The Warrior Arts

The Question: What is the best art for personal self-defence?

Krav Maga is about preparation for doing battle for your life.

Krav Maga is about preparation for doing battle for your life.

Joel Huncar

I have been asked many times about what art is best suited for self-protection (self-defence) and I have not one solid answer after all these years of training and research. However, I will say this for the person who is looking for a quick and effective way of learning how to protect oneself and you live here in Cranbrook; Krav Maga is the best you will find in this area.

This is a unique fighting system that simply teaches combatives as opposed to martial arts; and for personal-protection you don’t need martial arts, you need effective tactics and a warrior’s mindset, which is exactly what you will get from Krav.

Full contact combat sport systems offer a lot for the self-defence enthusiast because they train to fight. Muay Thai, boxing, and Brazilian jiu jitsu are all great sport systems that are great for self-defence, however these arts will give great skills and the ability to overcome a fully resisting opponent, they do lack a few very important things you need in a true self-defence system. Also some people may not have the physical ability to be able to do these arts.

Sport fighting, for instance, lacks the proper mindset for self-defence, sport fighting is a contest and not a survival based struggle Sport fighting is hampered by rules of conduct; for example ripping at an opponent’s eyes with your finger nails or a pointy object would be frowned upon in even the most extreme fight sport, but is something self-defence practitioners would think a good and very recommended tactic. “Dirty” fighting is the bread and butter of personal-protection training.

In combat sports you to fight a single opponent; this is not the reality of criminal violence. You need to train for multiple opponents if you are training to defend yourself against violent predators who will use every possible advantage against you and group assaults are more the norm in criminal violence than the exception. If your self-defence system does not train for this it is not really training you for self-defence. This is something that is covered not rarely; but in a typical class in Krav Maga.

The final thing that is missing in sport fighting is the use of weapons and the defence against them. If you don’t have the mindset of a weapons user you are not prepared for the violence that is common in our culture these days. Knife assaults are common in even small communities. Don’t kid yourself criminal violence is not squaring up and fighting; it comes from ambush and is completely ruthless. Without the proper mindset you will not be ready for this, even with the proper mindset you are only given a better chance of survival, there are no simple answers to this type of violence, however the complicated ones definitely have no place in real violence.

Simplicity, ruthlessness, brutality and maximum damage are the keys to surviving real violence and Krav Maga teaches exactly that. It is easy to learn and quick to apply. You can take a class and walk away with a skill you can use right away instead of learning skills that take years to master. This is not the mindset of most traditional martial arts, which are technique based rather than being based in principals. Techniques can often fail under pressure because emotion clouds coordination and timing. Technique training does not create emotion or replicate the ugly gross motor frantic pace of real violence. Krav training on the other hand embraces that.

Krav Maga is about preparation for doing battle for your life. It is Israeli military training adapted for private citizens. The learning curve is very quick and I can think of no fighting system that will prepare you quicker for real violence. I personally would add the weapons training of Filipino martial arts to it but that is my bias and FMA is my passion. Krav however is truly a self-defence art and there are few martial arts that are actually designed to face and overcome real violence. Many have transferable skills because the practitioners actually fight. However few have the broad spectrum of preparation you get from Krav and definitely none of the martial arts taught in our community do. Some will claim but they focus on so many things, Krav Maga focusses on one thing, surviving violence.

So when people ask me what martial art is best for self-defence, I say there are many. Modern Cimande silat, and Urban Survival Systems are great. Arnis and Eskrima if taught right are fantastic. Full contact sport fighting like Muay Thai and Boxing are very good as well. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is excellent for one on one fighting. There are excellent clubs for these disciplines in Cranbrook, Eagles Boxing is fantastic and Brian Hamm offers a great place to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and we offer Muay Thai at Rocky Mountain Martial Arts as well as one of the best Eskrima programs in Western Canada. (yes, I am tooting my own horn a bit)

However the best self-defence program offered in our community is Krav Maga and I am proud that Coach Chadwick Dueck and Coach Troy have chosen our gym to make their home. We truly have the most diverse and broad spectrum of martial arts to offer in any gym in Cranbrook, and I am very fortunate to have gathered such a great coaching staff at our gym. One of the great things about Chad is he comes from a background in combat sports, he has boxed and coached boxers for years and was an assistant coach at the Hell House Submissions Wrestling school here in town. Chad has forgotten more about sport fighting than most other coaches actually know. This background allows Chad to pull from the best of full contact sport fighting and the reality based fighting taught in Krav Maga. Coach Troy on the other hand has a background that is very extensive and would require another article to cover. In my opinion Chad Dueck is the best stand up fighting coach in Cranbrook and one of the best I have ever trained with and Coach Troy is one of the most dangerous men I have ever met when it comes to physical violence.

If its self-defence you are after come and see what Krav is all about and see why I say it is the best personal protection program you can find in the Kootenays. Don’t mistake other programs for pure self-defence, at best they offer some good transferable skills, Krav on the other hand is pure combat science and a lot of fun to train as well.

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