The Krav Maga Black Belt

Ten years ago this month I got my Black Belt in Krav Maga. It was the most physically challenging day of my life, and in many ways the most mentally challenging as well. I still remember every detail of the test, from the live knife coming at me, to the pain of my bruised ribs and my battered leg and shoulder. I remember the moment that the test was over, and Darren Levine told me that I passed, and that he believed I could handle myself in any situation. I have never forgotten those words. I will never forget that day.

I have been training instructors in Krav Maga since 2003. This is my passion. I love working with people who have dedicated themselves to empowering others through self defense. Black Belt Weekend is the culmination of that dedication and training. The Krav Maga Black Belt test is the ultimate test of heart, spirit, knowledge, and skill in self defense.

Giving this test, as well as other tests and certifications for instructors from all over the world, is now my duty and my privilege. This past weekend was the most recent test, and it was truly an honor for me to guide these men on their Krav Maga journeys. Many of them I have known and worked with since they began training.

I pushed them as hard as I could. And they fought through everything. There was blood, sweat, and tears. And… So. Much. Heart.

I am so proud of the men who went through this test. All of you are better practitioners of Krav Maga as a result, but more importantly, better teachers. I know you will continue to empower others and keep them safe.

I wanted to take this moment to thank you for what you do.

Keep training everyone, and go do some Krav Maga today!

How to throw an Elbow!

In close range, an elbow is one of the most effective weapons that we can throw.  If done properly, it can do a ton of damage and help your cause in getting out of any situation.

I like to call elbows your best friends in a fight.  You can use them at any angle that you can move your arm, and they are very powerful.  Be sure to involve your lower body.  As usual, and effective strike starts from the ground, driving from your feet, legs, hips.

In this video, we are focusing on elbow from the side.  Rotation is key to making this strike strong.  Many students try to lean instead of rotating, which reduces your power significantly.

Ok, that’s all for now.  Enjoy the video, be safe… and GO DO SOME KRAV MAGA TODAY!

-AJ  @AJDraven – Twitter






It wouldn’t be real Krav Maga without the Israeli favorite known as the headbutt!

The headbutt is a close range weapon that can do tons of damage when needed, but it can also be pretty risky especially if not done properly or to the correct target.  I like to call it a high risk/high reward combative.

If you are practicing this movement at home or at your own school, be sure to use caution and start very lightly.  See video for how to execute the strike properly, and I recommend having a certified instructor present while practicing.

All of this being said, should you ever need to use this attack, you can definitely do a ton of damage if you connect with the bad guy’s nose!

Ok, that’s all for now.  Enjoy the video, be safe… and GO DO SOME KRAV MAGA TODAY!

-AJ  @AJDraven – Twitter



Gun to Back of Head while on Ground

We must train on even the most difficult of situations.  Any defense against a gun threat is difficult, but in this video we are dealing with an extremely delicate scenario.  I would think that plenty of bad things had to of happened to get you here, but nonetheless, we must have a way to get out of this position should this ever happen.

With the gun placed on the back of your head while you are on the ground, your options are limited.  We can still redirect the weapon off of our head, but we must attempt to control the weapon prior to counterattacking as we are in no position to strike.  It is rare that we don’t strike immediately while defending, but our hands are forced in this particular scenario.

After redirecting the weapon, we must cup it with the opposite hand to prevent the attacker from pulling away from us.  From here the fight is on.  Hopefully I can trap the gunman’s hand and roll him over the top of me as shown in the video.  At the very least if I can make a successful redirection and hold the weapon with both of my hands I will have a legitimate chance at fighting my way out and up onto my feet.

As usual, when dealing with a gun, after I successfully defend I must always assess the situation to figure out what I should be doing next.  I will never assume that an attackers gunman will be suitable for me to use, and depending upon my knowledge of firearms, I may have to use it as a blunt object.

I hope none of you are ever in a situation like this, but I think this response would give you the best chance at survival.

Ok, that’s all for now.  Enjoy the video, be safe… and GO DO SOME KRAV MAGA TODAY!

-AJ  @AJDraven – Twitter



Your feedback on the post is welcome.


Father’s Day

Krav Maga has been a part of my life for almost 15 years.  What started as a cool and different way to work out and learn how to defend myself, eventually became my job, and is now the backbone of my life.

My life has evolved in many ways over these years.  Most dramatically, when I became a father 15 months ago.  Before this life changing event, I  never talked about time in “months” – but as a parent, I now see time so differently. Every moment counts, and I value my time here on this earth so much more than I ever imagined was possible. It was in this metamorphosis that Krav Maga became more than just my job, my workout, and my hobby.

When my son was born I was overwhelmed by the feeling that it was my job to protect him and keep him safe and happy in our sometimes difficult and dangerous world.

I no longer do Krav Maga just for me.  I do it for him.  I do it for my family.  I do it to keep my wife and child safe, and our extended circle of beloved friends and family as well.  And while yes, I still do it for me, it’s now to keep myself healthy and fit so I can be there for them (and with them) to enjoy this incredible life for as long possible.

There are many fathers (and mothers) out there that do Krav Maga for the same reasons I do, and today I salute you all.  Know that you are appreciated for committing to keep your families and communities safe.  Know that you are doing something that will improve your life and the lives of those around you, even people you haven’t met yet… because of your ability to protect yourself and others even in the most dangerous of situations.

I am so thankful to be a father, and to value my time and my life in this way. And I am truly grateful for the practice of Krav Maga, helping to empower all of us to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe.

Get Aggressive!

We must learn how to defend anything that comes at us.  We must understand the concepts and principles of self defense, and then create the most effective ways to get out of each situation safely.

The other element to being able to defend oneself is learning how to be as aggressive as possible, and then harnessing that aggressiveness and adrenaline to create an even more effective defense.

This is not something that you can study or learn outside of a training room.  You must FEEL it.  You must feel the adrenaline and intensity through your entire body and use it to make your attacks stronger and more effective.

We do many drills to practice under stress and while extremely fatigued, trying to simulate what it feels like in a real fight.  We push our students and teachers to fight when they think they don’t have an ounce of energy left in their bodies, and they learn to overcome even the toughest obstacles.

Learning to be aggressive will build confidence and help you believe that you can fight back against anything.  When you realize the importance of this, your ability to defend yourself will dramatically increase!

In this week’s video we do one of my favorite drills.  Fighting as hard as you can while being pulled in a different direction helps you feel the adrenaline and overcome obstacles while you are attempting to strike.

In the end, if you must fight for your life.  Do not hold back.  Flip on the light switch and go until you are ready to leave the situation safely!


Ok, that’s all for now.  Enjoy the video, be safe… and GO DO SOME KRAV MAGA TODAY!

-AJ  @AJDraven – Twitter

Your feedback on the post is welcome.

Please leave it in the comments, or on Twitter or Facebook!



Arm Bar!

I rarely recommend submission holds in a street fight or a self defense situation.  It is extremely dangerous to be on the ground due to our lack of mobility and any number of variables that can happen on the street.

The truth is you can have the greatest arm bar technique in the world and while you are executing it his buddy can come over and stomp on your head.  So let me say this again, if possible, stay off the ground and use strikes to get up as quickly as possible when already on the ground in a real fight.

That being said, it is still crucial to understand any type of attack so that we can become more well rounded fighters and so that we can learn what to expect in a fight.  I must understand the basics of grappling and submission holds as they may be used against me one day and I want to understand how it works in order to be able to best defend against it.

And of course, there may be a situation where this technique truly is the best counter attack that I can use, and in that case, I want to know how to do it!

In this weeks video I go over the basics of an arm bar from the guard.  You can absolutely break someones arm while doing this, so be careful in training!

If I must use an arm bar, I will then attempt to get to my feet as soon as possible, assess the situation, and leave safely.

Ok, that’s all for now.  Enjoy the video, be safe… and GO DO SOME KRAV MAGA TODAY!

-AJ  @AJDraven – Twitter

Your feedback on the post is welcome.

Please leave it in the comments, or on Twitter or Facebook!

Shotgun Defense

When dealing with a Long Gun threat, I must abide by similar principles to that of a hand gun or a pistol.  I follow the acronym, R.C.A.T., which we use to defend against the majority of gun threats.

  • Redirect
  • Control
  • Attack
  • Takeaway

First I must redirect the line of fire off of my body.  Once I have made this redirection, I must make sure that the line of fire is never put back on me or anyone that I am protecting.

Second I must control that line of fire, and to ensure that step one is maintained throughout my defense and I stay out of potential harm.  At any moment the gun could fire, and I never want to take the chance that I will be in front of the weapon should that happen.

Third, and often simultaneously with the ‘control’ step, I must attack as strong as I can to the most vulnerable area on the body that is available to strike.

Finally, I must safely take the weapon away while maintaining control of the line of fire.  This may mean striking until the attacker is knocked unconscious, or simply taking the weapon away at the first moment that it is available to take.  Circumstances change based on the type of weapon and the position that the threat is posed to you.

When dealing with a shotgun or long gun, it is important to make the most efficient redirection possible and then get inside the line of fire.  Once inside, I can use the gun as a blunt weapon against the attacker if I move quickly and throw an effective counter attack to gain a momentary advantage.

Remember, when defending against a ‘gun threat’, we are not necessarily racing the finger pulling the trigger, but the change of mind made by the attacker to escalate his threat into an active shooting scenario.

Ok, thats all for now.  Enjoy the video, be safe… and GO DO SOME KRAV MAGA TODAY!

-AJ  @AJDraven – Twitter

Your feedback on the post is welcome.

Please leave it in the comments, or on Twitter or Facebook!





25th Episode!

Here is a look back on some highlights to celebrate 25 weeks in a row of Krav Maga videos.

I have had a great time making these and truly appreciate you watching each week.  Your comments and feedback are the reason that we keep making them!

Hope you enjoy these clips put together by the people at Kravmaga Worldwide.

Keep training everyone!

Ok, thats all for now, enjoy the video, be safe, and… GO DO SOME KRAV MAGA TODAY!

-AJ  @AJDraven

Your feedback on the post is welcome.

Please leave it in the comments, or on Twitter or Facebook!

Hostage Situation

As we have discussed before knives or edged weapons are one of the most difficult types of weapons to defend against.  Today we are going to discuss a particularly dangerous threat, where the attacker has already grabbed you and may be trying to hold you hostage.

Here is the situation:

Someone grabs you from behind and squeezes a knife against your throat. One false move and this dangerous situation can be fatal.  Whether they are holding you hostage, or just threatening you from behind, we must be extremely careful and efficient with our movements.

In this situation, like many other threats, the attacker has not decided to slash just yet, and is holding the knife at the throat threatening the fatal attack, or waiting for the moment to kill.  This is why we call it a threat, not an attack.  However this situation can change to an attack at any split second, so when we decide to defend we must commit all the way and move as explosively as possible.

I cannot defend at the blade of course, so I must explosively ‘pluck’ at the wrists in a similar movement that I make when executing a headlock defense.  (Here is a link to the headlock defense blog/video in case you need a refresher: )

From here I must use my body as leverage to ensure that the knife cannot be put back on me, and must not allow the attacker any space so that he can pull the knife away and attack with a stab or slash from another angle (see video below for details).  It is crucial that once I get control of the wrist with both of my hands, I do not give any space for the attacker to move the knife.  I like to think of making my hands and arms like a boa constrictor, getting tighter every chance I get.

Because of the angle of this attack, and the deadly threat involved, my best counter attack is likely to rotate towards the attacker with the knife pinned to my shoulder and drive it into his body.  I only do this if I am sure that his intent is to murder me or others in the room, and if he is clearly fighting to regain control of the knife to use it against me.  I then continue into a hand/wrist control and take the weapon away.

This technique is extremely dangerous.  Please use this article and the video as a reference guide only, and practice on your own at your Krav Maga training center.  Or come practice with me!

Ok, thats all for now, enjoy the video, be safe, and… GO DO SOME KRAV MAGA TODAY!

-AJ  @AJDraven

Your feedback on the post is welcome.

Please leave it in the comments, or on Twitter or Facebook!