“Krav Maga: Real World Solutions To Real World Violence” by Gershon Ben Keren is an excellent addition to one's self-defense library when looking for a book that illustrates self-defense techniques with concepts and principles also discussed.
In close to 200 pages, Keren does a very good job of sharing some of his Krav Maga philosophy and techniques. He starts with an introduction of Krav Maga and himself before going into the three parts of this book.
Part 1: Basic Skills (Stances, Movement, Blocking, and Striking)
This portion of the book does a good job of describing basic principles and skills with photographs, that while small, are clear and illustrate well. Yes, they are basic, but basics are what one must learn and practice to actually defend oneself. These are the essential foundations of a good self-defense program and again, Keren does a good job of briefly describing these skills and illustrating them with photographs.
Part 2: Self-Defense Scenarios
This section provides responses to numerous types of attacks. Some of which include: knife threat against a wall, gun to front of head, rear hostage with arm around neck, and so on. And while there are numerous scenarios, Keren shows through pictures and descriptions how simple movements can be used for different situations so one can master fewer responses to use in a variety of ways rather than something completely different for every scenario. The pictures are again, small, but clear.
I actually took the book to the gym to get with a couple of my black belt Hapkido students to try some things out. We practiced the techniques and liked a number of them. They were not that different from things we already practice. On a few of them, we modified them a bit from what the book was showing to make them fit better with what we already do and practice. This really is the only way to learn techniques from a book or video, you must actually get on the mat and try them and practice them. And it is definitely easier to learn from a book or video when you already have a solid foundation of fighting or martial arts. I found the scenarios and techniques to be very good and liked this portion of the book.
Part 3: Unarmed Assaults and Dynamic Components of Violence
It this part, the author covers topics such as applying different chokes and strangles, fighting from a clinch, and escaping headlocks. The information is presented like the scenarios with descriptions and the small, but clear, photographs. Again, to benefit from this part of the book one needs to get with a partner and try the stuff out and practice.
The book concludes with a very short conclusion. This obviously isn't the entire Krav Maga curriculum or everything Keren knows. It is however, a very good book on the specific situations and scenarios Keren covers. For this type of book (technique book with pictures), it is well done and one that will compliment any self-defense training program and belongs in any self-defense resource library. With this said, I don't agree with all of Keren's “solutions to violence” and would opt for different solutions at times. But that doesn't take away from the book as a good resource, as I believe you should learn different things, try them out, and find the “best” for you individually. Not everyone will fight like Keren, just like not everyone will fight like me. We must all learn and train to be the best we can be individually, and this book can help with that journey.
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