When Royce Gracie won the first ever UFC tournament way back in the early 90’s, it turned the world of combat sports on its head. Not only did he dominate and finish all of his opponents but he did it at a significant size disadvantage. From that point on the sport has evolved in leaps and bounds with many different styles making their claim as the most effective form of martial art. Everything from wrestling, kickboxing, sambo and even judo have proven to be successful at the highest level of MMA. Its this blend of techniques that make the sport so unique and interesting as it continues to evolve, even to this very day.
I was recently asked the question “Why isn’t Krav Maga used in MMA?” I had never really thought about it too much but it would make sense. After all, if its good enough to be taught to the likes of the military then surely it would be right at home in the world of MMA?
So What Is Krav Maga?
For those who have never heard of it, Krav Maga is a self defense martial art originating from Israel around the 1940’s designed specifically for the Israeli Defence Force. The idea was to come up with a system that could be used in the real world when faced with possible life and death situations. It stresses an importance on aggressive action and an attitude that would be best described as “any means necessary.”
While a lot of techniques that are taught fall in the category of traditional martial arts like boxing, learning judo throws and wrestling takedowns, choke holds etc the addition of groin strikes, throat punches and even eye gouges are where the lines start to blur. The use of objects other than your own limbs are also encouraged and taught, all with the purpose of completely neutralizing your foe even if it means serious permanent damage or in some extreme cases, death.
When you look at the history of both Krav Maga and MMA, its easy to see parallels between the two. The blending and borrowing of techniques from a wide range of styles to form something that can handle anything. With so many similarities I guess it is a fair question to ask why isn’t Krav Maga used in MMA?
Can We Expect To See It In The Octagon?
Well for the most obvious reason, a lot of the techniques used would be downright illegal in MMA. Krav Maga was developed to help defend you in the real world and while eye pokes and ball shots are fair game on the street, in a sanctioned fight its a different story. Taking those weapons away, it leaves you with still a well trained martial artist, but probably one who hasn’t had the sport specific training that your average MMA fighter has had.
While there is a crossover between the techniques are taught in both, the application is quite different. Another thing to consider is that MMA fighters train to fight other trained fighters. Learning how to box and takedown somebody who doesn’t know how to defend those things themselves is a great way to defend yourself, but against someone who is equally trained is going to be tough. I can’t imagine a Krav Maga student facing too many flying knees, or defending armbars in their own training.
At least its more effective than Akiido
Krav Maga no doubt is as legitimate as it comes when it comes to self defence. And while there are similarities between the two, the truth is is that they are two different martial arts developed for two very different purposes. A rule set greatly reduces the effectiveness of Krav Maga in MMA, although its not outrageous to think that somebody with that background could be successful in the sport. In fact top womens flyweight Karolina Kowalkiewicz trained Krav Maga for years before she turned pro in Muay Thai. Perhaps a better a question to ask is who would win on the street between a Krav Maga fighter and a mixed martial artist?
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