THE ELITE DEFENCE ACADEMY SYSTEM of Krav Maga is unique in many respects.
Many ‘traditional’ Krav Maga systems base their effectiveness on raw power, strength,
and aggression. This is an approach which requires that a practitioner be at a high level
of strength and ability for a technique to succeed against a strong, determined attacker.
By contrast, our Krav Maga system offers a practical, intelligent method of using physics, biomechanics, combat psychology, and levers, combined with universal principles of movement that enhance speed and striking power, to overcome a stronger, larger opponent – and it is a system that works for anyone, regardless of size or strength.
On a visual level, about 80% of our technical syllabus appears very similar to techniques taught by many other ‘styles’ of Krav Maga around the world, but this resemblence is only superficial. Upon closer examination, you can see that the Elite Defence Academy Krav Maga system is based upon a foundation of unique and subtle movements and modes of execution that are recognizably different.
There are also several individual techniques and underlying principles within our system that are nothing like ‘traditional’ Krav Maga – and yet they are tremendously effective.
Our system of Krav Maga has been demonstrated, over the last 15 years, to be very
powerful and highly effective. In addition to men and women from all walks of life, we
also train specialist military and law enforcement personnel, often in contexts where
these practitioners face life-and-death close combat situations on a regular basis.
Repeatedly, our system has proven itself to be successful, often under incredible
pressure and against overwhelming odds.
“The secret of all victory lies in the organisation of the non-obvious.” – Marcus Aurelius
We are principle driven: in our system, we view a technique as a means to
understanding the deeper principles of skill mastery and power generation, and not as
an end in itself. These underlying principles of our Krav Maga system, the parts hidden
from view, are the reason for its disproportionate power and speed, and they are the
one ingredient that truly separates Elite Defence Academy from other systems and
styles of combat.
In addition to our well-established training syllabus, we also constantly test and refine our techniques in a number of different ways.
Our Senior Instructors are tasked with finding weaknesses within our system, and are continuously seeking out better, more efficient applications for techniques wherever these may arise.
We don’t cling to tradition, and we’re not bound by the dictates of any external figurehead or organisation – instead, we pride ourselves on constant experimentation, fast adaptation, and relentless growth and improvement.
Our teaching and learning system is based on the concept of logical pattern recognition, which increases learning speed, information retention, and the ability to recall and execute techniques under extreme pressure.
This also enables greater speed of learning, and fast, intuitive reflex responses that are accurate and decisive.
We believe that training the body is necessary – but if the mind is not trained to a high level of capacity as well, then skill is greatly limited.
Beyond a certain point of basic mastery, our approach is not to conform an individual to the system, but to conform the system to the individual.
Our culture is one of deep learning, continuous progress, and exponential growth.
One of the hallmarks of the Elite Defence Academy system of Krav Maga is that it is truly reliant on intelligent technique to overcome strength, timing to overcome speed, and psychology to overcome intimidation or fear.
The only thing that makes this possible is the understanding and application of these principles to every technique. If you do not do so, then your techniques will be less than optimal, and weaknesses will appear.
Something else also becomes apparent. It becomes obvious that in reality, when you are engaged in combat, you need to be capable of operating on two levels at the same time: the external (conscious) level of choosing and executing split-second responses and attacks, while simultaneously engaging the internal (automatic) framework of physical and psychological principles which enormously amplifies the effectiveness of whatever you are doing.
The importance of diligently practicing and mastering these principles cannot be
HERE’S A BRIEF EXPLANATION OF EACH PRINCIPLE:
The “3 C’s” – CLEAR, CONTROL AND COUNTER
This is a process we follow to ensure the effectiveness and relative safety of any technique.
“Clear” means we first get out of the way of harm – by avoiding the punch, redirecting the knife, getting out of the way of the gun, etc. In doing so, our goal is to get into the logically safest position where we can begin to control the opponent.
“Control” means we assume control over the opponent – over his limb, or the weapon, and over him psychologically. Ideally, at this point, we break his posture so that he is less able to react. We do this by applying levered force to restrict movement, by robbing him of balance, or by applying a disabling strike to a vulnerable point.
“Counter” means we end the conflict. This is most commonly done by pressing home a
counterattack, which could mean rapid strikes, or a takedown, until the opponent is injured or demoralized to the point where he is unable to fight back. It could also mean running away. The goal is to get away alive by any and all means possible.
EVERY SINGLE situation demands that this process be followed. If one step is weak or missing, your defense is shaky and significantly less effective. Remember that in the beginning, you practice this in a step-by-step manner, but ultimately you will be following the whole sequence in a split second as one fluid movement.
And, in training, the “3 C’s” is your go-to troubleshooting guide if you have difficulty mastering a technique. You will almost always find that one of the “3 C’s” will be missing or incomplete, and this will enable you to easily pinpoint where the you need to make an adjustment.
Relaxation in combat sounds like a paradox, but it is actually a critically important skill.
Under stress, we tend to tense up – which means confused thinking, slow reactions, a stiff and inflexible body, laboured breathing, and inhibited strength and speed.
“Relaxation” in this context does not mean being limp like a piece of spaghetti. It means a state of relaxed flow – the ideal physical and mental state which enables optimum performance. This is the state in which an Olympic athlete functions: powerful without unnecessary tension, relaxed yet focused and alert, and using all the body’s faculties to optimum effect.
Having to fight is one of the most physically demanding things you will ever do. If you do not learn the skill of relaxation, you will be exhausted, fearful, hurting, and demoralized within the first few seconds. This is why we emphasize the use of whole body unity in training, which means the relaxed synergy of your body working as one single unit – not a group of segmented parts inadvertently working against each other.
One of the reminders that we often give trainees is: “Don’t fight the opponent, and don’t fight yourself”.
This means that we do not oppose force: rather, we redirect and use it against the aggressor, and in the same way, we do not hinder our own movements through unnecessary tension or inner conflict. A calm mind is as important as a relaxed body.
Visualization is one of the most powerful tools here, both during high-intensity practice as well as during periods of quietness and reflection, or meditation.
Breathing easily and powerfully is critical during combat. It dissipates adrenaline, enables the body to produce greater force in movement and striking, protects the body from damage if struck, and induces a powerful state of self-confidence, purpose and assuredness. This something that is constantly emphasized in training.
In the beginning, when learning this, start with the basic understanding that every time you express force (through a strike, push, pull, etc), simply breathe out forcefully.
DEPTH OF MOVEMENT AND OPTIMUM POSITIONING
The old saying tells us to ‘keep our friends close, and our enemies closer’.
This is absolutely true when it comes to self-defense. Our normal instinct is to push an attacker away, but by doing so, we give him room to move, to strike us, and to use his physical abilities.
So, we need to cultivate a more powerful instinct, that of getting as close as possible to the attacker in order to control him. Obviously, we would not just stand directly in front of him where he can strike or grapple – this principle means that we get off the “line of attack” and move in on him in ways that stifle his movement, affect his balance, and expose him to a counterattack.
The same rationale applies particularly when doing gun and knife disarms. If you do not achieve depth of movement, you risk missing a vital point of control (or missing the weapon and getting hurt).
This is not difficult, it just requires constant reminding and repetition. For example, if you grab someone’s wrist and try to upset his balance, it is not always effective; but wrap your hands around his shoulder and hug it to your chest, and you can control him far more easily (as well as being able to get to vital targets). Alternatively, if you are using someone’s wrist to affect their posture (for example), it is easier and more effective to bring his wrist to your body, closer to your own centre of gravity where you have greater control.
STEP “AROUND THE BALL”
This principle refers to the habit of incorporating lateral movement into most forward steps or advances.
Training it is easy: we simply visualize a large “ball” on the floor between ourselves and the opponent. The goal is never to step directly onto the ball, but to step around it as we move forward.
This has application in weapon disarms, where we train ourselves to automatically step “around” the point of greatest danger as we respond. In a fast-moving fight, it also teaches us to step off the line of attack as we parry or counterattack an incoming assault. (Remember that the “ball” can vary in size and shape according to your needs!).
By applying this principle, we constantly move toward open space where we can shut down an opponent with less risk.
USE GRAVITY, DON’T FIGHT IT
There are 2 ways to create movement: you can either step forward by “pushing” against the ground (and using muscular effort and energy), or you can “slide” forward by sitting down slightly and allowing gravity to “pull” you forward (as if going down a playground slide).
The second method is far more energy-efficient, more stable, and more difficult for an opponent to react to.
Moving this way also increases the power of strikes, because you are always moving in synergy (entire body working as one unit) and your entire bodyweight and momentum is carried into the movement.
Likewise, if fighting on the ground, we always remind ourselves not to fight gravity, but to relax and yield in order to manipulate an opponent effectively.
FOLD AROUND YOUR CENTRE POINT
Again, there are 2 ways to generate a “pulse” or explosive motion through the hands: one is to “rotate” around your centre point (like swinging a baseball bat, or throwing a ball, which is less efficient at short range and requires more energy), and the other is to “fold” around your centre point. The “shoulder slap” when striking is one example of this, and the “banana your body” principle, where we pull the hips back in order to throw the hands forward, is another.
The same body movements are also used as fast, dynamic avoidance techniques which are very powerful and require very little energy to execute.
There are many different applications of this simple principle, and they are easily observed and remembered in practical training.
ALWAYS MAINTAIN OR REGAIN YOUR POSTURE
This is critically important. In combat, your primary goal is to disrupt your opponent’s posture while maintaining your own. So we remind ourselves constantly to apply this in several ways:
- Always keep an upright posture (head over your feet or centreline). And if you deviate (for example by moving your head or hips to avoid an attack), come back to good posture as quickly as possible.
- Always be “sitting” slightly when executing techniques. This adds stability and power to your movements.
- Always keep your centreline facing your opponent (the “wedge” principle).
- NEVER, EVER, turn your back on an opponent, either by turning away or bending over. If you do, regain your posture and centreline immediately.
OPTIMUM USE OF FORCE
This simply means that we make intelligent use of physics by applying optimum force in the right area, rather than just applying indiscriminate force anywhere and hoping it works.
This applies particularly again to disarms, where we apply force concentrated in a small area to amplify the effect. If you stab someone with a wooden spoon, it it not as devastating as a stab with a knife.
The only reason for this is that the same amount of force applied with the knife is being
concentrated into a very small surface area. We learn how to do this using the most powerful sharp areas of our body to impart force into the weakest and most exposed parts of the opponent’s body.
This is also just common sense. You can repeatedly punch someone really hard in the chest until you break a rib if you are strong enough, or you could just slap them once in the groin or effortlessly crush their throat. Either way, they are incapacitated, but it makes far more sense to take the easy route.
USE OF LEVERAGE
This is a critically important area of knowledge. In training, you will learn about three types of levers, how to use them, and when to use them. In training, we often focus on the power generated by a “short lever” and the many ways to use this to easily overcome a really strong opponent.
Again, this ties in very strongly with the principle of getting close to your opponent.
Combat is tactile: in a high-speed fight, you do not always have the ability to “see” what the opponent is doing. By maintaining a sense of constant contact – which means “sticking” to an opponent – it is far easier to “feel” or “sense” changes in movement and respond to them.
This also contributes to the sensation overload which you want to impose on him, and it inhibits his movements as well as confusing him.
USE OF FRICTION
We always assume that an opponent may be physically stronger or faster (a worst case scenario).
So, in order to establish control over his movements, we cannot rely purely on hand strength or grip strength – the fingers may slip open, and you have lost control.
To compensate, we use hooks (pinning the opponent’s arm between our forearm and chest in a “curling” motion), hugs (pinning an arm under our armpit as if hanging an arm out of a car window), and cups (curling our entire hand, thumb and all, around a wrist for example and stapling it to our chest). These principles impart force in a small area, as well as creating friction over a broad area, to multiply the force we are able to exert.
And, when we do rely on a “grip” (as with certain knife disarms), we generally bring everything in close to establish friction of the hand against your own body – for the same reason.
THERE ARE NO DEFENSES, ONLY ATTACKS
The human brain can either defend or attack – but it cannot do both simultaneously.
We exploit this fact by turning everything we do into an attack – even a seemingly defensive parry or evasion. The goal is to overwhelm the opponent’s nervous system, and keep him in “defense mode” throughout the entire engagement.
This does not mean running in blindly with a flurry of punches, but rather a prepurposed sequence of movements that are designed to stimulate several
parts of his body all at once, in addition to breaking his posture, distracting him, and injuring him by getting to his weak points.
Remember also that in almost every case, action beats reaction – so when you respond to an opponent, you need to be “acting” rather than “reacting”. This ties in very closely with the principle of Bursting.
This is also why we prefer to never go backwards once we engage an opponent. We go around him, into him, and over him, but do not go backwards unless there is literally no other choice.
INDUCE A PULSE IN EVERY MOVEMENT
The principle of “inducing a pulse” is simple in concept. It is the equivalent of stretching an elastic band and letting it go, or of snapping your fingers.
The “pulse” we are talking about here is a sudden, almost effortless release of kinetic energy, usually driven by “dropping” and “folding” the body in such a way that even a very small movement creates significant speed and power.
The understanding and mastery of this principle relies greatly on intent, visualization, and relaxation: it is the difference between the muscle action used to push a car (forceful steady motion relying on muscle) and the effortless muscle action used to swat a mosquito or snap a towel at somebody (elastic pulse motion relying on nervous system activation). At a higher level, we learn how to induce a pulse through subtle spiral movements of the joints and hips.
THINK THROUGH, NOT TO
This principle has a mental as well as a physical application.
To put it another way, this principle means that you train to focus on the solution, not the problem.
It also means that we focus on what we want, rather than on what we don’t want.
This refers to a state of mind – and a habit in combat – where we train ourselves to look for opportunity, rather than freezing up or getting “stuck” in a situation.
For example, physically, this means that if we are held or pinned, we don’t try to fight to free the part that is being held, but rather focus on what we can move so that the body can find a way to ‘flow’ out of the restraint. Or, if someone is throwing a punch at you, don’t focus on the punch, but rather focus on the empty space on either side and put your hand into it at an angle so that you are guaranteed to intercept and redirect it.
Another example could be that of moving an opponent: if you see him as large and
heavy, you create a mental barrier, but if you focus on where you want to go, and simply brush through, you will move him far more easily.
Another very obvious application of this principle lies in striking technique. Every strike we deliver is not a surface strike – we aim “through” the target in order to transfer maximum kinetic energy to an opponent.
On a conceptual and tactical level, this principle also enables your mind to keep broad focus even while in the heat of a fight, and to be aware of possible routes of escape, improvised weapons, etc. It also creates a mindset of optimism, determination to win, and a high level of confidence in your ability to overcome any situation.
This principle is the one which permeates all the others, like an envelope within they are all contained.
This refers to the attribute of explosiveness. It is critically important, because an opponent can adapt very quickly to a measured, steady response. What is called for here is to be like a figurative grenade going off in his face – one moment, nothing, the next moment, a blast of unstoppable power directed through him like a,literal explosion.
This means moving forward, exploding through an opponent, and doing so in a way that gives him no chance to recover.
Quite simply, it means that the overriding goal of any combative movement is to go from perceived stillness to explosive movement in a split second. This overwhelms an opponent, shuts down his ability to respond, and allows you to win through the application of sudden explosive force.