Eyal on the History Channel

Israel: land of the Bible, the Torah, and the Quran. It’s also one of the most dangerous places on Earth.

Video transcript

Host 1: Israel: land of the Bible, the Torah, and the Quran. It’s also one of the most dangerous places on Earth.

Host 2: Here, terrorism is more than just a threat. Every year, Israelis are killed by guerrillas, assassins, and suicide bombers.

Host 1: And this war-torn country has given birth to one of the deadliest hand-to-hand combat systems in the world: Krav Maga.

Israel sits on the southern of the Mediterranean Sea. Surrounded by Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, this strip of land has seen plenty of conflict in the last 3000 years.

From the pharaohs of ancient Egypt to the Crusaders, from the Roman Empire to the British Empire, virtually every major civilization has fought to control this territory.

Host 2: Today, each of its seven million citizens must serve for at least two years in the Israeli army and they all learn Krav Maga.

Host 1: Literally meaning “close combat”, Krav Maga is a general term that encompasses many Israeli fighting styles. The term includes everything from basic self-defense moves to advanced special forces techniques.

Host 2: Krav Maga relies on moves from many different martial arts. It combines strikes and blocks from Muay Thai and karate, throws from judo, and disarms and grappling from jujitsu.

Host 1: In Krav Maga, there’s no rank, no points, and no rules. Victory isn’t about a title or a belt or money, it’s about survival.

Host 2: Natanya on the Mediterranean coast isn’t widely known outside Israel, but it’s famous in personal protection circles. It’s home to the headquarters of the International Krav Maga Federation.

Host 1: The Federation has trained some of the world’s top bodyguards.

Host 2: The man who trains them is Eyal Yanilow, chief instructor of the Federation and Eyal’s training never loses focus on the life and death consequences of Krav Maga.

Eyal: Krav Maga is an integrated system which is to prepare a person to deal with real type of conflicts.

Host 1: Eyal starts our training. Hard.
They’re really doing it on this one, here.

Eyal: They are attacking targets.

Host 1: Oh, they’re attacking multiple targets?

Eyal: Yes, multiple targets, multiple opponents.

Host 2: From my years of fighting, I’m used to strict rules. You fight one guy in a confined space with a ref.
Now, Eyal sticks me at the bottom of a Krav Maga dog pile and all I have to do is fight my way out, any way I can.
It’s not a good feeling being surrounded by 12 guys.
This exercise isn’t designed to teach us a specific technique. Instead, it’s to teach us how aggression and effort are a big part of self-defense.

Host 1: Krav Maga’s all about using anything you can to get out of a dangerous situation and I can’t see anything more dangerous than being surrounded by these guys. All right.

It’s really like a bar fight. I mean, punches, kicks, chokes, anything. You gotta get the guys off you, and quick. Use anything you got: poke them in the eyes, hit them in the balls, elbow to the head. You want to live, they want to kill you.

Host 2: Then Eyal ups the stakes. If you’re going to be a bodyguard, you can’t just watch out for yourself. So, now, I have to go into the dog pile with a client and bring him out safe.

It’s like being a human pinball. Going through 15 people is one thing but this simulates possibly going through hundreds, if not thousands.

Host 1: But training in the gym isn’t enough. Krav is a real world fighting art, so Eyal takes us outside to teach us a move to help counter any kind of attack. It’s called the 360 defense.

Eyal: The most common attack, especially with the hand, is a circular attack.

Host 2: As we’ve just seen, an assault could come at us from any direction. This move would work against them all.

Eyal: The technique is this chopping motion. Open hand is a little better because you’ve got another space and it’s faster. Aim to stop the attack at the wrist.
Why at the wrist? Because of the knife. You should be able to use the technique in all variation, in all angles, in all directions. That’s it.

Host 2: The 360 defense conditions a fighter’s perception and reaction time, the time it takes to identify a threat and react against it.
The average human being’s time is 1.5 seconds.

Host 1: 360 defense training strengthens the [axonal 00:05:09] connection in the brain, trimming a fighter’s response time to nearly a tenth of a second. That’s faster than a mouse click on your computer.

Host 2: Doing the 360 defense requires you keep your body in motion at all times, using your arms to defend different angles of attack. The key is keeping your arms at an oblique angle, with your hands open and straight so that you don’t any blows straight on.

Each is deflected down the angle of your forearm, which reduces its impact.

So this is something that you’d use no matter what angle you’re at. It doesn’t matter if the person’s straight on to you, to the side of you, to the back of you. You can use these techniques anywhere.

Eyal: Exactly, exactly.

Host 2: What we’re quickly discovering is that Krav Maga isn’t defined by one type of technique. Instead, it’s built from the pieces of other martial arts and then modified for self-defense in combat situations.

But our training wasn’t over yet. Eyal led us to a nearby beach to work on our next self-defense technique, a move we can use to defend against one of the most dangerous attacks: a choke.

Eyal: If somebody is at your throat, it’s a matter of sometimes seconds until you lose consciousness. If you lose consciousness, you know, we can do whatever.

Host 2: It’s hard to defend yourself.

Eyal: Definitely.

Host 2: If someone’s got their hands around your throat, they can do a lot of damage.

Eyal: Now, I’ll let you it a little bit. If you say “ah”-

Host 2: Ah-

Eyal: Okay.

Host 2: Yeah, I feel that. Thank you.

Eyal: Exactly.

Host 1: This soft tissue of the throat is one of the most vulnerable areas of your whole body. Just 76 pounds of compressive force to the throat is enough to cause total collapse of the larynx. That’s less force than it takes to crumple a beer can.

Eyal: If you’re choking me … that is natural behavior.
Unfortunately, it is not strong enough.

Host 2: The trick to executing the choke defense is to not pull down, which is your first instinct.

Eyal: These five fingers are going to come as close as possible to my neck. Lean on my shoulders-

Host 2: Instead, you pull your opponents hands to the side, breaking the choke.

Eyal: My elbows are going backwards strongly, contraction of the neck muscles, chin a bit down, stomp in the place, and giving the first strike which is usually a knee to groin.

Host 1: During the choke, your opponent is relying on his grip strength and outstretched arms to maintain the choke. The strength of your back and shoulder muscles is greater than the applied force of your opponent’s hold, so it doesn’t take much to break his grip.

Host 2: And the closer your hands are to your own neck, the greater the leverage.

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