Using different rhythms in Krav Maga can give you distinct advantages in many different situations. They can help you control the pace of a fight, create opportunities for counters and make you less predictable as a Krav Maga practitioner.
In most organisations, students will have to wait until they are at Graduate levels to learn this tactic. We disagree with this wait time, and think it is essential for a student to know at the beginning stages of their learning for the above benefits that it can provide.The following are the four main types of rhythms, with video examples where I show you what they should look like.
1. Natural Rhythm
As the name suggests, this rhythm is very natural. Anyone can use it, whether they are trained or untrained. If you're musically inclined think of it as a 'full-beat'. Say you're putting together a punching combo: You throw your jab, and then once you have fully retracted it, you throw out your cross. Once that is fully retracted you would throw out your left hook and so on.
It's a useful rhythm to use when you want to close the distance between you and your attacker. You can start with long range strikes, moving forward and ending with your close-range strikes. That being said, you can start at any point in time timeline of your attack. I.e. you can do it in just mid-range, or just close-range or a combination.
2. Broken Rhythm
This rhythm is at a one-and-a-half beat. You use it already in some defences, like 'inside defence with a one-and-a-half counter'. It can be likened to a trained fighters rhythm where they focus on capitalising after each strike they throw.
This, again is pretty self-explanitory. When using this rhythm you are committing to two or more strikes at the same time - not all of them have to land, meaning that it's a good tactic to use to get your attaker to flinch or get into a defensive position.
I've used this type of rhythm in the past. I was trying to de-escalate a situation many years ago. There was a guy in my space, and talking him down wasn't going to work. I had my hands up, and through my training I instincively connected both my fists to his chest and he went flying.
Defence wise you use simulatneous defence and counters with the '360 Outside Defence' and the "Inside Defence with a Simulatenous Counter'. There are many others, but this blog isn't about listing them.
This is a rapid-fire rhythm, think of the speed of a machine gun (or three-quarter beat). I personally love using this rhythm. It is a very effective tool to use in range, and can absolutely overwhelm your opponent. You can't necessarily get a lot of power into each strike, but you will definently put your attacker on the back foot. As you need to be in closer-range to do this, the most effective strikes would be hammer strikes and palm strikes, as they are easy to do at a fast pace.
Bonus Rhythm: Unconnected.
The unconnected rhythm is the ability to change your rhythms and deliberately switch between them. You can put any of the above rhythms into a combination, and use them tactially when you recognise the opportunities to use them. This could be when you are in the right range, or want to get your opponent on the defensive, or overwhelm your attacker.
Have a go of these the next time you train, or even on your own while you are shadowing striking. Practice them on a kciksheild, boxing pag, focus mitts etc. Try to make your practice as dynamic as possible, and work on a few combination in each rhythm that work well for you.
Let me know how you go.
Written by: Kurt Colpan - Krav Maga Systems Senior Instructor