In the media over the last few years there have been more than a few raving reviews about Krav Maga and some reviews listing Krav Maga complaints.
Following is a critique of Krav Maga with some Pros & Cons.
The Definition of the words Krav Maga is Close Combat or Hand To Hand Combat. The main Krav Maga instructors in Israel take a very Jeet Kun Do approach to learning and simply want to find the best training they can that works.
In the last few years they have been studying Russian Systema, have had Michael Ryabko in to teach and have sent at least one active duty soldier to a Systema camp to learn (I was at the camp and it was a big deal because they released him from an active conflict with Lebanon at the time so that he could attend.)
So the Israeli’s do seem to be very committed to getting the best instruction they can for their troops.
However, due to the necessity to learn only what can be picked up in a very short period of time, such as in a seminar environment, a lot of advanced techniques and methods are not generally present in the art because they simply do not get past basic skills in the amount of time that is allotted for training. Also, camps and seminars tend to cover a lot of material which gives great exposure to an art form but often does not impart very many skills to the participants because very little time is spent on any one thing making retention of the material very difficult.
There are some credible Krav Maga instructors and organizations that have strict advancement requirements and make sure that their instructors have quality training. However, one of the main Krav Maga programs offered in the United States is a 2 week instructor training camp whereby participants pay to become certified instructors with only 2 weeks of training.
People can learn to defend themselves relatively quickly as in a few days or a week. To master the material in a way that you can reliably teach others to defend themselves takes a lot longer. All I can say is that this is very unfortunate and a real bad mark against the credibility of Krav Maga and that legitimate instructors pay the price for this kind of cheap marketing scheme of self defense.
Krav Maga is one of the few martial arts that spends a fair amount of time on Gun Techniques. Unfortunately two of the favorite techniques that every Krav Maga instructor that I have seen demonstrate are exceptionally likely to get you killed and was the primary reason that I never put much serious time into this art.
There does seem to be a great difference between what is taught to the Israeli military and American Civilians. Personally I go out of my way to avoid watered down versions of self defense.
In conclusion the thing I like best about Krav Maga is that the better practitioners of the art train very hard and seriously in an attempt to make sure that they can really apply what they have in a self defense situation. Of course most other serious martial artists do likewise.
I find that Krav Maga is an art still in progress and that the Israeli military is still training in other forms of martial arts to try and fill the gaps in their art.
Many other arts have been around a lot longer and are much better suited to real self defense as they have been created and modified by people who have been using their arts in conflicts for centuries as opposed to decades. Of course I always use Silat as my benchmark for what constitutes a truly effective self defense art.
This review is by no means definitive and only reflects my exposure to the art at the time of this writing.