Krav Maga For Beginners (What You Need to Know)

Krav Maga is a mixed martial arts fighting technique developed by the military. It is one of the best handto-hand combat styles popular among military personnel and martial arts enthusiasts. 

This Krav Maga guide for beginners covers everything you need to know to start the practice.

If you are interested in Krav Maga to learn some self-defense techniques, you might also want to read this self-defense guide.

krav maga history

Krav Maga is a Hebrew word meaning combat contact.

Imi Lichtenfeld, the originator of Krav Maga, was born in Budapest in 1910 and grew up in Bratislava. His father, Samuel Lichtenfeld, owned a gym and taught self-defense.

Lichtenfeld learned from his father and became an international boxing champion shortly after.

In the 1930s, he developed Krav Maga and became a top contributor to the Nazi resistance. Nowadays, Krav Maga is used for everything from tournaments to survival training.

Krav Maga Guide Principles

To learn Krav Maga, you should know its basic guiding principles, like its mindset, basic stances, and techniques. 

However, remember that Krav Maga is more than just a technique. Krav Maga is a method of defending, combatting with only one goal; to end a fight as quickly as possible.

Some of the crucial principles of Krav Maga include:

  • Neutralize all threats completely. If a threat presents itself, it’s always a good idea to run. But, if you or your loved ones are in danger, neutralizing the threat is your best option. This could mean removing a weapon, injuring, paralyzing, knocking unconscious, or even killing.
  • Switch between defensive and combative mode quickly. As a fighting style, Krav Maga is all about the flow of movement. Therefore, you want to engage multiple body parts to combat and defend simultaneously.
  • Avoid injuries. This principle may seem obvious, but beginner fighters often overlook it. This principle demands that you avoid injury by your opponent’s hands and your own. Because one of the easiest ways to get hurt while fighting is by overreaching and using sloppy techniques.
Krav Maga Principles 2
krav maga principles neutralize all threats completely
  • Leverage your body’s natural reflexes to protect and defend. While fighting, protect sensitive areas of your body like your eyes, abdomen, and groin. Similarly, attack these areas to make the most impact. Use bony parts of your body (elbows, legs, head) against the soft or weak parts of the opponent’s body (eyes, nose, groin, knee).
  • Improvise and use objects around you as weapons. In case your opponent has a gun or knife, don’t be afraid to improvise. Look around for any bulky or sharp object to attack or defend yourself to improve your odds of winning.

Krav Maga Guide Mindset

Another critical Krav Maga principle is staying calm at all times. If you are in a fight or flight situation, understand that flight is almost always the best option.

krav maga beginners mindset

But if you are forced into a fight, remember to stay focused and calm. Don’t FREEZE, no matter what. Fear will only cause panic and decrease your odds of winning.

Remember to follow the principles closely, especially the need to neutralize the opponent. In a life or death scenario, you must use more lethal techniques to win, which are covered here.

krav maga for beginners

Krav Maga Guide Stances

Before we move into the techniques, it is beneficial to understand the basic stances.

1. Neutral

The neutral stance is standing with your hands to your side and your legs slightly spread apart. It would be best if you didn’t put your hands in your pockets or tilt your head down.

If you sense any danger, assume a neutral stance to prepare yourself for action.

2. Guard Stance

krav maga guide guard stance

Execute the guard stance if you get a chance to get into the position. To execute this technique correctly, put your hands at least 9 inches from your face.

Guard stance lets you calm the opponent down if possible while also being ready to attack.

To assume a guard stance, put your right foot forward and raise the heel of your left foot, with both legs slightly bent. Keep your elbows at least slightly bent towards your body.

Krav Maga Guide: Basic Techniques

We will discuss the basic techniques and then move on to more complex lethal methods.

The basic techniques are easy to master, so master them first to develop agility and mobility before moving on to complex techniques.

1. Straight Punch – Krav Maga Technique

straight punch krav maga technique

The straight punch is the most basic technique you can learn for self-defense. It is instinctual and straightforward. 

How to execute:

Everyone knows how to punch, but knowing the technique behind throwing an effective punch will help you put your weight behind your punches and avoid getting hurt. 

To execute the punch, begin in a guard stance. Next, pivot your whole body to the left if you are attacking with your right arm and leverage your legs to push yourself off the ground. 

As you jump, extend your fist toward the opponent’s nose, temples, or jaw until you make an impact. 

To make a fist curl your four fingers towards the palm, put your thumb on your middle finger, and clench as hard as possible. Then, extend your arm towards the opponent’s nose, temples, or jaw until you make contact. 

2. Jab Palm Strike – Krav Maga Technique

palm strike krav maga technique

Jab Palm Strike uses the heel of the hand (palm) to strike the opponent’s nose or chin.

How to execute:

Start this attack with the guard stance and get close to the opponent. To attack, use the heel of your palm and aim for the opponent’s face. Target the nose or chin for maximum impact.

3. Horizontal Knee Strike – Krav Maga Technique

krav maga horizontal knee strike

A horizontal knee strike is a lethal Krav Maga technique aimed toward the abdomen, groin, or knees to injure your opponent. 

How to execute:

This attack requires you to get close to the opponent. A neutral stance works fine; however, you can execute it with more impact if you start in the guard stance.

To execute this properly, tilt your hips and shoulders and raise your leg towards your opponent’s torso to kick.

If you want full impact, hit the crotch, ribs, or abdomen, and if you are in the guard stance, hit the shoulders or arm for maximum impact.

4. Horizontal Elbow Strike – Krav Maga Technique

This Krav Maga technique can cause a lot of damage because elbows are abrasive and hardy. Therefore, it is most often used to counteract or attack the opponent. 

How to execute:

For horizontal elbow strikes, start with the guard stance. Raise your right heel if you’re striking with your right elbow and your left heel if you’re striking with your left elbow.

Pivot your hips and shoulder to the sharp right if you’re attacking with your left elbow and a sharp left if you’re attacking with your right elbow. 

5. Rear Choke – Krav Maga Technique

rear choke krav maga technique

The rear choke is a Krav Maga technique to get the opponent in a deadly chokehold to disarm and neutralize the threat. 

How to execute:

Approach your opponent from behind for the best results. To execute this properly, put your left or right arm over the opponent’s neck and press down the arm around the neck with your opposite arm, so it is challenging to escape. This technique helps neutralize the opponent. 


Krav Maga is a great street fighting technique for defending yourself against attacks. Make sure you follow all the principles. 

The basic principles of Krav Maga include staying calm, avoiding getting injured, and being aware of your surroundings to increase your odds of winning.

Krav Maga is an excellent technique for increasing physical mobility and agility. Learning martial arts also helps boost self-confidence. 

I hope you liked this Krav Maga guide and found it helpful. 

If you want to learn more about specific techniques, check these Krav Maga techniques (8 Moves You Need to Know).

You can also learn more about the history of Krav Maga here

This Krav Maga book is helpful for beginners looking to learn Krav Maga.

3 thoughts on “Krav Maga For Beginners (What You Need to Know)”

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