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Krav Maga: How to Defend Yourself Against Armed Assault Paperback – June 25, 2001
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"Imi Sde-Or, of blessed memory, developed a strategy for Krav Maga that makes self-defense possible for the individual too, whether or not in uniform, such that even when alone, the battle will not necessarily be lost."—Shimon Peres, formerly Israel's Prime Minister
About the Author
Imi Sde-Or (Imrich Lichtenfeld, 1910-1998) was the creator of the acclaimed school of Krav Maga. Imi and his senior disciple and follower, Iyal Yanilov, spent more than a decade writing this book.
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The risks it addresses are not abstractions to the citizens of most of our large cities. The morgues are littered with great women and men who died brutal deaths at the hands of street thugs. In many of these cases there was a moment in time when escape might have been possible, especially when the attackers are using drugs. For most women who are forced into cars by strangers it is the last ride of their life ( see Gift of Fear).
As a professional friend who is also a Deputy Sheriff part time commented, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.
There's no substitute for training. But this book helps to reinforce what you have learned and prepare you for the next lessons.
I found 25% of the book to be helpful as a review of what I was learning in class. The book was worthwhile for that alone. However, there is a lot more in the book.
The other 75% represents a range from a preview of what I will be learning to stuff that is and will always be far beyond my competence. However, it is 100% interesting. Hopefully I will never be called upon to disarm a man holding a grenade with the pin pulled. It's a worst case scenario left to those who must deal with such things.
The photos are clear and helpful. The consistent dress of the attacker and defender make it easier to understand. This makes it a great review and practice tool.
My sense is that many of the reviewers are looking for the same perfection they strive for in martial arts in a book. Unless written by the master under whom they study there will always be conflicts and inconsistencies.
Will the book take you off the couch and prepare you for deadly combat in 10 days? - no. Will it help you absorb and improve what you are learning and have learned in class? YES. Will it help you to understand and appreciate what is possible? YES Will it help to review what you learned years earlier YES.
NOTE: this is a book about self defense-"don't get hurt" and "act correctly" are two of its principles. My initial hand-to-hand combat training in the Marines had a different purpose-kill the other guy first because I was in a desperate situation and unarmed against an enemy who was duty-bound to kill me. This book doesn't specifically teach you how to kill-the emphasis is defensively removing the threat long enough to escape. The target audience of this book isn't the police officer charged with apprehending a violent criminal or the soldier confronted with an enemy who must be killed or disabled immediately (if not sooner)-this book is aimed at the private citizen who counters the assailant's attack. While I like the counters, and feel that they will work, a determined attacker will not be dissuaded simply because his pet technique fizzled the first time. Sometimes, as the text says, "if someone comes to kill you, kill him first." Krav Maga is a defensive art (Sambo is much more offensive) and the goal of "Defend Yourself Against Armed Assault" is "Become proficient, so that you will not have to kill."
Sorry. I won't be proficient enough to both avoid getting killed by multiple armed assailants and to stop deadly force assaults without really hurting them. I am not Superman. The techniques in this book do give me lesser force options because not every assault is a deadly force situation.
"How to Defend Yourself Against Armed Assault" covers counters to knives, guns, sticks, and hand grenades. Several "real-life stories" testify to the effectiveness of Krav Maga as a combatives system. The Page 93 and Page 108 stories of self-defense are compelling because they cover people foolishly misusing handguns and successfully disarming them without injury to either defender or careless person. Many self-defense problems do not require that the defender kill the attacker. Police use the force necessary to subdue and apprehend. Private citizens use the force needed to stop the assault-not always a "deadly force" assault, but will you stand still while someone pounds on you? In the two cases mentioned in the sidebars on pages 93 and 108 people were fooling around with loaded guns, not intending to hurt anybody.
Other sidebar antecedents: an armed soldier attacked at close range--and using hand-to-hand combat techniques to gain enough time and space to charge his rifle (military people usually have "unloaded weapons" when on sentry duty to limit accidental discharges, a practice that is often ignored in high-threat areas) and shoot his knife-armed attacker; a chess master who loses several chess matches to a "nobody" (the moral: "never underestimate your opponent"); Diane's use of a fire extinguisher beccause tear gas wasn't available; other Krav Maga success stories.
There is a chapter on expedient improvised weaponry and two chapters on using the stick as a defensive tool.
The illustrations are clear and concise. Each step in the technique is detailed. I could train from this book, given a training partner and a referee. The text gives instructions on training without an instructor, but I recommend an impartial referee both for safety and to improve training effectiveness. There is a chapter devoted to setting up a training program and training site. Safety is emphasized, though perhaps not as "safe" as litigation-conscious American commercial training centers and their legal advice would feel comfort with.
The history of Krav Maga is there for us amateur historians, too.
Many other books on hand-to-hand combat exist. I can train with this one. I would like an index, but I can use this as a defensive training textbook. My sole reservation is that I may need to move up the force spectrum when purely defensive techniques prove inadequate.