Goju-ryu Karate versus Krav Maga

I teach both. I love both. I am passionate about both. I believe with proper commitment both lead to self improvement. I believe both give a person a stronger body, mind, and spirit. I believe a stronger person is harder to kill and is generally more useful in life. I have fourteen years experience in Goju-ryu. I have five years experience in Krav Maga. Thankfully, I am still scratching the surface at what these two arts have to offer. I have learned so much, yet have so much to learn. The more I teach, train, and contemplate Goju-ryu and Krav Maga, the more I appreciate just how similar they are. It’s not the differences that grab my attention. It’s their commonalities. Both, are a martial arts born and bred out of war and oppression. Both, are ultimately teaching one to become a ruthless fighter, should one need to engage in physical combat. Both, seek to bring out the very best in the individual. At the core of both arts, lies the idea of a peaceful warrior, whom only battles, when said warrior is not given a choice. Neither Krav Maga nor Goju-ryu are particularly flashy. Both styles utilize powerful strikes engineered from gross motor skills. Both styles, utilize softer fine motor skill techniques aimed at vulnerable areas. The Krav Maga self defense system is the most comprehensive and logical self defense system I’ve encountered. I love it. There is no equal. In Goju-ryu we practice kata. It’s amazing to me how similar some of the movements in the kata are to the self defense system in Krav Maga. For me, these two arts are the ultimate pairing. Both arts would rather keep the fight on the feet. However, both arts address being taken down to the ground. Not enough to beat Jui-jitsu student. But, enough ground work to defeat the average street thug/predator. Both styles, due require dedicated training and participation to improve and master. Neither style will offer a true master, as growth and perfection are ongoing. Both styles encourage the concept that you will never attain perfection or be invincible, only that you constantly strive to be both.

The significant differences in DNA between these two systems are the way the programs are conducted, the culture of the classroom, and how one gets from point A to point B. So, to the average person both styles will look vastly different. To the trained eye it is the similarities that are breathtaking. Krav Maga lacks the ritual and formality of Goju-ryu. However, in today’s world it is important that one trains. So, if an individual wants to train in a less formal art but with a wealth of martial art, then Krav Maga is the answer.

The most important difference in Krav Maga and Goju-ryu is that Krav Maga is centralized. So, there are three or four Official Krav Maga Affiliation Corporations that an Official Krav Maga School must belong to, train with, and certify through. The brilliance is that this system offers uniformity amongst the schools and the organizations. So, in laymen’s terms, if one were to train in a Worldwide Krav Maga Affiliate in Philadelphia, then he should feel right at home if comes and trains with us in Austin. Goju-ryu and most traditional martial arts lack this true centralized organization that controls curriculum, instructor certification, and system enhancement. So, a Goju-ryu school in Austin may look and feel very different than a Goju-ryu school in Philadelphia.

In the endgame I love them both. I believe my participation in both make me better at both. I don’t think I could pick one if I had too. Both arts inform me. Both arts challenge me. Both arts excite me. Both arts make me a better student and a better instructor.