what is krav maga

What Is Krav Maga? Is It Better Than BJJ?

Krav Maga and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are two popular fighting styles to learn. They also have several similarities and share some of the same roots. Therefore, telling the difference between the two may be difficult for someone new to martial arts and fighting. However, despite some things in common, the two are quite different regarding purpose, technique, and rules. 

What Is Krav Maga?

Krav Maga is a system designed to promote self-defense. It originated to help Jewish community members protect themselves and those near them from powerful anti-semitic and fascist forces. After Israel’s founding, the discipline known as Krav Maga was further honed and developed to be used as a fighting system for the Israeli military. 

The techniques that are incorporated into this style of combat include elements of Judo, Aikido, Jiu Jitsu, and Boxing. It has also been refined to use Muy Thai and Wing Chun components. It’s important to remember that at its core, Krav Maga is not intended to be a sport or used in competition. Instead, its purpose was first and foremost to help vulnerable people defend themselves and, secondly, to be explicitly used by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) in battle. 

Krav Maga is also designed to be a last resort. Practitioners are told to avoid engaging in combat or violence whenever feasible. It’s encouraged to take steps such as biting, pulling the hair of an aggressor, or kneeing them in the groin before choosing to fight. 

If one does enter into a combat scenario, Krav Maga has a few fundamental principles to direct the behavior in a fight. These include guidelines like targeting your opponent’s weaknesses, practicing repetition and quick responses, and ending the battle as soon as possible. Since Krav Maga is designed to help people protect themselves, it emphasizes techniques and moves that are practically effective so that even smaller or physically weaker people can utilize the fighting style to defend themselves successfully. 

Overview Of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (also known as BJJ) is a martial art formed from key elements of the Japanese fighting styles of Judo and Jiu Jitsu in the 1920s. The Japanese disciplines were taught to Carlos Gracie, a Brazilian native, by Mitsuyo Maeda around this time. Gracie and his family would later open a gym and instruct others, and BJJ evolved from there. 

Like the sports it was adapted from, BJJ, as a discipline, places a particular emphasis on grappling and fighting on the ground. Many other martial arts focus on kicks and punches, but this is not the case for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. While fights start standing up, combatants will attempt to get their opponents onto the floor with various moves and throws, and then the fight will largely continue at ground level. Different moves will also be employed to manipulate the joints of adversaries, as well as to choke them. 

BJJ began to take off on a global scale as a sport in the 1990s. During this time, championships started, and Royce Gracie, a martial arts founding family member, won multiple Ultimate Fighting Championships by employing the fighting style. It has since become one of the world’s most popular and competitive styles of martial arts. 

What Are The Similarities Between Krav Maga and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Krav Maga and BJJ were created using techniques established in other preexisting martial arts and disciplines. Krav Maga combines many different styles, including Judo and Jiu Jitsu, the martial arts that are the basis of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 

Additionally, both styles of combat are particularly effective when used in self-defense. Krav Maga, as mentioned, was developed explicitly for this purpose. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was not created with the sole intent of helping people defend themselves from aggressors. Still, the style and nature of the sport make it quite effective in this capacity. This is because it emphasizes very close encounters and those that take place on the ground, which often are circumstances that define assaults and situations in which self-defense techniques might be helpful. 

What Are The Technique Differences Between Krav Maga and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Krav Maga and BJJ share a common background and are similarly effective, but they differ in several ways. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was created to be a competitive martial art, and Krav Maga was not. Krav Maga is a style of fighting that is meant to help people defend themselves and is not meant to be used unnecessarily or for sport. 

Since Krav Maga and BJJ have different intentions, each discipline’s learning process and road to mastery vary. It is a feature of the design of Krav Maga that it can be studied and effectively executed by anyone and doesn’t take particularly long to become skilled in. This is to boost the defensive capabilities of vulnerable populations. 

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, on the other hand, is genuinely an art. It involves more moves and techniques and can take much longer to become a true master. 

Furthermore, BJJ tends to be very specific in the exact moves and techniques that it incorporates. Fights largely take place on the ground and revolve primarily around throws, grapples, and choking moves. These elements are part of Krav Maga as well, but it goes beyond the narrow focus to include punches, kicks, strikes, etc. 

The focus of Krav Maga is to protect oneself. Therefore, it is highly offensive and designed to deal out a high amount of damage. It also really emphasizes speed and quick responses. There are defensive techniques as well, but it focuses more on fast, harsh attacks that will help end combat quickly. 

What Are The Rule Differences Between Krav Maga and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu only permits a selection of moves and techniques. Therefore, some moves are not allowed. Furthermore, some techniques can only be implemented in specific scenarios. This is because BJJ is a sport and martial art, first and foremost. It is designed to be learned and used in competition. 

On the other hand, Krav Maga does not bar combatants from using specific techniques or moves. Everything is permitted. This is because Krav Maga is not intended for sports but is a method of self-defense. The ultimate aim of Krav Maga is to help someone protect themselves and survive an encounter. Any move that accomplishes this end goal is going to be allowed. 

What Are The Differences in Gear For Krav Maga and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Krav Maga and BJJ are also distinct because of the equipment used in each discipline. Essentially, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will not utilize specific tools or weapons in a match because it is purely a hand-to-hand method of combat. However, Krav Maga is meant to prepare people to defend themselves, so it will teach people how to disarm an aggressor with a gun or knife. Real weapons aren’t used in practicing Krav Maga, but fake ones will be used for training. 

Is Krav Maga or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Better? 

When deciding between Krav Maga and BJJ, the right choice will vary depending on what someone hopes to get out of it. Both have merits and drawbacks, so neither is universally the superior option. 

They both are helpful in self-defense scenarios. However, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will offer more limited training and be more focused on the art of the techniques. This does not mean it is not practically applicable because it can be beneficial in a fight. However, its usefulness may be limited to more specific instances than Krav Maga, which is designed to prepare anyone for any situation where they need to protect themselves.

Krav Maga is going to offer techniques to handle weapons and use a variety of moves that might be considered “dirty” or “illegal” in other fighting styles. Krav Maga will also be an excellent option for those at a physical disadvantage due to their size or strength because it is designed to help anyone get the upper hand and survive. 

On the other hand, if you’re interested in competing or studying a discipline for sport, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is likely the better choice. There is a lot to learn, and it’s a real feat to become a master of this style because it’s a true martial art. There are also many tournaments and opportunities to prove yourself in the BJJ scene.

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