Martial Arts Expert John Spencer Ellis breaksdown what exactly Kung Fu Weapon Craft and Krav Maga do differently. Its not to say one system is better than the other, at all. Kung Fu uses a lot of circular patterns and sweeping motions that may not be possible in a close quarters situation. Not to mention, as Coach Dan pointed out, you probably arn’t brining your Quarterstaff to KMart in the first place. Krav Maga is all about aggressive offensive attacks once a self defense situation has occurred, adding a weapon to the mix only makes it more deadly. Attack the attacker because there is no going back at this point. Krav maga was developed so Isreal could train its people as quickly and effectively as possible and so if that’s what you are looking for learning Krav weapon tactics may be something you want to look into.
There is even more to the interview so read the full thing below!
Dan: I knew this was something I’d like to at least tackle conceptually — Krav’s understanding of weapons combat, as well.
I understand, as well, that the traditional martial arts sometimes will integrate belated weapons in a way that is, you know, in a way that we refer to as traditional. Which in my opinion is not bad. I mean I have absolutely nothing against Kung Fu. I, like yourself, can appreciate a vast variety of martial arts.
I think a lot of folks would be able to do Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, you know, they would just instantaneously not like the other arts. They’re very much now like that.
But I think that sometimes, you know, again, in a traditional Kung Fu environment, there might be kind of a longer, you know, fat kind of a traditional Chinese blade that might be spun in a particular way.
Or, some kind of nunchucks variation weapon that was used in the year 200, which by golly, I mean, you could certainly hurt somebody with, but you’re probably not carrying with you to Kmart.
And I know that Krav’s application with weapons, for the most part, has the same kind of, you know, direct for self-defense, high-adrenalin, hard-core environment kind of approach to those sorts of weapons, so you see a little bit less of the traditional blades.
You see a little bit more of like the kind of tactical folder or a broken bottle or a bar or something like that. Speak a little bit to what you see as Krav’s emphasis in the weaponry world, as well.
John: Well, yeah. Okay, a great question. I’ll contrast it, you know, when I first learned weapons I did it in Kung Fu, and you know, Kung Fu is very circular, and some people call it “flowery,” and it’s all these “crazy movements.”
And there’s a reason for it and it takes a while to learn that and the patterns take time. Well, the conception, or the inception I should say, of Krav, the whole point was that Israel needed to train its citizens in as few weeks as possible, to defend themselves against invaders coming from all sides.
So they needed something that was simple, effective, to the point, and that anyone could be taught with a minimal amount of time to be able to reasonably defend themselves.
That was the whole premise of Krav. Kung Fu takes years to master. It’s really effective, and I can still use those skills and I implement them. But also, the difference with the weapons with Krav, not only are the weapons more… it’s like, you know, using a baseball bat, or your keys, or a broken bottle, or a stick or a straight knife.
The movements in like Kung Fu — or I also learned weapons in Karate, as well — they’re not as crazy aggressive. They probably try to be a little more exact.
Krav is more like I have this weapon and if you come at me, I’ll beat you to the punch and I will stab you repeatedly, and so you’re on the ground in a puddle.
John: And that’s really it. It’s that mental aggression and basically the premise is to attack the attacker. There’s no going backwards, there’s no staying the same, there’s no retreat. You don’t block and then counter.
The blocks and the counters happen simultaneously, and you just go like a mad man or woman, until the person is done, and that’s just the whole premise, and that’s part of the mental toughness.
John: And I think when you first see that or experience it for the first time, you’re mentally exhausted at the end of your first class, but you’re thinking: “Oh my God, these people are crazy!” And then you think, “I love it! I can’t wait until the next class.” [Laughter]
Dan: [Laughter] these people are insane, but I’m totally going to do this twice a week.
John: Well, I think an example, like normally, you know, like if someone does like an overhead stabbing motion with a knife. You know, I learned it in the other art skill. Just come straight over and like “Yaah!”
It’s like one shot, you know, and they try to get the neck, the head and collarbone, the neck, whatever, something like that. With Krav, I mean, when that person attacks, you anticipate “they’re going to stab me 20 times in eight seconds.”
John: You know, “Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!” and so if you don’t counter with constant, intense pressure, they’re going to go work around and find another spot, so once you apply that pressure you can never let up.
And one thing that Yuri my instructor always emphasized is: Don’t fight over the weapon. You control the weapon — just control it — beat the hell out of the person and pick up the weapon.
Dan: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, so…
John: You can’t get caught up fighting over the weapon, fighting over the weapon; and then if you’re able to control the weapon, and you can spit in the guy’s face, and then head butt him and kick him in the nads, then you can grab the weapon because he’s softened up.
John: It’s much easier. It’s much, much easier.
Dan: Very much softened up at that point, space and time. That’s it, I think. Well, I think, you know, this is important as well. I mean, I think technique is important. I think developing athleticism is part of the game.
It’s not all of the game, but I think it’s definitely a part of the game. But I think that, you know, it is necessary, if people are interested in self-defense. Presumably, if they’re tuned into our podcasts, it is of an interest to them.
If they’re interested in self-defense, then by golly you have to sort of be prepared for what self-defense would call for. Which is not nice moves, it’s not pretty moves. It’s anything and everything to make sure you live, and very few of us will ever be in that circumstance — hopefully.
But the fact of the matter is, you know, if you’re not training with that degree of intensity and you’ve kind of taken it like it’s a day of sparring, and you’re like, “Alright, cool. Hey, I’m going to be kind of loose and I’ll go at this guy.”
You know, shucks! It’s not like you get kicked once and the ref stops things, and you’re like, “Oh man, I lost.” It’s like, you know, you don’t go home to your family.
So I think that it’s important for people to understand that, and from what it sounds like to you, I really like that idea of “don’t fight over the weapon, control the weapon.” Beat the ever loving heck out of the other person and then just pick it up and then use it.
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