Students of Krav Maga often ask how they can improve their Krav Maga skills, timing and balance during sparing and combat. And the number one answer is, by improving their core body strength. Oh, and doing some yoga.
Krav Maga is an exceptional self-defence and contact combat system. I call it the “combat equaliser”. Why is that? Krav Maga is designed to give any trained person, regardless of age, gender and size, a real edge against bigger, stronger and armed opponents. And Krav Maga does this with stunning efficiency.
Krav Maga – the combat equaliser
But of course, as with any physical skill, the more you practice and the more skilled your instructors and team members, the better you get. That almost goes without saying. However, there are a few things that you can do that will really support and supercharge your Krav Maga training and technical ability.
Firstly, focus on core body strength and secondly maintain and extend your body’s flexibility. We’ll talk about flexibility in future blogs. For now, I want to look at the relationship between Krav Maga and core body strength.
What does core strength mean?
It is defined as strength in the underlying muscles of the torso. This would include the abs, the hips, the pelvic area and all the muscles stabilizing the spine. So, why is core strength important for Krav Maga and why do we focus on it in our training?
There are three reasons.
Firstly, you will hear the term “body weight” frequently during your Krav Maga training. This is a prevailing principle in Krav Maga. It is defined as “the technical act of using the weight of the whole body as a tool to improve the efficiency of a strike”. 1
Almost every gross motor skill we apply in Krav Maga is driven by the torso. That includes punches, elbow strikes, hammer blows, knee strikes, kicks and even aspects of chokehold releases, pinned-to-ground releases and weapon disarmaments.
Once you are trained to use your body weight effectively and tactically in Krav Maga, paired with some core strength training, you will experience exactly why Krav Maga is such an efficient self-defence system and why a relatively small trained woman can prevail over an adult male attacker.
The second benefit is that improved core strength will give your Krav Maga movements stability and balance. You will be able to strike with precision and recover to exactly where you want to be and ready for the next strike.
And thirdly, with a little attention to core strength you will enhance your ability to flow from one strike to the next in a smooth, relentless sequence that is characteristic of Krav Maga. In fact, this is a defining principle of Krav Maga and it is called “retzev”.
I’ll be talking more about Krav Maga gross and fine motor skills, the benefits of flexibility training (yes, I do mean yoga) and what happens to the body during the stress and adrenalin rush of a real fight in future blogs.
For now, get going on those crunches, side planks, pushups, sliding pikes, oblique reaches and spider lunges. Include both static and dynamic core strengthening exercises as they serve different purposes. 15 minutes a day, 3-4 times a week and you will see the benefits almost immediately in your Krav Maga.
Happy training everyone.
*1 Beginners Guide, 2014 – European Federation of Krav Maga (FEKM)