Take the 2-minute tour ×
Martial Arts Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students and teachers of all martial arts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am 15 and I am currently being trained in Krav Maga, one on one with a partner.

I have a very practical question:

Am I allowed to use Krav Maga for any case of self-defense? Even a threatening or grave suspicion.

I live in Brooklyn, NY, but it would be nice to know how this works in other places too.

(and as a plus, how the heck can you walk in a ready stance down the street without the whole freaken place going 'ooooh, aaahhh'. Lol, 'cuse I was walking like that once at like 8PM in Staten Island, and this guy on the side walk ahead went to his friend:"yo, watch out" and they stepped aside.)

share|improve this question
In most of the world the question "Is [violent action XYZ] legal for defense?" can only be answered with detailed knowledge of the situation in which it occurs. –  dmckee Apr 21 '13 at 22:45
Just to make things clear: while you can ask legal advise from plebs on the Internet, please check with a criminal lawyer if you want a valid and legal answer. –  Sardathrion Apr 22 '13 at 7:20
Ask a lawyer in the area where you live. IN general you can respond with equal amount of force in any given situation. That is general and there are exceptions. –  Wayne In Yak Apr 22 '13 at 19:43
Thank you to the above. Great advice –  Tzvi Apr 23 '13 at 5:49
Remember the joke about the man who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer? If you take legal advice from random people on the internet, then you could learn a lesson from the man who has a fool for a lawyer. –  Mark C. Wallace Oct 17 '13 at 11:15

5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Am I allowed to use Krav Maga for any case of self-defense?

Of course you are, within the normal parameters. You will only use what you need with the amount of force required in order to defuse and escape from a situation. The amount of force that is considered "legal" will differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction based on current law and precedent case law (you could also reference the previous question Are there legal ramifications to being a trained martial artist?), and will also depend on the severity of the situation you find yourself in.

I live in Brooklyn, NY, but it would be nice to know how this works in other places too

As mentioned the law is different everywhere - for example you will have a slightly different set of laws the moment you cross a state line. The important thing is not so much what you use on the opponent, but the damage you inflict on the opponent.

how the heck can you walk in a ready stance down the street

You don't - you just walk normally. A stance is simply a starting or ending position for a movement or technique. You don't "get into a stance" before starting a fight, you assume the stance as you execute techniques.

share|improve this answer
Thank you. About the stance, in Krav Maga I was taught that you need to be minorly alert on the street, as in almost never texting, always realizing what can and cannot be used against you or for you on the street and to watch your surroundings. So, I was told to hold my hands in a way where they are always close to my chest so to allow for quick movement. (Like holding on to hoodie strings, or top of coat, simply fiddling with fingers and the sort). Unlike other arts, this one was built for the street, and comes very useful in Brooklyn. sooo? idk. –  Tzvi Apr 22 '13 at 0:13
@Tzvi Hehe, if you walk around like that then people will indeed think you are "special" and the men in white coats won't be far away ;) But being serious, once you've trained long enough the "always be aware" concept will become more obvious to you - you don't have to be walking around in the "ready to spar" pose. For example I can walk down the street texting on my phone and still be totally aware - in fact the phone can be utilized as a weapon. You should be able to attack or defend from any angle and any pose/stance. –  slugster Apr 22 '13 at 1:05
+1, very nice answer indeed. –  Sardathrion Apr 22 '13 at 7:19
thank you @slugster ! –  Tzvi Apr 23 '13 at 5:45
As a bonus, the level of awareness that you develop becomes evident, which reduces the chance of a fight starting in the first place, as you won't be giving off the vibe of "easy prey". –  Sean Duggan Jun 2 '14 at 16:03

Am I allowed to use Krav Maga for any case of self-defense? Even a threatening or grave suspicion.

You should never give this any concern in a real-life situation. You neutralize the attacker, and no more. If there are multiple attackers, you should be excessive on the first so that he will not return to the fight, but never do excessive harm to the last person you are fighting, i.e. don't kick them on the ground if they are alone, or if their partner is already out of the fight. Just stop them from causing danger.

So long as all you did was the minimum to ensure your safety and the safety of those with you, don't care about the law. Had you done any less harm to the attacker(s), you would have been hurt more by them then by the law. Had you done more, you would have been reckless. Also, you will improve your own confidence (and your respect if others see the incident) by not going overboard. Think of all your favorite action heros. When the opponent is down, do they continue kicking or do they give the opponent opportunity to get back up and walk away quietly?

share|improve this answer
-1 for ignoring the law, this will lead you straight to jail. +1 for using minimal force. This borders on a good answer... –  Sardathrion Aug 25 '13 at 12:35
Right, I mention that the law (jail) will be better than simply letting the attacker assault you, but that there will be consequences. –  dotancohen Aug 25 '13 at 13:28

In German laws there is a term which could be translated as 'self-defense-excess'. The classical example is shooting children from your cherry tree in order to prevent them from stealing the cherries. That is forbidden in general (easy to understand).

In the special case that your excess happens out of asthenic affects (i. e. due to fear or terror), that can be an excuse. Sthenic affects like hate or fury will not excuse the excess.

What a judge will consider depends greatly on the question what he thinks of you. If you argue that you were in terror and broke the attacker's nose because of that, then you could go free in case the judge believes you. If you practice your martial arts for thirty years, judges tend to think you should control yourself better.

It never is of interest which martial arts you are practicing or using, but of course using Krav Maga techniques facilitating a combat rifle or a knife would be illegal just because of carrying/having/owning the weapon.

share|improve this answer
thank you very much! –  Tzvi May 1 '13 at 6:57

How the heck can you walk in a ready stance down the street without the whole freaken place going 'ooooh, aaahhh'.

I was trained in hand-to-hand combat by the IDF, not by a school or embassy, so my perspective may be different than that commonly taught. But I do use the same approach on my home street as I do in Jenin. There are two types of people who will see you walk: those who might attack you, and everybody else. You want those who might attack you to think "I'm not starting with that guy" but you want everybody else to not notice anything.

I walk normally, but I always 'observe' buildings, the sky, anything that moves in my opposite direction so that I can also look back every now and then. Everybody who I pass gets looked at in the eye and usually gets a friendly smile. Sometimes I let them notice that I glance at their hips and their hands, sometimes I do it discretely. Yes, even women.

When I turn a corner, I do it with the inside elbow slightly bent, and far from the wall / building and I'm always ready to pop back. That has saved me more from speeding bicycles than from terrorists.

Some tips: if you are with companions, walk slightly ahead of them. Thus, the assaulters notice you, not them, and may be discouraged. It also gives you another reason for looking back occasionally. Always know what is available to jump behind if bullets start flying. You'll probably never need it, but it will help train yourself to be aware of your surroundings. When you drive, read all the signs. Again, this makes your driving better but also trains you to be more aware of your surroundings.

Lastly, remember that your goal is to be visible to assaulters, but not to everybody else. Do not look paranoid, in fact always try to look confident. Don't walk like you're ready to fight somebody, walk like you are aware of everybody. And when you are attacked, smile and make the assaulter feel that he just did you a favour by confronting you. That scares them!

share|improve this answer

Krav Maga was not intended for self defense, and is, in fact, an art of assassination. While it is used to assassinate, you can use self defense using what you have learned in Krav Maga as long as you honour the law.

This means that you do not: 1.) Kill the attacker. 2.) Cause excessive damage to the attacker. 3.) Pursue the attacker unless you were robbed.

If there are witnesses around, be sure to ask them to testify in your defense. If possible have a bystander film and call the alarmline.

share|improve this answer
-1. First and second paragraphs are utterly inaccurate. Last paragraph shows an fundamental lack of knowledge of crime, witnesses, or any legal system. –  Sardathrion Oct 15 '13 at 15:56
Krav Maga is based on Ninjutsu, actually. Which is an art of assassination and infiltration. –  MilanSxD Oct 21 '13 at 10:27
Your opinions on this are very wrong. Krav Maga is not based on Ninjutsu but on boxing, Muay Thai, Wing Chun, Judo, jiu-jitsu, wrestling, and grappling to name but a few. Ninjutsu is not the art of assassination. None of the Ninja Jūhakkei ("the eighteen disciplines") mention assassination. –  Sardathrion Oct 21 '13 at 12:03
I guess I'll just stick to Judo answers xS –  MilanSxD Oct 22 '13 at 9:03

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.