Krav Maga vs Karate: Which One Is Better?

Multiple fighting techniques can help you stay fit and protect yourself. Many people learn martial arts for self-defense, to balance life, and other reasons. Krav Maga and Karate are two fighting techniques you may have encountered in martial arts. So, Krav Maga vs Karate: which one should you pick?

Krav Maga mainly encourages you to use tactical thinking and engage in real combat. Meanwhile, karate enables you to focus on striking down the opponent through subjugation moves. The former focuses on attacking the target’s vital points for maximum damage, while the attacking areas vary in karate.

You’re in the correct place if you want to know more about Krav Maga vs Karate. Here is all the information about the two fighting techniques to understand which one is better.

See also: Differences Between Krav Maga and Muay Thai (Which One Should You Choose?)

Krav Maga vs Karate: Which One Is Better?
Krav Maga vs Karate: Which One Is Better?

Table of Contents

A Glimpse Into Krav Maga History

In Hebrew, Krav Maga, which means “close combat,” is a relatively new martial arts–style. Krav Maga was developed by an Israeli martial artist named Imi Lichtenfeld.

Krav Maga has a fascinating and inspiring history; It was designed to help Jewish people defend themselves against fascists during the Pre Second World War (1)

Imre Lichtenfeld created Krav Maga as a self-defense mechanism in response to the anti-Semitic riots threatening Jews, particularly in Czechoslovakia. After that, Israeli forces adopted the fighting style to train their soldiers.

Darren Levine is the first person who taught Krav Maga outside Israel. He did this in 1981 and developed the international forms of this fighting technique. Now Krav Maga is famous worldwide and comes under the martial arts category. Its main emphasis is to train you for real combat.

See also: Karate and Kung Fu: How Different Are They?

A Glimpse Into Krav Maga History –

A Glimpse Into Karate History

Karate is among the oldest martial arts techniques you will encounter and resembles Kung Fu. It originated from an Okinawa Island of Japan many years ago. The fighting method is a mixture of Chinese and native martial arts. This is why it is highly famous in different countries.

On the island of Okinawa, kara-te originally meant Chinese (kara) hand (te). After, the word “karate” evolves and since means “empty hand.” (1)

During the Second World War, American soldiers also learned karate, which is how the fighting technique was brought to America. Since then, western culture has been increasing the popularity of karate. You will encounter many TV shows and movies, including this fighting technique.

See also: Should You Choose: Jiu-Jitsu or Karate?

Benefits Of Practicing Karate –

Krav Maga Vs. Karate: What Are The Differences?

In the Krav Maga vs. Karate debate, it is essential to understand the differences between the two. So let’s look at the primary things that set apart these martial arts techniques:

1- Krav Maga Is More Aggressive

Krav Maga helps you train for real-time combat and focuses on offensive attacks. It is highly aggressive and encourages you to damage the opponent by targeting their vital points. Tactical thinking is also one of the prime features of this fighting method.

Meanwhile, karate is less aggressive than Krav Maga. It has a deeper philosophy than the other martial arts technique. The method emphasizes training your body, spirit, and mind to improve you as a whole being. So the technique aims to teach you the right way of leading your life.

2- Karate Involves Subjugation Moves

Another primary difference between the two techniques is that karate mainly uses defense moves. Consecutive attacks and punches are the highlights of this fighting method. You can target different points on your opponent’s body to dismantle them.

On the other hand, Krav Maga is designed to help you win real-time combats as quickly as possible. This is why you have to use offensive moves and attack the opponent aggressively. The method involves using any means to dismantle the other person and enjoy a sweet victory.

3- Karate Has More Styles

Karate is a fighting method designed to protect yourself instead of harming others. This is why it offers more flexibility by helping you engage in different styles. The multiple attack and defense moves include:

  • Grappling
  • Punches
  • Knee strikes
  • Throws
  • Kicks
  • Joint locks
  • Elbow strikes

Krav Maga does not focus on many moves because you have to attack the opponent continuously. The primary aim is to finish the fight promptly by hitting a vulnerable part of the target’s body. Besides that, a safer distance is maintained between the two fighters in Krav Maga.

The primary target areas of this fighting sport include the eyes, stomach, chest, head, and groin. Krav Maga is not restricted to specific moves and encourages the fighters to use any method to win.

4- Krav Maga Is Better For Street Fighting

Both Karate and Krav Maga can be used for street fighting and tackling an opponent. However, the latter is superior in this category because of the fast-paced style and offensive fighting method. Krav Maga emphasizes defending oneself, but it does not focus on leaving the opponent alive or dead.

The continuous strikes will help you win a street fight more easily. This is why karate lags in this regard. The multiple moves will allow you to defend yourself against an aggressor. However, karate does not guarantee that you will win the fight because of the different restrictions of the fighting style.

5- Karate Is More Popular

It is no secret that many TV shows and movies use martial arts for fighting scenes. However, karate remains more popular than Krav Maga in different cultures. You will see this fighting in multiple western movies and series because of the philosophical concept.

Many people do not prefer Krav Maga because of the high aggressiveness level it encourages. This is why most movies don’t use this fighting technique. Besides that, this method is also not considered kid-friendly.

Most parents prefer to enroll their kids in karate classes instead of Krav Maga. This is because of the positive principles the former technique uses. Karate instills better values in young and adult fighters.

Below is a comparison between karate and Krav Maga based on worldwide web search on Google Maga. As you can see below, worldwide karate is far more popular than Krav Maga.

Krav Maga Vs. Karate
Table Displays Comparison Between Karate and Krav Maga Based On Web Search From Google Trend –

6- Principles

Krav Maga is purely self-defense and self-preservation and has no spiritual teachings behind it. It does not care for the opponent’s well-being. It is only designed to incapacitate the opponent to keep one’s self-safe from harm.

In contrast, even though, karate has a core belief in humility and kindness to all, it is still an effective self-defense technique.

Krav Maga’s Principles Karate’s Principles
– Krav Maga is a fighting technique based on actual combat, so its principles are efficiency, practicality, and aggression.
– Krav Maga focuses on subduing or incapacitating your opponent as quickly as possible.
– Krav Maga targets the opponent’s body’s vulnerable points for maximum harm. 
– Krav Maga emphasizes tactical thinking and simultaneous attack and defense
– Karate is based on point fighting; its principles are proper form and striking to score points.
– Karate focuses on philosophical concepts, including the wholeness of being.
– Karate uses set defensive drills, tricks, and maneuvers in striking and defending.
– Karate focuses on scoring areas for competition and competitive combat against the same or similar style.
Table Displays The Differences Between Krav Maga and Karate – (Source: Krav Maga Worldwide)

Is Krav Maga A Good Workout?

Krav Maga is among the most effective ways to engage in high-intensity workouts. A study concluded that Krav Maga is an excellent full-body workout that provides moderate-to-vigorous intensity conditioning.

Many people join Krav Maga classes for the physical and health benefits it offers. Krav Maga classes may be tough, but they also offer faster results than other training methods.

The top benefit of a Krav Maga workout is that it improves your mental agility. You can use the awareness training style to enjoy high focus during multiple situations. The increase in mental agility will also encourage your confidence and boost your self-esteem.

Besides that, Krav Maga exercises can also help you reduce stress, sleep better, and enjoy an improved life quality. However, you should remember that this consistency is essential if you need a good workout through Krav Maga.

See also: The 12 Pros And Cons Of Practicing Karate (Not what you expected!)

Is Krav Maga Good For Self-Defense?

Krav Maga is mainly designed as a self-defensive mechanism. This is why it is highly effective for protecting oneself. The counter-attack style and continuous strikes also help you easily defend yourself by tackling the opponent promptly. So the fighting technique allows you to come out of a fight with lesser damage.

However, that does not mean that karate is not suitable for self-defense. Karate is also effective and can help you protect yourself. So both methods are good for self-defense. Winning the fight also depends on your skills and training.

See also: Is BJJ Easy or Hard For Beginners? (Find out!)

Krav Maga Vs. Karate: Which One Is Better?

Krav maga will generally be better for self-defense. And, learning karate will take longer, depending on the style and school.

If you can fight aggressively and do not care about leaving your opponent dead or alive, Krav Maga will be the better fighting technique for you. Meanwhile, karate is best if you want to lead your life positively while knowing how to defend yourself.

In addition, both techniques allow you to defend yourself and stay fit. They also offer multiple health benefits and reduce stress. This is why the better method depends on your needs and fighting ability.

Krav Maga combines the best elements of traditional martial arts techniques, wrestling, boxing, and grappling. Krav Maga is practical and easy to learn. With hard work and consistent practice, it can transform you into a lethal weapon in about six months.

On the other hand, karate is more spiritual in principle, and it teaches you compassion.

Wrapping Up

This is your complete guide to Krav Maga vs. Karate. Both fighting styles are critical for self-defense and protection. However, karate is kid-friendly with high flexibility. 

This is why you should consider all the differences between Krav Maga and karate to decide which fighting technique is most suitable for you. Once you do this, you can easily choose between the two methods.


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