What is effective self-defense training made of - read and find out!

What is effective self-defense training made of - read and find out!

I was happily living in my own bubble and thinking that the method I chose over 25 years ago, krav maga, is a very effective framework for self-defense. Don't get me wrong, I still think it is but reading "the big world" comments, I think that the brand has been RAPED... And unfortunately this will happen to all self-defense systems that are "incorporated". 

Anyway, assessing all the comments, in various forums, stating " bullshit to this and bullshit to that" but then going on stating that "you must learn how to grapple, you must learn how to punch and kick, you must learn how to deal with blades", suggesting that the person goes to train MMA, BJJ, Muay Thai or kick boxing and then some Filipino martial arts (FMA) and I'm thinking THAT's what krav maga is all about!?🤷‍♂️

Simplifying the complex

When I got introduced to krav maga, this is what I found out. Not yet simplified to this format, that I did myself:


When done the way it was intended, krav maga training includes all those areas mentioned in the comments! 

Now I've come to understand that there are a lot of schools and instructors who have taken the brand and turned it into something else. But all those aspects have been part of the krav maga I know and represent, all the time!


Initiative is everything, unclarity just makes it difficult

The key problem with self-defense situations is the unclarity of what is going on. When we're in the ring, cage or on the mat, it is clear. The game is on. The one having the initiative has the upper hand. 

In everyday life, especially if we're taken by surprise, it is much more difficult. Kick is a kick, punch is a punch and when you're pinned to the ground, you'll need to know how to get out, i.e., grapple. This takes the training back to basics: we must know how to do all those things in the picture above and then create the situations, or "scenarios", how they are presented. BUT if we think that a set of certain techniques will make us immortal, we're just wrong. Training with active attacker (term I use in skill acquisition) is the only way to test. AND then starting the game so that the attacker has the initiative. Whether it's intimidating behavior (harder) or just attacking you. 

No competitions in krav maga or self-defense systems in general, or are there?

That is where the belt tests and other testing days, such as scenario-plays, come very handy. Some go to kick boxing, some to boxing, some to MMA or BJJ to compete. Funny story here. I've been training kick boxing alongside krav maga but I've had a lot of trouble using kicks because instinctively I'm kicking to the groin or using roundhouse kicks with the ball of my feet as well as hitting hammer-punches with the base of my hand, all against the rules. In "krav maga sparring" all right but when the hard-wired manners come instinctively, it is impossible to delete them. BUT THE RESISTANCE TRAINING, aka "sparring", is the way to test whether we can deal with the situation or not. Plus adding blades and weapon threats there in the game as it happens in the "streets". 

Ingredients of a good self-defense curriculum

All self-defense systems, just as krav maga, are using the main characteristics of combat sports and using them systematically within their respective curriculum. All basic skills and action capacities that the combat sports have, must be trained in self-defense. To make the training safe, the same judgements about weight and gender must be acknowledged in the basic training as in combat sports as well even though in the streets this is not the reality. There is  time for that training but the basic skill set must be there before going to "the deep end". 

Self-Defense for the common person?


In the "comment section", the "voice of the fighter " is present. But what about the common person? The majority of the people I've met in martial arts have no intention or desire to be in the competitive sports.The first things we'll need to get to used to is somebody being close to you and then grabbing you! Quite a long way from fighting in the cage, huh😂

 Even the ones with more competitive mindset might go and do few matches but then decide to stick with the "normal training". Majority of these people want to get the ability to defend themselves should the "push hit the shove" and then that "competition" will happen in totally different place than the controlled environment and that places a great challenge in training as we should train for the "game" we're about to face. In the self-defense class, you are gradually brought to the "game". Of course, if you're not brought to the level of the "game", then we're just not going to get there...



The basic skill set of physical self-defense can be simplified to striking and grappling. Then we bring in the environmental constraints, weapons and objects and more aggressors etc. Integrating the startle-flinch reaction to all movements (techniques) and active attacker etc. You can train all these separately in their designated arts or you can combine these in a combined package as the self-defense systems do. Yes they can be BS but then they can also be very effective.  Anyway, educate yourself and decide what you want to get out of the training. 



How to train
My mission is to help people learn self-defense faster. That's why I wrote the book, "May the skill be with you- How to accelerate skill acquisition in self-defense" 
In the book I break down the self-defense training and skill acquisition in a practical way so that it would be easier for anyone to pick up skills.
Get the book.  
There is also an online course with the exercises available. 

What to train
There's 13 in a dozen online courses but only one that you can actually get immediate feedback from That's our kravmagacoach.com platform. The origin story of the platform is over 30 years old as I was training in front of a mirror and the results we're not so fantastic😂. Now that the technology is here, we can have that mirror in our smartphones and see the results, get some numeric and written feedback as well as visually see the differences and what to do. Train the curriculum and let me be of assistance on the way! 

We're putting out a lot of material in our YouTube channel so please check it out and subscribe to the channel @ https://www.youtube.com/@Krav_Maga_Coach 

Train Smart and stay safe!

Coach Tommi Nystrom
5. Dan, Krav Maga
Head Coach, Krav Maga Finland