What it Is
Krav Maga became the official fighting system of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) when Israel became its own state in 1948. The discipline uses real-world techniques to get people out of dangerous situations and is still used by Israeli soldiers today.
Prepare to Learn It
Work on transitioning to a fighting stance quickly. Stand passively, feet shoulder-width apart, with your weight on the balls of your feet and your hands at your sides. Then, take a step forward with your left foot if you are right-handed (or vice versa), bend your knees, and bring your hands up toward your face, dropping your elbows to your rib cage. Your hands will be slightly open and your chin will be tucked in, to simulate how you’d really move in the street, according to Jarret Waldman, senior lead instructor at Krav Maga Worldwide, based in L.A. Try this for 3 sets of 10, yelling as you go each time, only resting long enough to catch your breath. “The idea is to go from 0 to 60 in an instant,” says Waldman.
Your First Class
After a 10-minute warm-up, you’ll do calisthenics (pushups, crunches, stuff like that) and then get right into the techniques you use to stop an attacker—punches, kicks, elbows, knees, head butts, eye gouges, and throat strikes. Expect to get jacked if you attend class regularly, since you’ll be hitting pads often. “Students definitely strengthen their bodies and lower their body fat content during the class,” says Waldman. You’ll also likely participate in team-based drills: Expect scenes like one student pounding on a pad while another pulls him away from it with a strap or band. “The drills are designed to build aggressiveness and focus the student on destroying a target,” says Waldman.