Krav Maga For Beginners. A guide to success in Krav Maga Training.

Krav Maga straight punch for beginners.

Krav Maga Worldwide® self-defense training is a system that was designed to bring people with little to no hand-to-hand combat experience to a high level of proficiency in hand-to-hand combat in a short period of time. Basically when Israel was first becoming a nation after WWII, Krav Maga’s creator, Imi Lichtenfeld, was tasked with training emigrants to Israel who were from all walks of life, to become the newly formed nation’s armed forces, what is known today as the IDF.

Krav Maga for beginners can seem intimidating and challenging…but remember two things. The first is that if you’ve decided to start training in Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense you are making a positive change in your life and, yes, that’s going to require some adjusting some effort to overcome obstacles. The second is that Krav Maga is a system that was basically designed, at least in Level 1, for absolute beginners.

This blog will give you a roadmap of tips for Krav Maga for beginners that will help you in both the mental and physical aspects of training so that you can progress and build skills that will make you stronger and safer. Here’s what’ we’ll breakdown in-depth.

The best way for beginners to be successful at Krav Maga.

Where To Start

Krav Maga Worldwide logo

People choose to start training in Krav Maga Worldwide® self-defense for many different reasons. Krav Maga Worldwide’s® self-defense training comes directly from the teachings of the creator of Krav Maga, Imi Lichtenfeld. Krav Maga for beginners teaches real, effective, self-defense skills that people want and feel they need.

Training also gets people into amazing shape as they push themselves to do things with their body that they’ve never done before. Some people who take Krav Maga as a beginner want to be empowered to protect others more so than themselves.

Whatever the reason, Krav Maga Worldwide® certified training centers are the best place to start. Our instructors at every certified training center have gone through hours and hours of certification courses in order to earn their certifications

Certification training in the Krav Maga Worldwide system is called “Phase Training”. Each Phase Training course is 20 – 40 hours long and instructors have to be at least a Level 2 practicing student for an extended period of time to even qualify for Phase A (the first Phase course). So, really, our instructors dedicate their lives to earning their certifications and passing on their knowledge to others.

Krav Maga Worldwide instructors are experts at teaching Krav Maga for beginners so make sure the location you have selected to start your training is a Krav Maga Worldwide certified training center. 

To find a Krav Maga Worldwide certified training center near you click here. Give them a call or go in and set-up a tour of the facility and schedule your first class. Many locations will let you take a trial class for free. 

Preparation For Class

When you’ve scheduled your first class, take the time to prepare for it. It’s important to develop a routine that gets you ready for class and getting your clothing and gear together is the first step in this routine. Distractions like not having everything you need when you want to get out the door, or not having something you need when you get to class can detract from your training. Honestly.

If you don’t already have a gym bag or bag that you can use to carry your clothing and gear to class in, get one. While you’re at it, get one that you really like, whether it’s the style or color or number of pockets, get a bag that you feel good about carrying so that you feel good about prepping with it and taking it to class.

Having your Krav bag with you when you get to class will help you stay organized and keep all of your gear as well as personal belongings like keys, phone, wallet, parking ticket for validation, etc in one spot whether your training center has lockers or not. 

Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense training does not require you to wear a traditional kimono or gi, generally you come to class in “comfortable workout clothes” just like you would wear if you were going to a regular gym or doing a home workout.

Some certified training centers ask that students wear a t-shirt from their location or at least with a Krav Maga Worldwide logo (you might even be provided this kind of shirt when you sign up) on it. Make sure you have the right clothes, maybe even a backup change of clothes.

Pack them in your bag in advance of class. Some training centers allow shoes on their mats, some do not. Find out what the policy is and plan your footwear accordingly. 

Krav Maga for Beginners Preparation Tip

Keep a couple of plastic grocery bags in your gym bag. Designate one bag for clean clothes that you are taking to and from the gym and the other for dirty clothes. This will keep the interior of your gym bag clean and organized, and help with odors.

Class preparation tips for Krav Maga beginners.

It’s a good idea to bring a small towel because, realistically, you will most likely get sweaty when you are training. Having and using a towel if you get sweaty is a practice of consideration for others you are training with that everyone respects and appreciates.

Krav Maga for beginners can be more physically taxing for some than for others but either way you’ll be getting a great workout when you are training and having a towel on hand will be a big help during and after class. If your training center has showers, maybe include a large towel and toiletry kit if you plan on cleaning up in the locker room after class.

Make sure you have at least 8oz. – 16oz. of water when you come to class. Again, you are going to be working out and losing water so have some on hand to keep your body hydrated and working correctly.

Krav Maga gloves for beginners.

Gloves and hand wraps are always useful to Krav Maga for beginners. Krav Maga Level 1 does not involve full contact training so the most frequently used gloves in Level 1 are very light, fingerless, grappling gloves or “mma gloves”.

Many Krav Maga beginners just wrap their hands with hand wraps to give support to their wrists and to protect their hands against minor wear and tear that comes with training. Hand wraps are very functional but don’t try to fit them under mma gloves, as generally there isn’t enough room. It can’t hurt to have a pair of boxing gloves as well, they just might not get much use until you get to Level 2. The most versatile size of boxing gloves is 16oz. 

Krav Maga beginners class prep checklist.

Watch, Listen, Do your Best

Krav Maga for beginners can seem a little overwhelming once class actually gets underway, so be ready to watch, listen, and do your best. You’ll do a warm up to get your body optimized for training. This will most likely include some calisthenics, stretching, and technique-specific movements.

The instructor will start demonstrating, explaining, and breaking down the techniques you are going to learn during that class. Make sure you are watching how the instructor is moving and make sure you are listening to the explanation of why they are moving that way. You will get the most out of the lesson if you are able to focus on both watching and listening while the instructor is teaching. Remember, Krav Maga is a system and there is a systematic approach in every class for conveying the knowledge needed for training.

This approach is perfect when it comes to Krav Maga for beginners. Understanding the “why” behind what you are doing in training will help you understand the “how” of doing it.

Krav Maga self-defense class for beginners.

Once the instructor has demoed and explained the technique to be trained on, you’ll be given an opportunity to do the technique “dry” or basically doing it to the air while watching yourself in a mirror. Make sure you are watching how your body is moving in relation to how the instructor’s body was moving. It’s o.k. if it’s not exactly the same at first, but try to get the basics down.

A good system for making this analysis is starting from the ground and working up. Are your feet in the same place? Are your legs in the same position? Is your torso aligned or rotating the same way? Are your hands and arms doing the same thing? Is your head position the same? 

Krav Maga beginner level class throwing punches.

Dry work will lead into working with a partner and a piece of equipment or with just a partner. Based on what the instructor just taught, you might be doing a drill that involves many different elements or practicing just one thing at a time with your partner. Whatever it is, do your best to apply the technique you watched, heard about, and practiced dry.

Do not worry if you don’t get it right the first time…or second…or third. Krav Maga for beginners is very much about training your body to do things it hasn’t done before…and training your body to do something takes time, and practice. Some techniques are going to “click” with you faster than others. That’s the way it is for everyone.

Most importantly, don’t compare yourself in terms of being “good” or “bad” at training in relation to how other people in the class are doing. Consider how the instructor’s technique looks and model your practice after them.

Don’t worry if other people are at a higher or lower level with any given technique than you are. It’s your time to build skills and improve. Remember to watch, listen, and do YOUR best. That is all that matters.

Do Some Mental Reps After Class

Beginner level Krav Maga students should mentally review techniques after class.

Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense classes are usually action packed and Krav Maga for beginners can sometimes be a lot to process and remember. It’s a good idea to take jus a little time after each class to go over what you trained on that day.

It could be that you do this on your way home or back to work. Maybe you take some time before you go to bed or while you are relaxing at home. Some people even like to keep a journal and track their training, progress, etc.

Whatever your method for mental review is, this sort of review will help you remember the techniques that were covered in class as well as help you identify both the areas you performed well in and where you need improvement.

As you do your mental reps and review it’s important that you don’t get hung up on focusing on the overly positive or overly negative. Focus on the consistency of your effort in each class. This is the best way for Krav Maga beginners and, really, advanced students to continue to build a well rounded skill set.

It's Not A Contest

Krav Maga classes for beginners are fun and cooperative.

Training is not competition. In fact Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense was developed with the idea that there wold never be actual Krav Maga competitions, it’s a system that was designed for hand-to-hand combat on the battlefield. No rules. Nothing off-limits if it means protecting your life. 

In a larger sense your training is not a competition against other people in the system, nor is it a race to progress through the belt-system as fast as possible. Your goals and motivation for training should be the only thing that matter.

What about belts?

krav maga belts

Krav Maga Worldwide does utilize a belt system but it is not a deadline. It was developed to guide you within the system. There are requisites for testing into each progressively higher belt level but, again, those are guidelines. If you’ve achieved the requisites for the next level and are approved to test, give it a shot. If you don’t feel you are ready at that time, no problem. In reality, it’s the Krav Maga Worldwide system but it’s YOUR training program.

In martial arts training in general you will hear people say “don’t focus on the belt”….and, generally, this sort of advice comes from advanced students who have already achieved a high belt ranking, which is somewhat ironic because, well, easy for them to say when they’ve already got an advanced belt, right? Consider what they are saying however because it’s sound advice and it’s coming from people who have experience. Just because they have achieved a high level and high belt ranking, they haven’t reached a stopping point. If they had, they most likely wouldn’t be there giving you advice to begin with.

The truth is there really is not finish line in self-defense training. Krav Maga for beginners is the best way to develop and build real skills that will help you be stronger and safer. Every class builds your ability and knowledge. Stay motivated by what originally inspired to start training and you will continue to generate motivation and new goals for yourself!

Krav maga for beginners Level 1 class low straight punch

Physical Skills

So, that’s a good roadmap to consider in broad strokes. Now it’s time talk about the nuts and bolts, physical skills needed for Krav Maga beginners to achieve success in terms of becoming proficient in training and reaching goals.

Krav Maga for beginners, and as a beginner, basically resets and restarts with each progression in level. When you reach Level 2, you will be a beginner again with regard to that level.

In Krav Maga Level 1 training however there are several essential skills that you need to become proficient with in order to attain a level of mastery. Keeping these skills in mind each time you train, and working to build them on your own, will help you get the most out of your training and maximize your time. Those skills are: footwork, pivoting, rotation, and hand position.

The video below gives an in-depth breakdown of the skills as well as examples of drills you can do on your own to reinforce your development and progression. Krav Maga for beginners becomes much easier when you have a solid foundation of these skills.

Use this blog and the information in it to help you as you start training. If all of it makes sense to you, great. If you like bits and pieces of what is explained here and develop your own methods and approach, that’s great too.

Krav Maga for beginners is fun, it’s challenging,  it’s exciting, and at the end of the day it’s something positive you are doing with your life. Staying consistent and giving consistent effort are going to be the most important elements of training.

If you live in Los Angeles and want to try a free class at our HQ Training Centers in West Los Angeles or Sherman Oaks, give us a call at 800-572-8624 or email us at

If you’re not in Los Angeles, call us or click here for our certified training center location finder.