Urban Krav Maga

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Urban Krav Maga
Urban Krav Maga logo.jpeg
Date founded2008
FounderStewart McGill
Leo Negao
Current headStewart McGill and Leo Negao
Ancestor artsKrav Maga, Karate, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Western Boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling
Official websiteUrban Krav MagaTeam Leo Negao

Urban Krav Maga is a self-defence system which has its roots in Israeli Krav Maga as its name suggests. It additionally draws on a variety of other fighting systems such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), boxing, Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) among others .[1][2]

The main focus of Urban Krav Maga is on defending the most common street attacks, pre-emptive moves to end a confrontation before it begins and a range of stand-up and ground fighting techniques. As well as hand-to-hand fighting, techniques cover defences against weaponry (chokes,[3] pushes, broken bottle or knife attacks,[4] etc.).[1][2][5][6]

Contrary to many other fighting systems and martial arts, the focus is on techniques that can be implemented regardless of strength or size based on leverage and the "surprise effect".[1][7] As a result, Urban Krav Maga's suitability for women and is considered to be higher than that of other self-defence systems; the senior instructors have actually made a whole DVD dedicated to female self defence and fighting larger, more powerful attackers.[8][9][10][11]

Basic principles[edit]

Ultimately aiming to maintain safety under all circumstances, Urban Krav Maga is based on:[3][5][6][8]

  • Avoiding confrontation first and foremost by talking to attacker / defusing situation in the simplest way possible
  • If it is clear that the situation escalates, executing a pre-emptive attack
  • Assuming the majority of street fights last a minute or less
  • Attacks need therefore be short and intense, making use of pressure points like eyes, groin, throat, fingers etc.
  • Getting out of the situation as soon as the threat is neutralised - students are taught to be aware of their surroundings and likeliest exits

The discipline has a grading system though the focus on such tends to be less than other system; on the most basic level, students will learn to defend themselves from the 10 most common street attacks (as registered by law enforcement statistics[12]), how to get up quickly if taken to the ground and pre-emptive moves and strikes.[13]


Urban Krav Maga was originally developed in 2008 by Stewart McGill, a 3rd Dan in Goju Ryu karate, Senior Instructor with the British Combat Association and Civilian/Law Enforcement Instructor with the International Krav Maga Federation (IKMF) under Eyal Yanilov.[1][14][15] He has also trained with the Israel Krav Maga Association in Israel.

Since then, McGill has been joined as Chief Instructor by Leo Negao, an experienced Vale Tudo and MMA fighter, and a BJJ black belt under Master Fábio Gurgel.

Negao started BJJ at Carlson Gracie’s academy under Carlson himself and trained with Murilo Bustamante, Amaury Bitetti, Mário Sperry, Vitor Belfort and others. He later moved to Sao Paulo to train at the Alliance Jiu Jitsu together with Fábio Gurgel, and Romero “Jacaré” Cavalcanti. Negao is a 4-time BJJ world champion and has been MMA training partner to UFC champions Antoñio ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira and Vitor Belfort.[14][16][17]

UK and global reach[edit]

The organisation has 50 active Urban Krav Maga instructors operating across the UK and international branches in:
United States;
Greece and
Branches will soon be starting up in Russia and Germany.[18]


In 2008, McGill was asked to produce a DVD boxset by the UK producer NAP. The 6-set covers:

defending the 10 most common attacks, knife threats and attacks, ground fighting, gun threats and third party protection. [19]

Other DVDs include:

  • a 5-set covering stand up and fighting techniques, their roots in various systems and their applicability to Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).[20]
  • a single DVD covering female self defence and fighting a bigger attacker [21]
  • a single DVD covering defending yourself on the floor and against knife attacks/threats [22]
  • a single DVD covering Close Protection (body guarding) principles [23]

Urban Krav Maga and MMA[edit]

Urban Krav Maga has been criticised for being too much like MMA, partly because of the prominent Vale Tudo, Jiu Jitsu and MMA background of Joint Chief Instructor, Negao. In this respect, the reason why Urban Krav Maga draws from these techniques is so as to be able to counter attacks on the ground from those trained in said martial arts; given a large percentage[24] of fights end up on the ground, focus is placed on getting up quickly and safely.

Because of the move away from "pure" Krav Maga principles - such as the introduction of pre-emptive moves and striking with the heel of the hand to protect the knuckles rather than punching - the Urban Krav Maga organisation has alienated some in the wider Krav Maga community so such controversies will continue.


  1. ^ a b c d Chris Saunders (01/10/2014), "Going at Full Throttle", Forevever Sports (October 2014, pp: 96-98)
  2. ^ a b Laura Burgoine (18/10/2013),"Fighting Fit in Peckham", Weekender Life
  3. ^ a b Jordan Waller (12/08/2014), "How to get out of a choke hold like a highly trained assassin", FHM
  4. ^ Nick Pope (19/08/2014), "How to disarm a knife-wielding maniac like you're Jason Bourne", FHM
  5. ^ a b Ben Ince (18/11/2013),"Urban Krav Maga", Men's Fitness
  6. ^ a b Ben Ince (29/04/2013),"MF tries Urban Krav Maga", Men's Fitness
  7. ^ Alexi Duggins (05/10/2013), "Going full throttle: Alexi braves a Krav Maga self-defence class", Time Out
  8. ^ a b Dina Rickman (06/06/2014), "How women can floor a male attacker within minutes", The Telegraph
  9. ^ Dr. Gina Z. Koutsopoulou (01.09.2014), "Self-protection courses for females", Martial Arts Illustrated (27(4), 66-69)
  10. ^ Muireann Carey-Campbell (30/05/2013), "Review: Urban Krav Maga", Spikes & Heels
  11. ^ DKW - A Different Kind Of Women (06.11.2014), "Space Invaders", My Channel – Sky 203
  12. ^ Jeff Nash,"Habitual Acts of Violence"
  13. ^ "Level 1 Syllabus", Urbankravmaga.org
  14. ^ a b "Founders Biographies", Urbankravmaga.org
  15. ^ Oliver Bennett (29/01/2005), "Feeling a bit defensive . . .", The Times
  16. ^ Henry Croft (12/03/2014), "Interview With Leo Negao Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Champion", GymTalk
  17. ^ "History of Urban Krav Maga", Urbanfitandfearless.com. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  18. ^ "Self Defence Classes", UrbanKravMaga.org (Wayback Machine copy)
  19. ^ DVD, "Urban Krav Maga 6-DVD Box Set", New Approach Publishing (ASIN: B001MU45VC)
  20. ^ DVD, "Urban Krav Maga: The Fighting System", New Approach Publishing (ASIN: B008J2I2LA)
  21. ^ DVD, "Urban Krav Maga: Fighting a Bigger Guy and Female Self Defence", New Approach Publishing (ASIN: B00872GEP8)
  22. ^ DVD, "Urban Krav Maga and MMA: Ground and Knife", New Approach Publishing (ASIN: B002QRJQMI)
  23. ^ DVD, "Urban Krav Maga and MMA: Close Protection", New Approach Publishing (ASIN: B002ZN2P9Y)
  24. ^ Leblanc, Chris (January 2007). "Going to the Ground: Lessons from Law Enforcement". ejmas.com. Retrieved 2019-08-10.

External links[edit]

(Wayback Machine copy)