Mixed Martial Artists are among the most skilled fighters in the world. They have a broad skillset that allow them to fight standing or on the ground. They are formidable both inside and outside of the ring.
There are people who ask: What is better MMA or Krav Maga? To me, this is a misguided question. At our Toronto Krav Maga school, we have students who have trained (or are training) in both systems. The consensus is that both systems have their strengths but that they are also very different.
Here are five general differences.
- Assailant(s) vs Opponent. In real life assaults you do not know who your attacker (or attackers) will be (otherwise you would have prevented). In MMA you prepare for a particular opponent, usually someone in the same weight class and skill level. In street assaults, assailants often chose someone smaller. Think Brock Lesner attacking Amanda Nunes. In MMA the daunting challenge is that your are facing a trained fighter with skills.
- Direction(s). Like most combat sports, MMA opponents are facing each other. In street assaults, the attack can come from any direction.
- Specific rules. For MMA there are no groin strikes, eye gouges, biting, using common objects etc… A referee will intervene if a rule is being broken or if they decide one fighter is seriously hurt. In Krav Maga, especially considering the frequent size disparity, you often have to “fight dirty to survive.” Weapons’ of course, can come into play. In a street attacker someone might come to your aid. Maybe.
- Controlled Spaces (cage or ring). A cage offers a limited space and the ground surface is soft enough to do groundwork. In real assaults, might be able to run (first choice), but there are innumerable places where assaults take place – rooms, elevators, parking lots, public transit, on a street…
- Fighting on the Ground. Some MMA fighters want to go to the ground to submit their opponent. Many have backgrounds in wrestling or jujitsu. Most Krav Maga practitioners would have to quickly submit against a well-trained MMA fighter. Our federation, Kravolution, is developing our ground program but we have to fight dirty to have a chance against someone with extensive ground experience. Also, we strive to avoid going to the ground (easier said than done) because real surfaces can be sidewalks, hard floors, gravel, etc… There might be multiple attackers and our attacker might be significantly stronger or heavier. We also know he can bite, eye gouge, knife etc… There are no rules for him either!
We are increasingly seeing MMA fighters and Kravists training in both systems. They have different applications but there is a lot to learn from both.
Image by PranongCreative from Pixabay