Which Shakespeare Characters Should’ve Learned Krav Maga?

Which Shakespeare’s characters should’ve learned Krav Maga? It’s not question that will often be asked, but the link between The Great Works and the world’s most effective form of self defence is not as tenuous as it may first appear…

The Bard knew a few things about murder and mayhem, and the collected works of William Shakespeare is replete with human viciousness. Beheadings, poisons, smotherings, drownings, people torn apart, hangings, even Shame is a death certificate entry for Enobarbus in Antony and Cleopatra.

Which Shakespeare Characters Should've Learned Krav Maga

From Hamlet to Mercuito to Julius Caesar. Many of the Bards most famous protagonists all met a sticky end in one particular way. If only they’d been able to defend themselves better.

There is one cause of death that towers above all in the works of Shakespeare: Stabbing.

The Bard wrote of 62 deaths across his classic tragedies.

Twenty nine of Shakepeare’s characters were killed by the Knife in stabbings mostly by others, a few self inflicted.

From Hamlet to Mercuito to Julius Caesar. Many of the Bards most famous protagonists met a sticky end at the pointy end of a blade. If only they’d been able to defend themselves better.

Shakespeare killings

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If the Bard knew about stabbing deaths, Krav Maga founder Imi Lichtenfeld knew about Knife defences.

Weapons defences are key part of the Krav Maga fighting system. Sticks, machetes, bats, iron bars, knives, handguns, shotguns, machine guns all feature in Krav Maga curriculums that are true to Imi’s version of the Israeli Military fighting system.

These weapons are still in common use on the streets today, and practitioners of Krav Maga often drill defences against attacks from these commonly available weapons.

Understanding avoidance and prevention tactics are crucial to the Krav Maga system when dealing with any attack – especially weapons. Engagement and how best to do that and at what range are also commonly covered when training against weapons.

Disarming is an often controversial issue given the unpredictable and frenetic attacks that are likely to occur – particularly with a fast moving weapon like a Knife.


Krav Maga focusses on disarms as a last resort, and even then it is kept simple and within the principles of Krav Maga that fine motor skills won’t be accessible while experiencing a rapid spike in adrenaline and heart rate. The disarms used by military personnel and Krav Maga practitioners take this reality into account when dealing with disarms, primarily focussing on the defensive techniques that will save your life more than a fancy disarm.

In every instance of a Knife attack, Krav Maga emphasises avoidance as the primary tactic. Developing situational awareness is integrated into various drills. Giving up whatever is asked for by someone with a Knife is another avoidance tactic – again drilled in scenarios to ensure that students are grounded in reality and familiar with the situation as it presents itself.

When physical engagement is the best survival tactic, Krav Maga looks at Knife defences with aggressive attacks on the weapon bearing limb. Using ‘bursting’ toward the weapon to block, trap and immobilise, Krav Maga practitioners get a feel for what is required to deal with an aggressor who intends to stab you.

shakespeare self defence

The simulation drills create a range of circumstances and scenarios to help the Krav Maga practitioner become inoculated as best against the stress and frenetic nature of a a Knife attack. Of course nothing is perfect. The knife may be the most dangerous of all the weapons. Krav Maga uses techniques that are battle tested by Israeli Defence Force soldiers facing these exact set of circumstances in Israel everyday.

IDF Krav Maga commanders analyse situation reports and deconstruct events from recorded footage and witness accounts. They reenact and cross check Krav Maga knife defences against circular knife attacks from above and below, at all angles from 360 degrees around the human body.

IDF Commanders also look at wild slashes and straight stabs at varying heights, and constantly pressure test the Krav Maga knife defences against real world attacks.

It’s safe to say that if any of Shakespeare’s stabbing victims had some Krav Maga training, then perhaps their fate would be different.

If you are interested in learning real world defensive tactics and techniques, look for the best Krav Maga school in Sydney.

Urban Kombat teaches authentic Krav Maga in Sydney’s Inner West, bringing it direct from the source in Israel.

We offer a friendly and warm environment to people of all level of experience who want to learn Krav Maga’s reality based self defence.

Book in for an Induction here and start your journey towards feel safe, strong and empowered.