I’ve noticed that many martial art styles like to think of themselves as complete systems. For most practical purposes they probably are for the purposes they were designed for. Meaning no disrespect or trying to minimize any of the following arts I’d say that, at their core, BJJ is a complete style for sport ground fighting, WTF style Taekwondo is well constructed for point fighting, and Krav Maga is a complete system for self-defense. Or are they? Is it even possible for any style to be 100% complete?
I’ve heard and read so many times that Krav Maga lacks a good ground game and if you get taken to the ground where “all fights end up” (more on that some other time!) then you are toast. I don’t completely buy into that. My school, and many others I’m sure, focuses a good percentage of time talking about ground defense — how to get up off the ground, out of some chokes and headlocks, and how to prevent getting taken down in the first place. My school also incorporates many CT-707 ground (and other) techniques into the curriculum which helps too. But I don’t delude myself for one minute into thinking that Krav Maga teaches 100% of what I’d need if I were to be tackled by, say, a BJJ Black Belt who’s determined to jump me in a dark alley and throw me on the ground and into a triangle choke. Krav Maga is simply not a “ground fighting” or grappling style at its core just like it’s not known for its nunchaku prowess or its numerous throws and joint locks. This is not to say Krav Maga is incapable of addressing this situation at all but simply that BJJ addresses triangle chokes and ground fighting more thoroughly because of its design and goals. Styles can’t be 100% of what students need for every opponent, for every situation, against every conceivable attack. How could they? It’s impossible.
So how do you stack the odds slightly in your favor even more than Krav Maga already does? In my opinion, it isn’t about just learning your particular style and being superior at it but to also incorporate other styles as well. Not only for the techniques that it give you — more tools in the tool box — but also to provide you with a broader range, different perspectives, different instructors’ knowledge, and other scenarios to consider. So, it’s a mental and physical expansion of your skills that gives you the edge.
My school has what I believe are some of the best instructors in the country, is affiliated with Krav Maga Worldwide, and routinely has the instructors re-certified and the curriculum updated to the latest techniques and situations. The school is affiliated with Sityodtong Muay Thai and also incorporates quite a bit of Muay Thai into the base curriculum as well as some BJJ, most of the time within the same hour of class. Close-minded Krav Maga purists might balk at this concept and think that it somehow weakens the school’s approach to teaching Krav Maga. I feel the exact opposite is true. Like I said before, exposing students to other perspectives broadens their options and provides additional tools for the toolbox. As a result, I’ve heard from several instructors (both within and outside the school) that because of the Muay Thai training the students have, in general, better sparring technique, much strong punches and kicks, and sometimes faster reaction times than students who practice purely in Krav Maga.
No, my school isn’t better than your school and my style isn’t better than your style. I’m not playing that game or making these statements. This is a testament more to the idea that exposing yourself to more variety broadens your skills and effectiveness. So, if you can, my advise to you if you are a Krav Maga student — or any other style, for that matter — is to embrace the style to its fullest, strive to be the best you can be, live it daily, but to also keep yourself open to learning new things to compliment it and give you more paints on your palette, more tools in your toolbox, and an enhanced spectrum of scenarios to consider in the real world.