This is almost an attitude more than it is a "martial art". There is technique, but not to the point where one necessarily sees a fight and says "oh, he's using Krav Maga". Wikipedia sums it up nicely (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krav_Maga
Krav Maga encourages students to avoid confrontation. If this is impossible or unsafe, it promotes finishing a fight as quickly as possible. Attacks are aimed at the most vulnerable parts of the body, and training is not limited to techniques that avoid severe injury; some even permanently injure or cause death to the opponent. Drills provide maximum safety to students by the use of protective equipment and the use of reasonable force.
Students learn to defend against all variety of attacks and are taught to counter in the quickest and most efficient way.Ideas in Krav Maga include:
- Counterattacking as soon as possible (or attacking preemptively).
Targeting attacks to the body's most vulnerable points, such as: the eyes, neck or throat, face, solar plexus, groin, ribs, knee, foot, fingers, liver, etc.
Maximum effectiveness and efficiency in order to neutralize the opponent as quickly as possible.
Simultaneous attack and defence
Maintaining awareness of surroundings while dealing with the threat in order to look for escape routes, further attackers, objects that could be used to defend or help attack, and so on.
Training can also cover the study and development of situational awareness to develop an understanding of one's surroundings, learning to understand the psychology of a street confrontation, and identifying potential threats before an attack occurs. It may also cover ways to deal with physical and verbal methods to avoid violence whenever possible.
This is the epitome of self-defense, in my mind. The key is aggression. When one uses a pistol or other firearm in self-defense, it's pretty clear that there is a strong likelihood your attacker will end up dead (his life or yours), so it's an expected
outcome. Self-defense without a weapon, where one would otherwise prefer to have a weapon of some sort, should have the same level of aggression.
Krav Maga allows the individual student to focus on the specific techniques that will work for him or her and many if not most or all of these techniques will be lethal (if executed properly they will often have a greater chance of being lethal than a round or two from a handgun, in fact). A basic understanding of human anatomy, clothing and mannerism and psychology is the starting point and a few moves and concepts can be taught very quickly. Look for local classes as well (never taken one, so I can't say, on average, whether they're good or bad) as it might be helpful to have repetition (build that muscle memory) and an instructor to help you hone the power to that throat strike or get you into that choke-hold quicker and more efficiently.