Are Krav Maga Classes Worth It?


If you’re trying to decide what martial art to start, you’ve likely seen Krav Maga mentioned, although it’s technically more of a street fighting style. However, between tuition, gear, and the down and dirty style, many have wondered are Krav Maga classes worth it?

Here’s what I’ve learned from looking into it:

Krav Maga classes are well worth the time and expense for those looking to quickly learn highly effective self-defense techniques that can brutally subdue attackers with minimal risk of injury to the practitioner.

But that’s just a quick answer.

And before you begin any training, it’s important to identify your goals and see how they line up with both the art and the school.

So in this article, we’ll look at what Krav Maga teaches, how fast you can expect to learn it, and what it costs. But we’ll also explore how it both compares and differs from more traditional martial arts.

Let the fun begin!

Is Krav Maga effective in real life or in a street fight?

Krav Maga is highly effective in real-life self-defense and street fights, as Krav Maga was originally developed to help Jews protect themselves against the Nazis and later taught to Israeli military forces. 

So Krav Maga is quick to learn and brutal to be on the receiving end of.

The goal is to destroy the assailant before they destroy you. Or at least to be able to inflict the maximum amount of pain possible.

Having said that, Krav Maga (KM) practitioners don’t go around looking for fights.

They know, as almost all skilled martial artists do, that most of the time, it’s smarter to avoid situations that could lead to fights. In fact, I’d say that aside from competitive fights, the more skilled the martial artist, the more likely they are to use their skill against another.

But when you can’t avoid the fight or flee from the scene, Krav Maga can protect you.

It’s full of “techniques” you’d need in a real fight.

Krav Maga is focused on results: incapacitating the opponent as soon as possible. This entails striking at their weak points. Granted, it lacks the graceful, dancelike movements we often associate with most martial arts.

To give you an idea of its effectiveness, kicking someone in the groin, dislocating a joint, breaking their bones, striking their throat, head butts, even gouging out their eyes are all fair game!

(You’ll agree these “techniques” are deadly, right?)

In a really dangerous street fight, where one’s like is at stake, the aforementioned “techniques” can be life-saving. You’re also taught how to use weapons such as knives, swords, and guns and how to use everyday objects in your environment as weapons.

Remember, in a real-life street fight, there are no rules. And those who only know a series of choreographed movements can be at a real disadvantage.

You’re also trained on how to defend yourself, even while you attack, and on how to shake off hits from the opponent. KM equips practitioners with life-saving skills.

It’s super-effective.

How long does it take to be good at Krav Maga?

Krav Maga basics only take between 6 months or 12 months to learn and be able to utilize effectively. But it takes at least three years to master Krav Maga, training 2 to 3 times per week.

So in many regards, learning Krav Maga is much faster than learning more traditional martial arts. This is because Krav Maga is not really about learning complicated moves. And there isn’t a spiritual or mystical component to compliment the physical movements.

It’s practical, and you’re learning to use many parts of your body as weapons.

That makes you fast and deadly. One minute you’re using your head as a weapon, the next, it’s your knee delivering a disorienting blow to someone’s groin!

Even graduates of the KM training schools would argue that mastery takes a lifetime, which is understandable.

True mastery in anything takes a long time. Those who say it takes a lifetime imply that there are always new things to know.

And that even after one has done that, one can also refine and improve certain aspects of one’s grasp of the techniques. This is not unlike how a master pianist would probably play the same basic chords day in day out so that they can have an almost intuitive mastery.

That’s also what the Krav Maga black belts strive for.

But while a black belt in Brazilian Jiujit-su might take a decade, you can certainly earn one in Krav Maga in half that time or better!

There are three stages or grading systems in Krav Maga:

  • (1) practitioner
  • (2) graduate
  • (3) expert

If you’re just getting started, you’ll be in the first category.

The graduate-level is for those who are so proficient they can now be instructors, and the third level, the highest, is usually connected with the military.

The most basic stage has five levels of training.

How much does Krav Maga training cost?

The average cost for Krav Maga classes is $136 per month. Most schools do not require a uniform but may charge a 1-time registration fee of as much as $100. The sparring gear required can be a 1-time cost of as much as $200.

Overall, the average cost for Krav Maga training is highly reasonable, considering the value being offered. And, when you factor in the shorter duration required to learn it, it’s not expensive.

As in most things, the price varies from school to school.

It could be as low as $55 to $250 per month. But as I mentioned, the average cost is $136. The cost depends on the location, how old the school is, the quality of the instructors, and how much you get to practice each week.

Many schools charge a set fee and let you attend as much as you want. However, there are some schools that charge more depending on how often you train.

Another factor is the rise in the demand for it.

I do, however, go into a lot more detail about all the costs, including all the required pieces of gear, in a recent article. Just click that link to read it on my site.

And considering that you could learn it in a year or less (though the ideal is two to three years), some schools may take this into consideration in setting their prices.

After all, they only get to have students for relatively short periods, compared to other martial arts. There’s a high turnover (some students drop out) because they find Krav Maga too challenging.

We mustn’t forget that Krav Maga schools are businesses that have to pay for overheads and earn profits if they’re going to sustain the schools they operate.

And that their cost structure and operating realities often differ.

Why is Krav Maga so deadly?

One of the reasons why Krav Maga is deadly is because it’s super-realistic. Its goal is to destroy one’s opponent as quickly as possible, by any means necessary, while incurring as little damage to oneself as possible.

It’s not a “turn-the-other-cheek” art.

A‌ ‌lot‌ ‌of‌ ‌martial‌ ‌arts,‌ ‌especially‌ ‌the‌ ‌most‌ ‌popular‌ ‌ones,‌ ‌have‌ a‌ ‌spiritual‌ ‌component.‌ ‌Take‌ ‌Aikido as an example; the‌ ‌practitioner‌ ‌is‌ attuned‌ ‌to‌ ‌ensuring‌ ‌a‌ ‌peaceful‌ ‌outcome‌ ‌even‌ ‌when‌ ‌they‌ ‌are‌ ‌attacked.‌

They‌ ‌do‌ ‌not‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌harm‌ ‌their‌ ‌opponent even‌ ‌when‌ ‌they‌ ‌are‌ ‌attacked.‌ ‌They‌ ‌do‌ ‌not‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌harm‌ ‌their‌ ‌opponent.‌ ‌That’s so unnatural.

Integral to KM is the concept of Rabak. It means internal aggression.

So, Krav Maga trains you to be a fighter. A fighter, who instead of relying on peaceful means, uses their internal aggression to finish a problem (read: opponent) as soon as possible. KM equips you to be a deadly fighter. Nay, a warrior.

You’re probably already convinced of KM’s effectiveness but might be wondering not only about time and expense but about what gear is required for sparring.

After all, as brutal as Krav Maga can be, sparring gear is essential!

Check out a recent article of mine where I shared an in-depth guide on Krav Maga as a whole. Just click the link to read it on my site.

Which martial art is better: Krav Maga or Jiu-Jitsu?

Jiu-Jitsu is better for strength and conditioning, becoming more disciplined, and having your body learn how to naturally respond to challenges. Krav Maga is better for those often involved in street fights or where self-defense skills are often needed.

JJ is a martial art, while KM is more of a fighting system.

But both can build confidence, awareness, and both are deadly effective in eliminating opponents.

After all, Rickson Gracie, famed BJJ practitioner, retired in 2006 undefeated, with a never before seen record of 465-0. So BJJ is not to be taken lightly for self-defense.

As I hinted at earlier, an average martial artist’s mindset differs from that of a Krav Maga practitioner. The latter would use any means necessary to destroy an opponent as fast as possible. There are no holds barred.

In fact, one quintessential KM move is a guy trying to blind his opponent as he simultaneously tries to crush the fellow’s testicles!!

There are no illegal moves.

On the other hand, the JJ fighter is more of a rules-based fighter, while the KM fighter would use anything as a weapon. If you’re focused on self-defense, choose KM. In a real-fight, rules-based martial arts can be limiting.

Ever wondered what’d happen between a Kung Fu fighter and a Krav Maga fighter?

I believe that the KM fighter would win, but there are a few circumstances where a skilled Kung Fu practitioner might win out. (Remember Bruce Lee’s fighting style was rooted in Kung Fu). Find out more in a recent article of mine.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Conclusion

We’ve looked at a ton of interesting facts about Krav Maga.

For example, we looked at its effectiveness in real-life situations, how much it costs, why it is deadly, how long it’d take one to master it, and whether it’s better than Jiu-Jitsu.

Ultimately, Krav Maga isn’t a martial art.

It’s a self-defense practice designed to quickly, easily, and brutally render an opponent seriously injured. There’s no spiritual practice that goes along with it, and it’s not designed to help you avoid fights; just to finish them.


Photo which requires attribution:

EPO krav maga may 2016-73 by leopoldo de castro is licensed under CC2.0

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell was Academy Director for a large martial arts school for over 7 years, and has trained extensively in a variety of martial arts including Brazilian Jiujitsu, different styles of Karate, the Russian Martial Art of Systema, Aikido, and much more.

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