How to Learn Krav Maga at Home: Complete Beginner’s Guide


Many people prefer learning online these days. And not everyone has a martial arts school near their home. But does that mean you can’t learn a self-defense system like Krav Maga? Here’s how to learn Krav Maga at home:

One of the best ways to learn Krav Maga at home is to take structured online courses that have been developed by seasoned and certified Krav Maga instructors. The second best way is to find YouTube videos with a high view count and a 90% or better thumbs-up ratio.

The first option is better because the courses are often taught sequentially, from the beginner to the advanced stages.

So, it’s unlikely that you’ll miss any vital insights. And, the instructors are those who really have the skills and ability to teach effectively.

But while it will be challenging to learn at home, especially without a partner, it can be done!

Let’s go get them!

Can you learn Krav Maga Online?

There are many online options for learning Krav Maga, from live virtual classes where the instructor can also see the students to YouTube tutorials as well as DVDs.

There are tons of resources online, such as websites, blogs, podcasts, and videos you can use.

Videos are the best because you don’t have to imagine what the moves are, you can see them. It’s easy to see how they can be deployed and countered in a real-life situation.

Ideally, you’ll want to use structured courses that take you from the most basic steps to the advanced moves. This is not to suggest that watching random videos can’t help. It’s just that a structured and comprehensive course offers you a lot more.

You’ll want to do some basic research before you decide on the best courses. It’s best to use courses developed by professionals who are certified, not some fly-by-night “instructor.”

You’ll learn better if you’re able to get a friend/family member who is willing to be your sparring partner.

After all, Krav Maga is a combat system. Your training will be more realistic if you’re actually “fighting” with another person while you train. This will help you acquire the muscle memory and reflexes you’ll need in a real-life confrontation with an attacker.

There’s almost always the possibility of being injured when one trains in any martial art or combat system, so you’ll also want to get basic KM equipment so that you can reduce the likelihood of being injured.

Having said that you could teach yourself, I must add then when you have the opportunity, a better approach is to complement that with life-training at a KM academy, where you can interact with seasoned instructors and students.

But are these classes worth it?

I explored the question in a recent article of mine. I explained that the classes are worth the time and expense because KM offers highly-effective training that helps you subdue (even destroy) an attacker with minimal injury to you.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Should I get fit before starting Krav Maga?

There’s no minimum level of fitness required before you get started training in Krav Maga, and there is no need to get fit beforehand as Krav Maga will build strength, core fitness, and flexibility just by practicing it.

Having said that, if you’re doubtful about your fitness, see a doctor before you begin training. KM can be physically demanding because it’s a defense system. Pure and simple.

To give yourself an edge, you can complement those with exercises that’ll help you become swifter and stronger. As we all know, in a fight where both parties are (hypothetically) equally-skilled, the swifter and stronger person is likely to come out tops.

And, getting fit is also great for your health.

It’s unlikely that you’ll be a walkover in a contest if you’re healthy and fit, right? So, don’t wait, you’ll learn as you go. Apart from the prescribed exercises, you’ll also come up with yours.

For example, you may realize that you’ll need to also pay more attention to sleep and nutrition, not just pumping iron.

You may even decide to take up “soft” arts such as meditation to help you reduce anxiety, become more confident, and focus better. “Little” stuff that can tip the odds in your favor if you ever have to give some bully a beatdown.

But have you ever wondered if Kung Fu is a better choice?

After all, we’ve all seen movies where the Kung Fu fighter soars and crushes many attackers in a few minutes! And, who doesn’t know Bruce Lee? Say you have to choose between KM and Kung Fu, which one’s better?

In a recent article of mine, I showed why KM trounces Kung Fu. KM is based on real-world techniques, not the graceful, alluring movements we often see in Kung Fu. Real fights are never graceful.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

What are the best YouTube channels to learn Krav Maga?

There are several good Krav Maga YouTube channels, including:

  • Krav Maga Street Defense
  • Stewart McGill’s Urban Krav Maga
  • Krav Maga Self Defense – Master Wesley Gimenez
  • KRAV MAGA
  • Krav Maga – Pompano Beach/Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • KRAV MAGA TRAINING
  • Aprende Defensa Personal (in Spanish)

I’ll also point out that many of the best channels are not in English, since this system comes from Israel. For since my audience is mostly in the US, and likely speaks English as their 1st language, I’m going to focus on the 2 best channels in English (not paid endorsements):

KMWKravMaga

Krav Maga Technique : Self Defense in Multiple Attackers Scenario - Stacking - KMW Krav Maga

Founded by Darren Levine, 6th-degree black belt and recipient of a Founder’s Diploma from Krav Maga creator Imi Lichtenfeld.

It started in 2009 and currently has 31 thousand plus subscribers. It’s always keeping up to date with developments in the defense system and meets quality assurance criteria.

It also has some organized playlists with videos for specific techniques and/or scenarios.

KRAV MAGA

HOW TO CONTROL AN AGRESSIVE PERSON KRAV MAGA

Alain Cohen, Black belt dan 5th, started the channel in 2006.

Be aware, though, that while his Youtube channel has mostly Krav Maga content, he has some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu videos also.

It has over 61,000 subscribers, and its videos have been watched over a million times.

It teaches techniques that equip anyone irrespective of height or size to be able to defend themselves in real-life situations. One of its key lessons is the power of pre-emptive strikes. The idea that it’s better to attack first. That action is better than reaction.

As I said earlier, there are many good channels. We only checked out two. You might be thinking that it’ll be great to complement the online training with real-life training in a Krav Maga school.

You might also be curious to find out how much Krav Maga classes cost.

In a recent article of mine: How Much are Krav Maga Classes? I went into great detail explaining the cost and what it’s made up of. Some schools include registration and other fees, while most do not.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

What is the best Krav Maga online training?

There are several awesome Krav Maga courses, including:

  • MaxKravMaga
  • Mastering Krav Maga
  • Urban Krav Maga
  • Krav Maga Worldwide
  • Udemy

But let’s look at my 2 favorites in detail (not paid endorsements):

MaxKravMaga

The founder, Eyal Yanilov, has been featured in some top-notch media platforms such as Black Belt, Fox News, and Discovery Channel. He’s one of the foremost authorities on KM. The course caters to all levels of students, from beginners to those who have had some experience.

It’s also great for law enforcement folks.

One of the things that makes the course exceptional is that the creator studied KM directly with the person who invented it, Imi Lichtenfeld, and holds the highest grade in the defense system.

He spends an average of 150 days each year offering life-training to swat teams, special forces, the army, and police units in different parts of the world. So, this is not some upstart who’s good at creating YouTube videos.

Check them out at https://www.maxkravmaga.com/.

Mastering Krav Maga

It’s made up of over 500 lessons that offer life-saving, real-life techniques. It’s taught in an easy-to-understand and easy-to-digest manner.

For example, new levels are added as you progress. Even new effective techniques are added as they’re obtained. It’s the same curriculum that’s offered to some of the most elite law enforcement officers in the world.

Its creator, David Kahn, is a KM authority.

Check them out at https://masteringkravmaga.com/.

How often should you practice Krav Maga at home?

Train Krav Maga at home at least 2 or 3 times a week minimally. While there is no substitute for years of training, training multiple times throughout the week will get much faster results.

We know from experience that the more we invest in anything, the higher our returns are likely to be.

KM is no exception. If you only do it once in a while, the results, if any, will be minimal, if not negligible or even non-existent. But, if you do it with the seriousness that it deserves in a few months to a year, you could be astonished at the level of confidence and skills you will have acquired.

Most of us are highly busy individuals who are time-challenged, and it’s easy to convince ourselves that there’s simply no way to fit KM into our already busy schedules. I can understand that sentiment. But, consider that we’re talking about a skill that could save your life or of a loved one.

It might simply be a case of re-arranging one’s schedule. Perhaps cutting down on TV shows or chatting with buddies.

If one can swing it, the best path, at least in the initial phase of learning, is to train a little bit every day.

It’s not just about speed. It’s about cultivating a new habit, making it easier to gradually see KM as just another facet of one’s life. You want to train so often that you no longer have to think about Krav Maga moves. In a street fight, there’s hardly time to think.

So, train as often as possible so that you can be swift, nimble, and deadly when you have to be.

How long does it take to learn Krav Maga?

The basics of Krav Maga can be learned in 6 months to 12 months, which is sufficient for self-defense. However, to master Krav Maga, it takes an average of 3 years practicing 2-3 times per week.

So it’s much faster than many martial arts.

This is because KM is not really about some complicated moves. 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!

And as I said, mastery could take 3 or more years.

This is assuming that you’re physically fit and that you’re training about 2 to 3 times each week. There are even graduates of the KM training schools who would argue that mastery takes a lifetime, and this 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. Even after one has done that, one can also refine and improve certain aspects of one’s grasp of the techniques.

That’s in the same manner that a master pianist would probably play the same basic chords day in day out to have an almost intuitive mastery.

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

There are three stages or grading systems:

  • (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 5 levels of training.

What Krav Maga techniques require a partner?

The moves in Krav Maga that are most dependent on a partner include takedowns, knife attacks, and joint locks. Most Krav Maga moves are better learned with a partner since it’s a combat system for defending yourself in a fight.

But, if there’s no partner, you can use your imagination, a punching bag, or a training dummy.

CLICK HERE to get the training dummy I recommend on Amazon.

But, the best option is to practice with a partner. (Be careful while sparring so that you don’t injure your “attacker” or get injured yourself.

Many techniques require a partner, but I’ll touch on these two key ones.

Takedown Defense

One of the riskiest things that could happen to you is if an attacker were to suddenly grab you from the back, with your arms pinned to your side.

It’s risky because they could carry you away, or maybe dash you to the ground! It can be disorienting if you’re not trained. So, what’s one of the most effective ways to escape their hold?

Once you feel the arms around you, immediately drop to the ground and sprawl. When they held you initially, you were like a neatly tied-up package (which is easy to carry), but when you “base and space”, it’s a lot more difficult for them to hold, carry, or take you down.

Of course, you can’t rest once you’ve escaped their hold—a kick to the groin, elbows to their eyes or nose. Fair game.

Knife Defense

It’s a terrifying scenario to have to contend with someone who’s wielding a knife!

Krav Maga has a simple and effective principle/process for dealing with weapons. It’s known as RCAT. Redirect. Control. Attack. Takeaway. Its application depends on the situation. Let’s check it out.

To get the move, you’ve got to know that you can’t relax at any point during the attack.

Because they’ll probably try to attack you again and again, so, you have to be ready to defend yourself and attack simultaneously. It’s hard to defend against stabs and slashes directly. So, you want to avoid being stabbed in the first place.

So, as the knife approaches you, the first thing to do is redirect it away from you (not directly, of course).

You should avoid the line of attack and simultaneously strike the attacker’s wrist/elbow or any other move that’s likely to make them drop the knife.

And while you’re doing this, you’re applying another deadly offense. A kick to the groin is not a bad idea.

It’s not over yet…if they’re strong, they may still reach for the knife, and you want to dispossess them of it. You want to take it away and flee.

What are the best Krav Maga moves to learn by yourself?

Without a partner but with a training dummy, the best Krav Maga movements which can be mastered alone include ground attacks, groin kicks, elbow strikes, and escapes from being attacked from behind or the side.

CLICK HERE to get the training dummy I recommend on Amazon. But, truth be told, all KM moves are better learned with a partner.

Let’s check out a couple of moves that’ll help you crush them. One common theme in these moves is that almost any part of the body can become an effective weapon.

Let’s examine the best Krav Maga moves to do by yourself in detail:

Attack from the Ground

ISRAELI KRAV MAGA SERIES | Ep. 30 Ground Defense Techniques

It’s easy to feel uneasy if you find yourself on the ground, and an assailant is about to pounce on and pound you. Be confident. One of the key lessons in Krav Maga is that virtually every part of the body can be a weapon.

As the assailant’s bending over, you thrust out both legs in a furious kick to their chest or face. Use a lot of force. They’ll fall back or have to mind their face for a while (if they’re not temporarily blinded). Don’t wait to find out. Flee.

Groin Kick

Fix your Krav Maga Groin kick

Yes, you read it correctly. Groin Kick.

All’s fair in KMville. The groin is perhaps the most sensitive part of a man’s body. There’s hardly any man alive that can ignore the pain in that region. To be effective, it must be swift.

After all, if they saw it coming, they’ll probably protect the region or seize your leg. You can use your shin, foot, or knee. You judge the distance.

If there is a bit of distance, the shin is the ideal weapon.

I won’t advise that you use your foot unless you’re able to gauge the distance. It’s easy to miss. But, the shin and knee are more likely to hit the mark. Use all the power you can unleash. They’ll go down.

Punching

How to Do a Straight Punch Combination | Krav Maga

It’s probably not for nothing that when we’re challenged, we almost always assume a “punching stance.”

The stance feels natural, and I suspect it is universal. A powerful, well-delivered punch might be all you need to end some fights, or at least to give you a few seconds to flee.

You can also use it as a first offense.

While the assailant is trying to recover from the effect of the punch, you could swiftly add a groin kick! Aim at the nose, jaw, neck, eyes (a delicate part of the body).

Punching seems basic. But, it can be highly effective. Ensure you’re not punching aimlessly. That won’t cut it. Have a spot you want to hit, focus on it, and then horizontally extend your arm swiftly. You could aim for an uppercut too. But, I think that’s harder to realize.

Go for a straight, powerful jab.

Elbow Strikes

How to throw an Elbow Strike - Krav Maga Worldwide Training w/ AJ Draven : Self Defense

Punching people is a more instinctive reaction. And, it’s effective. But, when it connects, the elbow could leave a more devastating effect. So, learn how to strike with the elbow. As long as you have an opening, you can use it.

It’s so effective because the bone in that portion is probably stronger than that in our fists.

Say an attacker grabbed you in the “classic” fashion, from the front, in a slightly bent position, such that your head is on the same level with theirs or is somewhat higher.

As long as you have one or both arms free, aim your elbow forcefully against their backs and shoulder blades with all you’ve got, and they’ll drop you. Make it a barrage of elbow strikes, not just one. It’s more powerful to use both elbows.

Punch Defense

Krav Maga : How to Defend Against A Straight Punch in a Street Fight - Self Defense Technique

A good fighter must be hip to how to defend themselves.

There’s no point getting beaten and hoping that you’ll make up later. In fact, some of the best fighters in MMA, for example, seem like weaklings. If you don’t understand their gameplan: avoid all strikes, clinches, and punches.

So, it seems as if they’re always running from the opponent. Actually, they’re defending themselves and looking for a great opportunity to attack.

Say an assailant is rushing toward you with a punch. Gauge the distance it’s likely to reach and tilt your head backward. Skilled fighters do this a lot. Tilt your head backward or sideways as swiftly as you can.

They’ll miss the shot.

And, be slightly unbalanced at that point, you’ll be too, so you’ll have to work on your footwork so that when you tilt your head backward or lean back, you don’t fall.

Rear Bear Hug Escape

How to escape the Rear Bear Hug (body lock) • KRAV MAGA TRAINING

Say an attacker grabs you from the back, and they’ve got your arms pinned to your side.

What can you do? Swiftly and forcefully execute a squat. That’s to say, drop down fast on the ground. They’ll be left holding air. If they’re tougher than you imagine and are still holding on tight, aim your Achilles heels at their groin!

360 or Outside Attack

(Krav Maga CDK) Outside Defense vs 360 Defense

Many attackers will surprise you as they grab, slap, or punch you from the side or the back. Forcefully unleash the side of your wrist as a weapon.

Use it to hit them with all your strength. Keep your arm at a right-angle to create a space so that the hit can have the intended impact.

Should I get a training dummy to practice Krav Maga?

A training dummy is essential if learning or practicing Krav Maga at home without a partner. Without a practice dummy, it will be impossible to master punches, kicks, or elbow strikes.

CLICK HERE to get the training dummy I recommend on Amazon.

Of course, a dummy can’t be the same as a strong, agile fellow charging at you! But, it’s way better than attacking an “invisible” bully. It’ll help you improve your skills because you actually have a target to direct your KM skills at.

The dummy is made by Combat Sports.

It’s made of durable and easy-to-wash military-grade vinyl. It comes in a variety of sizes and weights, so you could easily choose the one for your “division.” Hundreds of reviews and almost all 5-star ratings too!

It also comes full, so no need to find padding or stuffing for it when it arrives.

It also will stand up on its own or can be used on the ground.

However, I would most likely get some straps to hang it from the ceiling from a hook for the stand-up work. That way, you don’t have to stand it back up after every hit.

Practice strikes, groin kicks, submissions, throws, takedowns over and over again; no partner needed!

Again, CLICK HERE to check the current price on Amazon.

Conclusion

Phew! We covered a lot.

In the preceding paragraphs, we explored a variety of issues about learning Krav Maga. We looked at if it’s even feasible, how to go about it, the best courses, and the best YouTube channels.

We also looked at if you have to be fit before you can train Krav Maga, we looked at some killer KM moves (attacks and defense), we checked out two courses.

One of the courses is by a master who trained directly with the founder of Krav Maga. We wrapped it up by looking at an aid that could make learning it on your own a tad easier.


Photo which requires attribution:

NYC Krav Maga – Gabi Noah Demonstrate Police Tactics and 3rd Party Protection (image taken from video, cropped, and edited) by T S 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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