We often get asked what is the difference between Combatives and Krav Maga. From a technical standpoint, there is no difference. Just like how Karate is to Martial Arts, Krav Maga is a Combatives system. Krav Maga’s name means “Contact Combat”. The next question would typically be, then what is the difference between what we do and what a traditional Krav Maga school does.
First, let’s define what combatives means.
“A set of personal combat principles applied to an intentionally limited number of simple (predominantly Western) self-defense and fighting techniques that are easily recalled under duress and able to be linked, creating short combative sequences.” -Kelly McCann (Combatives for Street Survival)
Some systems of Krav Maga can fit this definition. Krav Maga under Imi Litchenfield certainly did, as that is what it was developed to do; to be a Combatives system taught to the Israeli military. The issue we have nowadays is many organizations have strayed away from its intent. They believe that if they keep it simple, students won’t stick around and might get bored easily. Many Krav Maga schools and organizations have gone the way of the Karate and Taekwondo McDojo’s. They have become very commercialized belt factories. Let’s face it, there are a lot of organizations out there that simply charge money just to join regardless of your skill set as an instructor. So what weight does that really hold. Even further, many of these facilities have really strayed away from the intent of Krav Maga and have become “Krav-ercise” facilities not unlike many Cardio Kickboxing places. Keep in mind, I’m not saying all Krav Maga facilities or institutions have become this way, but there certainly is a majority.
Where do we differ? The reason our program is called Combatives is because that is just what it is. Our Combatives system pulls from various systems including Kembativz, Krav Maga, Martial Blade Concepts, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA. If it works, is easily learned and can be done under stress, we want to do it. We rarely add content to our curriculum unless we find a more efficient way of doing something, and certainly not for the sake of adding content. More often than not, we eliminate stuff that we find doesn’t work under stress well enough. We keep everything concise. At times we do teach multiple ways to do a particular defense, sometimes from different styles. We don’t do this so you learn how to do it every way possible; that is exactly what we don’t want to do is give you too many options under stress. Instead, we teach multiple ways because everyone is different and we find some people will perform a specific technique under stress more naturally than another. Not every student is cookie cutter and we know that. People are big, small, tall, short, strong and weak. Some people have past injuries that make performing one method too difficult for their body. Your set of Combatives that you utilize needs to be custom tailored to you. However, the Kembativz Principles we utilize in our curriculum never changes and can always be utilized. We keep our system simple and that is intentional. If you came in to every class for two months you would see essentially everything in the system. That doesn’t mean you mastered everything, but Combatives should not take years to learn to become proficient. That is the point.
Keep in mind, I’m not disparaging Krav Maga. Like I said, we utilize Krav Maga in our curriculum. All in all it is a great system. It is worth keeping in mind though that it is currently running the risk of falling into the groove of becoming outdated. Like many other great martial arts, if they don’t continue to advance and remove/replace curriculum that doesn’t work well, that will be their downfall. The whole idea is to learn how to effectively defend oneself, not to build an arsenal of techniques simply because that is the way we have always done it. That is exactly what traditional martial arts have all done. Know why you are doing what you are doing, and stress test everything with realistic attacks/aggression.
So, should you come train with us instead of a institutionalized Krav Maga school? That is entirely up to you and your goals. If you are chasing after a black belt in Krav Maga for your own self gratification, we probably aren’t the right school for you. If you are looking to learn how to effectively defend yourself regardless of where the concept or technique comes from, we may very well be the right fit. There is only one way to know for sure. Come in and try a completely free week of classes and see the Faction difference for yourself!