Martial Arts Like Krav Maga

Krav Maga is a style of martial art which is basically military-oriented with emphasis on self-defense and hands-on training. There are other styles similar to Krav Maga with its down and dirty tactics and practical street oriented techniques.

I suppose at the top of the list would be Defendu. It is a system originally designed by a British police officer who had been stationed in Shanghai, China before World War II; the fighting system was used by British special forces during the war; it was also the basis for early American special forces and secret intelligence training. It is based in practical street combat, with strikes, knees and some locks and throws, along with disarms and weapons training. Here is a modern version of it, which I think shows its “keep it simple” nasty street tactics.

As you can see the technique being demonstrated amounts to a few devastating yet simple and straight-forward strikes, a good knee to the body (I’d say, preferably the groin) and then control of the head that leads to the take down and further control. That’s devastating special forces military type technique, the kind of technique anyone could perform with enough training. Makes me think of how many warriors in the Filipino martial arts were trained in the old days; you learn some effective, but simple, devastating techniques that will work and can be learned in a short amount of time.

Kenpo and its derivatives can be said to be similar to Krav Maga. Kenpo also has elements of military combat, wrist locks and disarms, swift take downs that lead to control (getting him off his feet so he can’t fight), vicious and quick strikes and devastating knees, elbows, low kicks and head butts. Kenpo goes right for the jugular, and groin kicks are commonplace at the Kenpo training hall. Kenpo emphasizes what is practical, what a person can naturally do, sticking to low kicks, lots of hands and lots of control of the opponent.

commando training

By Yash Mody ( [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Jeet Kune Do (JKD) is another practical and eclectic martial art comparable to Krav Maga. One aspect of JKD that makes it particularly similar to Krav Maga is its emphasis on a student finding his own “style”, his or her own way of doing things. Attributes are developed and certain basic technique is learned, drills are performed, but it’s up to the student to decide how they will apply their art. After all, what comes naturally to you is what you will most likely do well in a real situation that requires you to defend yourself.

So, those three arts have some basic similarities to Krav Maga in that they emphasize practical, down and dirty fighting oriented toward real combat and the tendencies of the student.

Featured image: By Ekmt (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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