The 10 Unwritten Rules Of Krav Maga

Broadly speaking, krav maga is completely without rules. It’ll teach you to punch to the throat, kick in the balls, bite, gouge, stab and otherwise do merciless damage until the people who were a threat moments earlier now lie twitching on the floor, leaking fluids which may or may not be vital to their survival.

But there some rules, unwritten of course, which will help you survive as a practitioner of krav. Here they are. I made them up, so if you want to complain about them complain to me, not to Eyal Yanilov. Eyal Yanilov doesn’t have time to respond to your pathetic complaints. He’s too busy fighting a thousand ninjas. Think of these of ‘Krav Maga Etiquette Guidelines.’


10. Shut Up.

The first rule of krav maga is, you do not talk about Fight Club. In fact, try not to talk about anything at all, except to give your training partner some pointers on their technique. People who take krav seriously – like me, i guess – fucking hate people who turn up for a laugh, like it’s some sort of social club. Some small talk is acceptable between drills, but it’s not the reason we’re there. So shut up, or fuck off to judo. Talk to me in the bar after the class, not during.


9. No One Cares About Your Other Martial Arts.

If you’ve come to krav maga from another discipline, then kudos, and welcome. You’ll do great. Unless you’ve done a month’s worth of muay thai, and think you deserve respect for it. And don’t try to change krav’s technique’s to suit your previous martial art. That’s just silly. (Even worse than bragging about your other martial art, is believing you’ll be awesome at krav because you watch MMA.)


8. Brush Your Teeth

Please, please, please make sure your breath doesn’t smell like a decomposing badger. If it does, you’ll be treated even rougher than you would normally. For example, there’s a defence against a bear-hug from the front with your arms free (basically someone standing in front of you with their arms around your waist, maybe trying to lift you off the ground). In short, the defence involves grabbing the attacker’s face and turning their head backwards exposing their throat, and we do this very gently in training. Unless you have bad breath, in which case I will break your neck in a desperate attempt to get your face as far away from mine as quickly as possible.


7. Stop Apologising

So you tapped me on the chin. So you gave me a fat lip. So you kicked me in the chest. Don’t apologise, it’s fine, that’s why I’m there. In the immortal words of my old instructor “it’s krav, it’s not fuckin’ flower arrangin’.” But there’s a worse kind of apologising: it’s the apology that comes from a nervous practitioner, who apologises constantly and after every technique, and every time they get it wrong too. Just shut up.


6. Wear A Box

If it’s your first couple of lessons, I’ll completely forgive you for not wearing a groin-guard. But if you’ve been coming for a month or more and you’re still going unprotected and au naturel, and yet you’re happily laying into everybody else’s groin, you’re an asshole. You’ll be unpopular very quickly.


5. Listen to Your Instructor

Listen as closely as possible to the man or woman with the red stripes on their trousers, and when they’ve stopped talking, do exactly what they said.


4. Don’t Ask Questions

I don’t mean that to sounds harsh as it does. What I mean is this: when an instructor is demonstrating a technique, and when they’re finished they ask ‘any questions?’, it’s best to keep shtum. Wait for the instructor to come round to you and ask then, otherwise you’re eating into valuable training time. This is especially true if your question contradicts what the instructor is demonstrating, or attempts to point out a flaw in the technique. In this instance, the instructor will probably ask you step forward and will demonstrate the technique on you. Hard.


3. Communicate

While it’s important to talk and joke as little as possible (in my opinion), it’s equally important to tell your training partner if they’re being too rough with you. Ask them to slow down and concentrate on the technique itself. You should train as hard as your body allows, but there’s no point picking up an injury in training if you can avoid it.

2. Don’t Go Mental in Gradings

This is incredibly important, and if you haven’t graded yet then you might not understand what I’m talking about. Let me sum it up. The temptation to show off and go crazy and in the gradings is powerful, particularly with all the nerves and adrenalin in your body. But don’t. Go slow, be controlled and demonstrate that you know the technique – and don’t do anything more than you have too to pass. Tommy Blom failed me and my grading partner for disobeying this rule in our P3 exam.


1. Have A Shower

Be clean and hygienic when you turn up to training. Is it so much to ask that you jump in the shower before you turn up? Because if you smell, no one will train with you. Fact.


And there we have it. The 10 Unwritten-Until-I-Wrote-This-List Rules Of Krav Maga. I initially started writing this list with the intention of trying to help new krav practitioners slip into the training as easily as possible, but it ended up all angry and flippant. So it goes.


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