Karate Or Krav Maga For Self Defense?

Training in a martial art form could be the key to saving your life. If you live in a high crime area, or know someone who was recently attacked, you may feel especially vulnerable. The key to combating your fear is to empower yourself with specialized training, but how do you know which form suits you best? Taking a class once or twice on self defense is a great start. But it's not enough.

A special thing happens when you train in self defense. When your body is pumped full of adrenaline and an attack actually takes place, the body is able to take over when fear clouds the mind. Furthermore, training in a martial art form helps build strength and confidence. Two of the most popular self defense martial art forms are karate and Krav Maga. Understanding their purposes will help you to choose which form you should study.


The word, karate, derived from the Japanese words kara and tai, literally means "empty hand". Karate is an ancient method that was developed for self defense against an attacker without the use of a weapon. It's effectiveness in defense comes from a thorough knowledge of the body's pressure points and a mastery of striking them on an opponent while protecting one's own pressure points.

This method is effective as self defense because of the unpredictable nature of attack. An attacker is not going to announce himself to his victim and say, "Hey, grab your weapon. I'm going to attack you." He will do his best to sneak up and catch his victim unaware. Karate is also a discipline with many rules of how to fight.  

Krav Maga

Krav Maga is a new martial art currently marketed towards women. As the physically weaker sex, women are particularly vulnerable in an attack against a man. Krav Maga, as a discipline, is less than a hundred years old, as it was developed in the early 1930s. The father of Krav Maga, Imi Lichtenfield, taught his method to the Israeli army to defend themselves against Nazi fascists and is still the official method of defense taught in physical training for the Israeli army and police force. Krav Maga comes from the Hebrew language and literally means, "combat touch."

The rules of Krav Maga are that there are no rules. The goal is always to stop an attack by any means necessary. This means that with a weapon or without, anything goes. The vulnerable parts of the body, such as a man's groin, are especially targeted. This method is effective because it teaches you how to use your surroundings to your advantage. 

For more information about martial arts, contact a center like the Newbury Park Martial Arts Center.