7 Essential Self Defence Moves You Should Know | Krav Maga

Krav Maga was designed to avoid, deter, prevent and deal with violent confrontations of any kind and it has been described as everything from realistic self defence to the art of making it home alive. The term itself is Hebrew for ‘contact combat’ and it provides a great way for men, women and children of all ages to get fit, stay healthy and be safe. Here are 7 common assaults and the Krav Maga self defence techniques and tactics that you should know to survive such an incident.

A small number of attack techniques make up the largest portion of common attacks, so knowing the following 7 essential self defence moves is highly recommended

Defence against Haymaker

The classic Haymaker is a looping round punch, sometimes called a Hook punch, and is a common attack used in violent encounters. Krav Maga uses your natural responses for defensive tactics. The ‘Outside Defence’ is a 360 degree block used against Indirect – or ‘round’ shaped – attacks.
Central to Krav Maga is a simultaneous Block and Strike mentality.

To use the Outside Defence:

– Burst towards the punching arm.

– Your wrist should block at the attackers wrist.

– Your wrist should be higher than your elbow; your elbow higher than your shoulder; your chin tucked down.

– Attack with a Punch or Palm strike of your own while blocking.


Once you’ve blocked the incoming punch, your objective is to Capture, Immobilise, and Control, Capture & Immobilise: Your blocking arm threads over the attackers punching arm to cup or wrap that arm at the tricep or around their elbow joint.

Control: Your punching hand now grips their Trapezius between the neck and shoulder.

– Rapidly deliver repeated knees while still bursting forward with control of your attacker.

– Spin them around to Move and Scan to see if they have any back up.

Separate: Create distance from your attacker with a solid push and follow up kick.

– Always Move and Scan after Separating. Escape to safety.


Defence against single hand Shirt Grab

The single hand shirt grab is often a pre cursor to being punched by the attackers other hand.

Explosively ‘pluck’ the attackers hand that has grabbed your shirt. (To pluck; have your thumb glued to index finger, finger tight together forming a ‘hook’). Pluck at their wrist to peel it off you. Hold on to the attackers arm close to your pectoral.

– Simultaneously strike their face with a clawed hand and rake the face – ‘stab and grab’. i.e: ‘stab’ the face, particularly the eyes, with strong fingers; then ‘grab’ at facial bits.

– Push your hand deep into their face to tilt the head back to create maximum disorientation in your attacker.

– Follow up strike options include knees, elbows and hammer fists.

– Separate and Move and Scan. Escape to safety.


Alternatively you can Palm strike under the Chin to tilt their head back.


Defence against Front Bear Hug

The Bear Hug is used by attackers to squeeze the breath out of you; or to establish a hold to simply walk over top of you to sit on your chest in ‘mount’; or as a pre cursor to picking you up and slamming you on the ground with them landing on top of you.

An attacker will cinch a grip around your lumbar and pull you close.

If you don’t react quick enough to ‘space and base’, meaning to get your hips and legs back, you will almost certainly be suspended or barely grounded.

– With your hands free, attack the face immediately.

– Spread your fingers naturally over their face, looking to establish some control points: thumb under the chin, index fingers under the nose bridge, middle fingers in the eyes, ring and pinkies at forehead. Vigorously tilt their head back.

– ‘Space and base’ your hips and legs, deliver multiple knees to the groin. Move and Scan. Escape to safety.


Defence against Double hand Front Choke

One of the most common domestic violence attacks is the front choke.

When an attacker wraps both hands around your throat, your primary concern is relieving the blocked windpipe. You have less than 10 seconds before becoming unconscious. The damage to your trachea can be irreparable and potentially fatal.

Krav Maga uses your natural responses for defensive tactics. Your hands reflexively go to the problem.

– Explosively ‘Pluck’ with hook hands at their wrists (thumbs glued to index finger, fingers tight together forming a ‘hook’). Elbows high, squeeze your shoulder blades together.

– Pluck across and down. Arch back. Simultaneous knee. Palm chin. Hammer face as needed.

– Push off. Kick. Move-Scan. Escape to safety.


Prevention kick

Krav Maga practitioners learn about the timeline of events in a violent encounter.

Avoidance is a tactic used where possible in every instance.

Prevention is when physical engagement is the best defence based on an attacker’s intention.

Prevention strikes are dictated by distance.

The Prevention Kick is used at long range.

– When the attacker has committed, immediately step forward with a Kick to key target areas such as knees, groin, hips, or solar plexus.

– Use the ball of your foot, or heel for maximum power. Keep hands up to maximise your protection (from say, the stick coming loose, or their momentum carrying them towards you).

– Move and Scan. Escape to safety.


Defence against Rear Bearhug

This attack from behind is often a precursor to being picked up and dumped on the ground.


– Immediately fold forward to make yourself heavy to pick up.

– Deliver multiple elbows from both sides, aggressively rotating your torso to loosen their grip while elbowing their head.

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– Spin around to deliver knees to the groin. Push off to separate.

– Move and Scan. Escape to safety.

Defence against wall push

An attacker may throw you in to a wall before continuing to bounce your head off it like a ball.


– When pushed towards a wall, extend your hands out to absorb the momentum like a wall push up. Quickly turn your head to the side to avoid your face being mashed into the wall.

– Immediately turn with a high elbow and continue the momentum to escape. Follow up with close range strikes as needed (elbows, knees, hammers).

– Separate, move and scan, escape to safety.


Training under expert guidance is critical to your development as a Krav Maga practitioner.

If you’d like to train to be Fit, Strong and Ready, Urban Kombat founder Garth Montgomery is a globally certified instructor with Krav Maga Core International. Book into a Krav Maga Induction class, or call Garth on 0408 864 851.