Krav Maga training in the IDF (Israel defense forces)
By Ilya Dunsky | Expert 4 in KMG
Today Krav Maga training in the IDF (Israel defense forces) is divided into three sections:
The objective in each section is different and at times may even contradict each other:
- The main objective in self-defense is: if possible, do not fight!
- The objective in combat and fighting is to inflict maximum damage in minimum time to your opponent.
- In third party protection, the objective is to protect the third party even at the cost of getting hurt yourself.
Because of these reasons the instructor must first decide, what are the objectives of his students, in order for him to decide the appropriate method of training.
This blog will discuss the krav maga training in the Israeli defense forces. The objective of the soldiers is to inflict maximum damage in minimum time and the instructor’s mission is to teach them this!
Why am I writing about this? In my not too distant past, I served in the IDF for 6 years as a KM instructor in two units:
- The “Wingate Institute” commander of IDF krav maga instructor course.
- “Lotar” unit (IDF anti-terror school) as the head of the krav maga section and in charge of training krav maga to the Special Forces.
One of the four main pillars of krav maga is the fighter himself.
A soldier in the military must defend, as part of his duty, the existence of his country and its independence. He must prevent enemies from disturbing the way of life of the citizens living in his country. In order for a soldier to be able to perform his role he must hold three components:
- Values – a will to defend his country and people.
- Weapons – the tools that will assist him to fight.
- Battle fitness – physical and mental fitness to fight.
Depending on the unit which the soldier serves in and his mission, he receives the relevant weapons for it: fighter plane, tank, assault rifle, pistol, knife etc…
Krav Maga is one of the most common weapons available to soldiers. For example, it is not always possible to use a firearm as a firearm. There are situations where this is impossible for example: when a soldier is in a problematic area I.E. gas station or crowded area, weapon jam and when it is not legal to shot or use lethal force, in addition, when there is a need to control a person and not eliminate him. In these situations, a soldier must use his secret weapon – Krav Maga!
Krav Maga training necessarily increases the soldier’s confidence and professionalism. A rifleman who is not specialized in Self-Defense for example, will have full dependency on his firearm, while Krav Maga narrows down this dependency and gives him a sense of confidence by transforming his body into a lethal weapon. It is therefore critical for a rifleman to train krav maga.
Krav Maga training trains the soldier in four levels:
- Physical – (Blog by Tommy Blom)
- Technical – (Blog by Rune Lind)
- Mental – (Blog By Dr Ole B)
- Tactical – (Blog by Eyal)
It is very important to keep on building and improving each one of these levels over time. A good soldier must be highly skilled in all of these levels. This is a question of life or death. If a soldier is weak in one of these levels it might turn out to be fatal in a real fight situation!
The construction of a fighting unit in the military is built in four steps:
- Soldier level – following orders quickly and precisely.
- Fighter level – acquiring lethal techniques.
- Unit level – group of fighters acting together
- Objective level – depending on the specific unit
Krav Maga training must support and assist in these levels. Depending on the unit, each step can take different amount of time, ranging from days to months, depending on the needs of the unit. In special units each step is also a selection stage and a soldier that is not performing well enough will not be part of the unit.