Get Into Fighting Shape With These Krav Maga Moves
By JARRETT ARTHUR
It's an undeniable fact that we simply don't have enough time in our day to do everything we want or need to do. Life is a grand juggling act in which we practice the delicate art of prioritizing, although for most of us -- myself included -- mastering that skill is still a work in progress.
More often than not, the activities that are solely for us -- exercise, clean eating, meditation -- are put on the back burner in favor of work and/or family obligations. Self-defense and personal-safety training can fall under that category. This Krav Maga workout lets you multitask by combining practical self-defense and functional exercise.
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Moving in a Fighting Stance: This stance enables us to be as balanced as possible so that we can move quickly and explosively in any direction, with the best chance of staying on our feet and generating big striking power.
Get in the Position: Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step forward with your non-dominant leg (left leg if you're right-handed, right leg if you're left-handed). All toes should point forward, and feet should be wide left to right and front to back.
Bring your hands up in front of your face with your elbows in and palms facing forward in a "stop" gesture. Tuck your chin and shrug your shoulders slightly. Lift your back heel off the ground and bend both knees so that your weight is equally distributed and you have a lower center of gravity.
Move in this Position: To move forward, push off with your back foot and step forward with your front foot. Quickly follow with a short step with your back leg to finish in the same stance you started in. To move back, push off with your front leg and step with the back first. To move left, push off with your right foot and step with your left. To move right, push off with your left foot and step with your right. Always end up in a fighting stance.
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Workout: Move five steps forward, then five steps backward, then five steps right, then five steps left. Repeat the pattern moving four steps each direction, then three, two and one.
Palm Heel Strike: This strike is sent to the nose or throat of an attacker. Contact is made with the bottom part of your palm. Fingers should stay open. A great reason to send this strike versus a punch is that your hand is more protected.
How to Throw It: From your fighting stance, extend your forward hand (left hand for right-handed people) out in one straight line away from your face, with fingers pointing upward, making sure you don't straighten your arm all the way.
Rotate your hip and shoulder forward as well to increase reach and generate more power. Explosively recoil the hand back to your face and return to your fighting stance. Repeat with the other hand. The more hip and shoulder rotation you complete, the stronger the strike.
Workout: Send 20 forward palm heel strikes, then 20 rear-hand palm heel strikes. Repeat the pattern sending 15 strikes, then 10 strikes.
Knee Strike: This strike is sent to the groin or midsection of an attacker. The point of contact is the very front or top of your knee.
How to Throw It: From your fighting stance, you'll be sending a rear-leg knee strike (your dominant leg). Fold your heel towards your butt in order to make your knee a sharp point. Keeping your leg folded completely, send the knee forward and upward, driving your hips forward behind the knee strike to increase power. Immediately recoil the foot back behind you.
Workout: Send 20 rear-leg knee strikes. If you're up for the challenge, stay in your fighting stance and send 20 front-leg knee strikes (sent the same way, but with your forward leg).
These three self-defense moves are considered foundation techniques. If you'd like to make the workout harder, add functional body-weight moves in between techniques.
1) Perform Technique 1 Workout
2) One minute of either jumping jacks (beginner) or high knees in place (advanced)
3) Perform Technique 2 Workout
4) One minute of either running in place (beginner) or alternating lunges (advanced)
5) Perform Technique 2 Workout
6) One minute of either chair squats (beginner) or mountain climbers (advanced)
7) Perform Technique 2 Workout
8) One minute of either plank hold (beginner) or burpees (advanced)
Readers -- Have you ever taken a Krav Maga class or any other type of self-defense class? Did it help you feel stronger and more confident? Did you find that it was a good workout as well? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Jarrett Arthur is one of the highest-ranking female black-belt instructors in Krav Maga (Israeli self-defense) in the country. For over 10 years, she's been educating and instructing men, women and kids about the importance of practical, effective self-defense and personal safety knowledge. In 2009, Jarrett founded M.A.M.A. (Mothers Against Malicious Acts), a self-defense system designed exclusively for moms and all people responsible for the well-being of children.