I'm at a training center right now where group classes are taught. Essentially there are six belts and getting to just the first 'belt' requires roughly six weeks of training. Also, I generally feel like techniques are rushed, etc.

My problems are these:

  • I would like this to take less time. I've read about soldiers who enter six-week programs and come out ready to fight. This is the type of program I'm looking for.

  • From what I understand, there's a "civilian" KM and a "police/security guard" KM, and apparently the civilian version only teaches the basics. I would like access to the higher-end techniques.

What can I do about this? I'm at an American place right now; maybe the curriculum is different?

  • 2
    I thought soldiers come out fit and ready to shoot a gun? My impression is that most soldiers spend very little time on hand-to-hand. (I have absolutely no actual knowledge in this domain, however.) Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 13:13
  • IIRC, the Marines introduced martial arts into their curriculum at basic training a while back (Maybe 10 years?) and have somewhere around 30 hours in basic devoted strictly to hand to hand, close combat, knife/bayonet techniques.
    – JohnP
    Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 14:35
  • 3
    I think what you've read about in the "6 week" program is six weeks of 40-50 hours a week devoted SOLELY to learning KM, for the specialized forces. That's at least 240 hours, which if you go 3 hours a week will take you almost 2 years to accumulate. Why would you want a quickie six week in and out course in something you may hang your life on? Why do you need to be "ready to fight" in six weeks?
    – JohnP
    Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 14:51
  • 2
    Most American Krav Maga schools are commercialized to the Nth degree, designed to retain students to continue revenue streams. When I did it back a decade ago, we were doing roughly the equivalent to what was being taught in the IMF across 4 months, about 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. It wasn't about the instructor collecting a paycheck; it was about teaching us to fight. That kind of training drills uncontrolled reaction; It wasn't useful training for a civilian. Schools have to make money; you need space to train and lights – You can't run a school on pixie dust.
    – stslavik
    Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 15:56
  • 2
    You're complaining that it feels rushed, but you want it to go quicker? How does that work? Quicker will mean MORE rushed.
    – eidylon
    Commented Aug 14, 2012 at 12:10

5 Answers 5


I'm getting a bit of a disconnect from the question. You're feeling that the techniques are rushed, but you also want to get to your next rank faster? If you get there faster, they'd be even more rushed.

It takes a certain amount of time from learning a technique to actually being able to do it, and while repetitions are a factor, it's my experience that there's also a fixed time before you can really start to understand something (incidentally, I've noticed the same thing for learning languages). I wouldn't expect doing any number of repetitions to accelerate you past 2 weeks for getting a decent grasp of the basics.

That might suggest that you could cram everything into a 2-week intensive course, but there's also a question of existing physical ability. Are you actually fit enough to do 2 weeks straight of endurance work? The other issue is that unless you're talking something like boxing (and are ignoring the importance of footwork), the technique selection is broad enough that if you try to do everything there's no way you can fit enough reps for all of them into that 2 week period, and you can't really handle too many different things at once.

When I teach, I'll introduce something and it won't be understood very well, then I'll bring it back in a few weeks later and it's understood better. By the third or fourth time I go over it, usually 4-6 months later, it gets understood well enough for me to say they have a solid grasp of the basics. I'm teaching a group class 1/week though, so if you jump it up to 3/week you could expect significantly faster results, but the fact remains that most people don't really understand something the first time they're taught it.

Ultimately, if you're looking for faster results, lift heavy weights to train your strength. Technique is a force multiplier, which means it depends on the initial strength you have to apply force. If you're physically stronger, you'll reach a minimum level of competence faster. It doesn't mean you're going to be technically all that much better (although I'd suggest it helps a little bit), but if you're looking for fast results, that's probably all you can hope for.

  • I noticed that same oddity. He wants it to go quicker, but complains about the instruction being rushed. Little bit of a schism there.
    – eidylon
    Commented Aug 14, 2012 at 12:09

As far as I know, there is no "division" of civilian versus military KM, except in marketing hype. Certain schools may wish to train with less intensity and brand it civilian, or like many Americanized schools, emphasize the cardio and fitness aspect. But, it is all Krav, they just may not elect to use the full curriculum.

As far as the rankings and the time, as teo noted it depends on the organization. Some use the same belt system as judo, some use patches, some use belts with levels within the belts, etc.

If you have a belt in a martial art, then you know the majority of the techniques that KM will teach you, especially if you cover knife and gun defense as part of your curriculum. Where KM differs, is the philosophy of moving from defense to offense as quickly as possible, and making sure that there is no wasted motion in the movements. The closest limb should be used for the attack, and attacks are generally aimed at the most vulnerable points (eyes, jaw, ribs, throat, groin, etc.) KM emphasizes get in, disable, get out.

  • 2
    I would agree with this. It's my understanding that everyone in Israel, aside from a few religious subgroups, are/were IDF members, so the military/civilian distinction for Krav Maga is almost meaningless.
    – Robin Ashe
    Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 18:07
  • My understanding is the military/police KM has a lot more hostage and counter terrorism training, along with more weapon defenses, along with things like how to fight and properly secure your weapon if an enemy combatant is attempting to take it.
    – Alan
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 16:48
  • But it's all KM. Hostage and counter terrorism are concept based, and are pretty independent of the martial art selected. The rest is still KM, but a "civilian" discipline wouldn't choose to include those, as they aren't particularly relevant.
    – JohnP
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 19:52
  • To basic infantry in the IDF Krav Maga was all about rifle strikes (things might have changed since they adopted the new, much smaller Tavor). Unless you were in spec-ops you did not go into hand to hand combat.
    – Btuman
    Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 18:52

Levels/ranks/belts are dependent on Association You choose. Krav-Maga techniques are conceptually very easy but it takes much time to practice speed and precision (and strength of course).

Anyway Military Krav-Maga bases on using weapons (especially assalut rifles) so it is less usable than civilian version and may be shorter due to army don't need many good hand combat soldiers.


I have studied Krav Maga for a few years and yes, there are "differences" between civilian and military Krav Maga. The civilian techniques focus on self defense while the military techniques focus more on killing other people. The techniques are not more advanced or more "higher-end" or anything like that. There are only more of them with a different focus. Military Krav Maga also has techniques meant to be used with an automatic rifle.

Should you train military Krav Maga? If you're a soldier who need to kill fellow humans, yes. Otherwise, the civilian techniques are more than sufficient to protect yourself and others.


The KM philosphy is one where you should be able to come out of a 6-week program ready to protect yourself at all costs

No program, no matter how good it claims to be, will make you a world class fighter in 6-weeks.

KM specifically is designed to train you through high stress, high fatigue situations, along with simple, yet affective attacks and defenses, so that if you're attacked or find yourself in a bad situation, you have some knowledge on how to protect yourself.

As you advance through the program (earn higher ranks), you learn more advanced techniques, including weapon disarms and defenses, which build on the basics you get early on.

WRT to Military vs Civilian KM, the techniques and principals are the same. The difference is the application and scenarios that each focus on. Civilian KM doesn't focus on battlefield combat, nor does it focus on protecting your pistol if you open carry. So unless you walk around with an open carry, you're probably unlikely to get any benefit from Military KM, other than training is some cool scenarios.

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