I am often told (by well meaning folks who are proud of their art) that a certain technique they are doing is better than what we teach in Krav Maga for a particular situation. I am even told that entire systems or arts are better. My response is “It may well be but what exactly do you call ‘better’”. In Krav Maga the only thing we claim to do better than any other system is to take people from zero to being able to defend themselves quicker than anything else. So to us, quicker is better.
Take Krav Maga’s knife defenses for example. I am often told that there are way better knife defenses out there. I say that there may well be better, but at a trade off we can’t do. Say that I have a grouping of Knife defenses that are indeed a bit more effective than what we teach in Krav Maga but they take 100 hours of practice to be proficient with. My other choice is some pretty simple yet fairly effective defenses that can be pretty much mastered in four hours. In Krav we take the quicker to learn. Most adults don’t have years to dedicate to perfecting an “art”. They need the basics to protect themselves with now. What if in hour 99 of practicing knife defenses someone puts a handgun in my face? The way Krav is set up in that 100 hours of practice time I’ve gotten down knife, stick, handgun, unarmed attack and many other defenses.
The next thing to worry about with the other guys “better” defense is for whom it’s better for. It may work fine for that big ol’ ex Navy SEAL instructor but how does that translate to the five foot, hundred and two pound female in his class. Whatever we teach in Krav Maga has to be effective for the smallest, weakest and most un-athletic in our classes. To have defenses that use size or strength to be effective is ignoring those who need self defense the most.
Back to knife defenses. I hear often that doing the Krav Maga outside defense against a very trained knife fighter is a mistake because he will pull back and cut the arm that we blocked with. I ask them, well, what would work with an experienced knife fighter? I would guess nothing much. To dedicate years to being good with a knife isn’t going to pay off if you come up against a guy who is better. I have heard that the top ten Filipino knife masters of all time all died the same way…from knife wounds. Ya know what we have in our system? A handgun course. I’d argue that you are better off with ten hours of good range time than 100 hours of training with any other weapon!
Now, when I am told that there are better handgun disarms than what we teach I get a bit lippy. I tell them that if what they do is better, more reliable, quicker, easier and more effective than what we teach that It would already be Krav Maga. We would have stolen it from them!!
When people say what they are doing is better it usually boils down to one thing. It is what they do…so it has to be the best. I always laugh because if, when they were six, their mama’s would have put them in a different dojo then that art would be the best! When asked “doesn’t that apply to what you do” I say “nope, we don’t have a system that is unchanging and must be blindly followed. We have the luxury of ditching a technique and adding something new if it is easier and more effective”. We in Krav Maga actually use critical thinking, look around for better and put everything under stress and exhaustion to see how it would hold up in the real world. BE SAFE!