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Review of Krav Maga: An Essential Guide to the Renowned Method–for Fitness and Self-Defense by David Kahn

I choose to pick up this Krav Maga book by David Kahn a few weeks ago with the intention of trying to learn a few self defense moves before the economy collapses :) Not really, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to at least be exposed to something new.

Now, let me be perfectly clear that a trying to learn martial arts from a book has got to be akin to learning to play piano by just reading the notes and never actually touching a piano. I know that. In fact, it cannot be anywhere near as effective as a simple DVD and is definitely no substitute for hands-on instruction in a classroom. That said, I got the book mostly for the exposure as I’ve heard a lot of good things about Krav Maga and wanted to know more about it.

This book started out as expected with an introduction to Krav Maga, a bit about it’s founding, the philosophy, and so on; all of that was ok to hear but I wanted to know how to use it. Eventually, the book got to the heart of the matter and most of it talks about strikes, kicks, close-contact fighting, and escapes… now we’re talking!

Because it’s was a book, the author had to rely on diagrams to get his point across for each new move. In general, this worked out ok but there were definitely some moves where I would have preferred a video or hands-on demonstration; these are just the limits of a book. Perhaps photos of the moves being demonstrated would have worked out better in some instances.

As for the moves, they started quite basic and I was beginning to feel disappointed in all I’ve heard about Krav Maga. Fortunately, the moves began to build and be a bit more interesting (and complex) and I felt like I was actually learning some useful techniques and was, in fact, getting a bit lost as I got into defensive moves and escapes.

Once the explanations are over the book offers a 12 week training course for you to follow (I did not do it) and suggests what you can do to both train on your own and with a partner if you’re able. I’m sure this would have been a good idea had I wanted to truly try to learn from this book.

Overall, I would say this book was a good first exposure to the system and would allow you to decide if Krav Maga is something you want to pursure further. Remember, I could have spent a lot more money on a DVD set or two and I could have found a local class, but these are expensive options.  Treat the book for what it is: an introduction and nothing more.

As this book has perked my interest I’m considering this 6 disc DVD set, but I haven’t wanted to shell out the money for it yet…

1 comment to Review of Krav Maga: An Essential Guide to the Renowned Method–for Fitness and Self-Defense by David Kahn

  • Ed

    Obviously, you really can’t learn about a martial arts from a book or even from a video. They nice as introductions to “get a feel” for it but you really need the hands on practice and correction that only a trained instruction can provide.