiving all the same material, as well as the support and feedback from our organization and instructors.
A significant part of Krav Maga training involves learning how to defend against various weapons (mostly handgun, knife, and stick threats), as well as learning how to use certain weapons (in our Beginner Program syllabus, primarily knife and baton).
In order to do that, you’ll need some gear.
You can use any reasonably sturdy toy gun for this, or else an actual training handgun made of plastic or rubber. Some folks have used home-made wood cutouts or plastic cutouts – and at a basic level, all of these options are fine, as long as they are similar to the actual size and shape of a typical pistol.
You can obtain rubber or plastic training pistols from most hobby stores that sell knives, airsoft guns, bows &arrows, etc. If you don’t have one nearby, and you’d like a sturdy solid plastic training pistol, you can order one from us.
Simply mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can help you. If you order several items (for example a training gun, training knife, and a clothing item), we can package these together and deliver them in one parcel.
PLEASE NOTE: If you're outside of South Africa, the cost of shipping is likely to be pretty high, and we recommend that you seek out training handguns from a hobby shop that perhaps deals in them, or alternatively, a company that supplies plastic or rubber training handguns to security companies or to law enforcement training providers. As a last resort, you can also cut out a reasonable facsimile in wood or plastic - a home made version is still fine for getting the movements right.
We recommend using 2 items to train knife defenses and knife use:
- A short length of hosepipe, about 20cm long
- An actual metal knife that has been filed blunt
Many martial arts like to train with rubber replica knives, but we don’t: a rubber knife does not prepare you for the reality of feeling, controlling and manipulating a real metal knife in a self-defense situation.
There is something very primal about the human relationship with steel knives. The human race has been violently exposed to them for millennia, and our bodies react with subconscious fear on a cellular level to the feeling of metal on the skin – and that’s why it’s essential to get used to training with a “real” knife, even though it’s been blunted and has had the point filed round for extra safety.
The “hosepipe knife” is for practicing very fast knife defenses, where even a blunt steel knife would potentially cause significant injury – and also for practicing actual use of a knife, so that you can “stab” or “cut” your training partner with speed and force. (Hosepipe is pretty harmless, but watch out for the eyes!)
TRAINING BATONS OR STICKS
This is very simple – have a variety of sticks to use for practice, ranging from hard to soft, and on average about 60cm-90cm long.
- Lengths of broomstick or harder wood
- PVC piping, about the thickness of a broomstick
- Broomstick inserted through the centre of a pool noodle
- Broomstick wrapped in foam rubber or layers of cloth, and duct taped tight
- Plastic toy baseball bat
- A mouthguard (either an off-the-shelf brand, or a custom dental fit)
- A pair of fingerless MMA-type sparring gloves
These are not essential in the beginning, but as you progress and begin to train a bit more realistically, you may want to invest in them. You can purchase these both at most sporting stores.
- A padded breast guard if you’re a woman. (We don’t deliberately punch each other there, but you might take an accidental bump which could be painful.)
- A groin guard if you’re a male. (Ditto)
- A headguard, if you’re worried about accidentally getting hit on the head too hard.
These optional extras are just that: optional. We take care not to hit each other so hard that we need layers of padding. We’re training for controlled vital target strikes and agility, not to punch like Mike Tyson. Hard striking should be practiced on a punching bag, and lighter accurate, fast strikes (done with control, precision and restraint) should be directed at a partner, even in sparring.
The good news is: to train Krav Maga, you can wear anything you like.
We recommend loose and comfortable tracksuit pants and a T-shirt, along with good footwear, like running shoes or sneakers. Obviously, if you have to defend yourself on the street, you might be dressed more formally, but let’s make training practical and comfortable.
If you’d like a regulation Elite Defence Academy Training T-Shirt, you’re welcome to order.
Again, just email us, let us know what size you’d like (order one size larger than you think you’ll need), and we can give you all the info.
BELT RANKING AND GRADINGS
Our Beginner Program covers all the techniques our students need to become proficient in at Yellow and Orange Belt Ranking Level, and once you’ve completed this first-step program, you can also qualify for belt ranking (if you’d like to).
The appraisals and grading tests are conducted via video feedback, and again, if you’d like more info on how that works, you’re most welcome to simply pop us a mail and we’ll send you full details.
Need advice or help?
If you experience any difficulty or have any questions about your training or the techniques you’re learning, you’re welcome to mail us and let us know.
We’ll reply as quickly as we can (usually on the same day), and if necessary in order to assist in an explanation of a technique, we’ll sometimes even send you a short explanatory video clip as well, either as a mail attachment, or via WhatsApp, or on DropBox (or any format that suits you).
Once a month, we also have an open video chat, where Des Brown, EDA International Chief Instructor, is available to answer questions, or simply to chat to you and get to know you personally. You’ll receive a mail a few days beforehand letting you know the date and time, and you’re absolutely welcome to join in.
Ready to train Krav Maga? Let’s do this.