'Krav Maga saves lives'
This weekend, Israeli combat specialist Eyal Yanilov will be in town to conduct a workshop on this dynamic martial art form. In an email interview with Dhara Vora, the veteran takes readers through the motions and methods of Krav Maga and what separates it from the rest
Krav Maga’s programmes are divided into different sections for women, children and the military police. What makes Krav Maga versatile and how does training differ for each?
Krav Maga takes into consideration the sector (advantages, disadvantages, approach and characteristics, capabilities, equipment that one has), the risks that one might face, and with the techniques, principles and methods of Krav Maga we give those belonging to the sector the best preparation to deal with violent confrontations. This martial art form is based on natural way of behaving, natural responses and reactions, daily moves, logic, science and experience. It is a system with defined characteristics, principles, techniques and levels. There are three pillars in Krav Maga: self defense, fighting skills and protection of others (third party / VIP Protection). Each sector (Police, Military, Civilians, Kids, Women, Special Units, VIP Protection Team) gets its curriculum according to their needs, abilities and risk analysis. We teach students to follow the law to avoid facing criminal charges.
Here’s an example — if an attacker attempts to stab you with a knife, it does not matter if this assailant is a terrorist, a drunken teenager, a street criminal or an ex-boyfriend. Also, it doesn’t matter if you are an adult civilian, a young woman, a police officer or a member of an anti-terror unit. If an assailant is trying to spear your heart with a blade, we provide the best solution. Depending on the type of defender, we teach the civilian to move away from the danger zone as soon as possible, the police officer to disarm and control the attacker, the anti-terror officer to eliminate the problem as needed in order to continue to the next mission. The equipment and objects that one has during the attack also matters. A young woman may have a bag she can defend herself with; the military officer may have his rifle, (which cannot be used for shooting due to certain constrictions) to defend and counterattack with it or use it as a tool for impact.
How can Krav Maga benefit a civilian?
From day one of training, Krav Maga teaches capabilities of defending and protecting of self as well as family members, friends and property. We teach techniques, principles, tactics and variations to deal with all the aspects of a violent confrontation. One develops the competency to deal with the stress that accompanies modern life as well as the ability to make decisions under stressful conditions.
Apart from physical fitness and safety, what are Krav Maga’s other benefits?
Over a decade ago, we started with a programme for mid and high level management. We called it Boardroom Warriors. This involved modular and tailor-made programmes based on Krav Maga training for the military and special units with technical and physical elements and mental preparation, strengthening and training. In the high-pressure and stressful environment of the modern corporate world, the lessons of the fighting arts are key to effective corporate management and personal empowerment.
What made you take up this form?
I took up Krav Maga as a teenager. I was a very good student, with no conflicts and fights at school, though I was intrigued and interested in the fighting arts, and in movies. I didn’t take up basketball or football like my friends. This art form fit me like a glove. I became an instructor at a very young age, and after obligatory military service and having studied Electrical Engineering at the university, I decided that this was the best way by which I could contribute to the world, make an impact on people’s lives, and also make a reasonable living.
What sets Krav Maga apart from other martial art forms?
The efficiency and practicality, the logic, the systematic thinking set it apart. It was developed and continues to be suitable for all sectors’ needs to prevent and deal with confrontation and violence. It is not a sport and has no rules that cause limitations and restrictions. We save lives.
How has Krav Maga evolved over the years?
It started as a collection of techniques for soldiers to be used in battles during early times in Israel. It developed during its use in the military and then in 1964, was made available for civilians after Imi Sde-Or, the founder, finished his 20 years of service. Krav Maga became structured with levels. In the beginning, we would train with similar grades / belts and uniforms like Judo practitioners. In the mid 1980s, we had the first main revolution in Krav Maga, and it became more of a system. I was involved in making it a coherent, technical and systematic method, with specific techniques, methods of training, principles and distinct ways. Imi made me in-charge of the development of the new curriculum of the system as well as writing its manuals. Years later, Krav Maga developed to be more of a tactical system, referring to any incident as a process, that had technical, tactical, physical and mental elements, steps and components.
What can we expect from this session-cum -workshop organised in Mumbai?
The trainees will be introduced to principles, techniques, drills and functional games. We will focus on defenses and counter-attacks; releases from grabs; dealing with unarmed as well as armed attacks; protecting others; mental preparation and more.