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Krav Maga’s Straight Punch – History and some Science

Krav Maga’s Straight Punch – History and some Science

By: Eyal Yanilov


The straight punch in KM has had several developments and changes during the years.

Imi’s background was diverse. At the age of 19, Imi became a champion sportsman on an international level, in both Boxing and Wrestling.

During later years he gained his experience in real life situations in violent confrontations against the fascist thugs.

Below you can see him executing a right punch. The picture was taken in the mid 60’s for the first military manual of the IDF, published 1967.

When I started KM in 1974, both the straight left and right punches were already different. We used to turn the body almost 180 degrees to the target. For the right (rear hand) punch, we advance with the back foot to the line of the front foot and turn the heel outward (sideways). Here you can see a picture from the second military manual from the late 70’s.

Another example is a picture from a set of photographs we took in the early 80’s, that were to be in the first civilian KM book in Hebrew (eventually the set of books were written by Imi and I, starting the mid 80’s, only one of three has been published until now). The first picture is the ‘general ready’ stance; the second hand picture is the straight right punches. See the body turn and rear leg pivot.

A major change, practically a small revolution, and the latest developments.

In 1984, I was already the closest assistant to Imi and together we were writing the KM books and developing the system. It was in the midst of my studies of engineering, mechanics and bio-mechanics. During one of our many meetings I told Imi that the way and form we do the straight punch contradicts physics. We talked about the overturning of the body and the over pivoting of the back leg (especially during the right punch), the position of the fist, the recoiling effect and more. After few minutes Imi agreed and then we had come out with major changes that partly brought Imi back to his origin.

Thus in 1984 we made the major changes in punching and after that we also defined the different rhythms of integrating attacks and different actions.

During the last year, this time with KMG, we revealed a couple of changes in the teaching and the execution of the straight punch:

  • Extending the pressure on the back leg and the contracting of the abdominal and relevant core muscles, especially during the last portion of the strike (the impact with the target and strike into it). This enables a stronger transference of momentum and energy into the target, meaning increasing the destructive effect.
  • Bringing the striking shoulder above the imaginary center line that passes through the pelvis and torso. This enables a straighter line and more direct transference of momentum and kinetic energy into the target.

In my opinion this is optimal in cultivating the abilities with the straight strikes.