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Top five Krav Maga moves to master

Author: Ron Grobman

Published: 2022

Category: Krav Maga

Top five Krav Maga moves to master

I am often asked, what are the most important Krav Maga self-defense techniques to master? Different instructors may give you different answers, but I personally believe that the following are the most important: the open palm strike, the straight punch, the elbow, the knee, and what we call the “oh shit” defense. These techniques are designed to give Krav Maga practitioners the absolute base for defending themselves with maximum damage to their opponent and minimal damage to themselves. 

Unlike the padded martial arts gym, the streets do not have padded floors, soft punching bags, and gloves for you to wear. The open palm strike is a safe a very effective way to strike an opponent while minimizing potential damage to your hands. It is especially useful when you cannot see your opponent well or where you are striking exactly due to lighting conditions.

How to perform the palm strike: 

  1. Keep all finger together and flex them back to expose the heel of the palm 
  2. Send the hand towards the jaw, nose, neck, or whatever soft point is available. 
  3. Rotate your hips into the strike as well as pivoting the same side foot to maximize power 
  4. Make contact with the heel of the palm with your elbow slightly bent and palm turned in slightly. 
  5. Exhale on contact
  6. Bring your hand back to your face as fast as possible. 

When you have time to pre empt an attack or rather make a deliberate strike on the opponent at arms length away, few strikes are as effective at knocking people out cold as a good straight punch to the jaw. The straight punch concentrates all of the power of the strike in the top two knuckles of the fist thus creating a lot more force in a small surface area unlike the palm strike. It is of course a riskier strike but if the following steps are followed then the strike can be used effectively:

How to perform the straight punch.

  1. Close the fist by curling your knuckles into the palm and then locking them in with the thumb.
  2. Keep the top two knuckles in line with wrist and the radius bone. 
  3. Send the fist towards the jaw, nose, neck, or whatever soft point is available. 
  4. Rotate your hips into the strike as well as pivoting the same side foot to maximize power 
  5. Make contact with the top two knuckles of the fist with your elbow slightly bent and the fist turned inwards between 45-90 degrees 
  6. Exhale on contact
  7. Bring your hand back to your face as fast as possible. 

At close ranges the palm and the fist loose their effectiveness as the arm cannot fully extend on contact; this is were the elbow is king. The elbow strike is an extremely brutal strike that often cuts through the skin and knocks people out. Again with minimal damage to the striker. The come especially handy in clinched situations when someone is grabbing you at close range. Additionally, the elbow can be thrown from almost any angle and direction, including when the opponent is behind.

How to perform the horizontal elbow: 

  1. Bring your hand close to your shoulder to ensure a sharp elbow. 
  2. lift your elbow up to about shoulder hight while sending it towards your opponents face. 
  3. Rotate your hips into the strike as well as pivoting the same side foot to maximize power 
  4. Make contact about one inch bellow the elbow
  5. Exhale on contact
  6. Bring your hand back to your face as fast as possible. 

I am often hearing of MMA fighters making fun of kicks and knees to the groin as effective tools for self defense. While at the same time those same fighters immediately call time outs during their fights when they are accidentally kicked in the groin even while wearing a cup! (there is a reason that strikes to the groin are not allowed in competitive martial arts ;)) So the kick or knee to the groin is an extremely potent Krav Maga technique to master. In general our legs are also significantly stronger than our arms so they can act as an equalizer when fighting someone that is bigger and or strong.

How to perform the knee or kick: 

  1. start by sending the knee towards your opponents groin, chest or face.
  2. keep the heel close to your butt to ensure a sharp 
  3. Turn your hips into the strike as well as pivoting the base foot to maximize power 
  4. Make contact just above the knee cap
  5. Exhale on contact
  6. Bring your leg back down to the ground as quick as possible 
  7. For the kick start with the same motion as the knee. When the knee passes the hight of the target, snap the rest of the leg out while keeping a small bend in the knee to prevent hyper extension. 
  8. Make contact wither with the bottom of the shin bone or the ball of the foot. (DO NOT KICK WITH THE TOP OF THE FOOT – there are lots of little bones that can break!) 

Sometime we are caught off guard, surprised, and did not see the attack coming. Thats where the cover defense or the “oh shit” defense comes in as a crucial technique for students to master. It is a simple but extremely effective defense against almost any strike that comes to the fast. 

How to perform the cover up defense:

  1. Slide the hand across the face as though your are combing your hair back. 
  2. Keep you arm and bicep tight to the face with the elbow right in front of your nose
  3. Brace for impact
  4. Counter attack with ruthless vengeance. 

Although these are the top 5 Krav Maga techniques to master it does not mean they are the only techniques to know! Make sure to keep training and sharpening your self-defense skills and abilities. 

Book onto a Tactical Fitness Austin Krav Maga course today and develop your skills.