I was sent this book, Krav Maga Tactical Survival: Personal Safety In Action by Gershon Ben Keren, a few months ago in exchange for an honest review…
Normally I avoid book reviews these days. I’m not sure if it’s that I don’t have time to read them or that I feel like “I’ve seen it all” but when I was asked to review this book I said “yes” and I’m quite glad I did.
The first thing I noticed was how sturdy and well put together the book was as they sure didn’t skimp on the cost to put it together, that’s for sure. Though paperback, the pages are thick, the illustrations are numerous and in color, and I’m positive this book will last a long time… I’ve already been through it twice and there’s no sign of wear whatsoever.
Anyway, when I got the book I dove right in. Separated into five distinct parts, I was a bit surprised that the author got straight to the point and started discussing various striking techniques right from the start. That said, I guess it isn’t that shocking considering this book IS about Krav Maga… those folks don’t mess around!
Really, I would have assumed part two (on armed and unarmed self-defense scenarios) would have been a better place to start since there’s a lot in there about de-escalation techniques, how people interpret the world and reason when angry, warning signs, and more. I really learned more than I figured I would about the subtopic.
Besides striking techniques, the author also spends quite a bit of time discussing armed and unarmed assaults (parts three and four, respectively) which are easily the majority of the book by number of pages. To be honest, by the fourth part on unarmed assaults my head started to spin and I got a bit overwhelmed, lol. And, so, I found myself breezing through part five on throws the first time through without retaining much of anything. I eventually decided to go back over the book a few weeks later.
Now I should point out…
To be clear, one cannot learn a hand-to-hand combat technique by reading a book once or twice and then expecting to know what you’re doing, that’s silly.
People spend years (even a lifetime) trying to get these techniques down in a classroom setting all while being taught by instructors who know what they’re doing and who can correct your form properly.
That’s NOT what this book is about… please don’t think you can learn Krav Maga by reading this–or any–book on the subject, you can’t.
What you can do is to use this book as (1) a great introduction to an awesome self defense system and (2) as a fall-back reference for when SHTF after you’ve had proper classroom instruction.
Now, I can’t say that I’ve read other books on the topic or had proper classroom instruction on Krav Maga, but I can say that I’ve taken martial arts in the past and, in my humble opinion, they pale in comparison to what Krav Maga can be.
Why THIS Book?
With regards to this book, however, what I like most about it is the author’s take on what Krav Maga can do for you. He’s not touting it as the “be all, end all” self defense system but as one more tool in your toolkit.
Moreover, the author restates time and again how fluid a situation can be and that a classroom setting really is different from a real life confrontation; because of this understanding he continually reaffirms how important it is to NOT get set on dealing with a particular situation (or strike or encounter) in only one way like many self defense systems tend to do.
I also really like how detailed the author’s instructions and illustrations are. The illustrations are numerous and include additional details which reinforce what’s being taught quite well… this really is what the book is all about.
One thing which took me a bit of time to get used to was how the illustrations tended to be intermingled with his instruction. In other words, if I’d followed the book literally, reading page by page, I would have (at times) been trying to read his instructions and then forced to start on the illustrations before I’d finished the instructions. What I would have preferred was the complete instructions on a particular technique then to move onto the illustrations, but I’m guessing it was done this way to save space. I got used to it so this wasn’t a big deal my second time through.
Ultimately, I’d suggest this book, Krav Maga Tactical Survival, is a welcome addition to your survival library and maybe even a great catalyst to getting YOU into the classroom!