Krav Maga is a self-defense system created based upon the street fighting skills of Hungarian-Israeli martial artist Imi Lichtenfeld. He used it to defend the Jewish quarter where he lived against fascist groups in the 1930s. Later, in the 40s he moved to Israel and began to offer combat training lessons to what later became the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces). The IDF has used, and continued to develop the system to this day.

The basic principle of Krav Maga is inflicting maximum damage to the opponent(s) in order to end the fight as quickly as possible. Brutal counter-attacks using your most effective tool (knees, elbows, weapons, etc.) to target your opponent’s weakest area (neck, throat, eyes, knees, ribs, solar plexus, groin, etc.) are the focus. For this reason, it is not a competitive martial arts, like Brazilian Ju-Jitsu or Muay Thai, because people would die.

When I heard that Jason Bourne uses Krav Maga (which I later found out was, in fact, not true) and that it teach gun defenses (i.e. the most alpha technique ever), I immediately signed up. I just finished 6 months of training. It is indeed awesome. Here are the top 5 reasons you should sign up for classes today:

1. You will become a badass. 

Nothing boosts confidence and testosterone levels like knowing you are legitimately prepared for whatever. Very few people have any formal self-defense or fight training. As a result, in tense situations where most people lose it, you will keep your cool. If something ever does go down, you’re ready.

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2. It is practical and intuitive.

Most martial arts are strongly based in ritual, and as a result often incorporate different forms or strange techniques. Krav is different. Brutal efficiency is the only concern. For this reason, many of the strikes and defenses utilize the same basic motion (e.g. the straight punch and many of the defenses against punches and knives). Moreover, all of the techniques are built upon the body’s natural instincts (e.g. bringing your hands to your neck during a choke defense).

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3. It is great exercise.

Between the drills themselves and the conditioning, you are guaranteed a hell of a workout. Three minutes of throwing punches or knee strikes is exhausting. So is three minutes of burpees. Side note: The level 1 Krav test was the single most intense physical event of my life. Seriously. Three hours straight of punches, kicks, choke defenses, and groundwork is no joke. I consider myself to be is great shape and I almost vomited on multiple occasions.

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4. It relieves stress.

Sure, so do most workouts, but pounding a kicking shield, or throwing your partner to the floor is a whole different ball game.

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5. It is the perfect hobby.

I came to my first class with no idea how to throw a proper punch. After a couple weeks I thought I was Jason Bourne. After a couple months I realized that I wasn’t. After 6 months I look back and I am amazed at the progress I made. Experiencing this progress is extremely satisfying.

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Clearly taking up Krav Maga has many benefits. One word of caution – make sure you train somewhere with certified, experienced instructors. I have seen locations that turn it into a strictly cardio exercise experience, with little focus on technique – not good. So go take advantage of that free first class, now.

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