Aesthetically at first glance it looks like the practitioner is flailing and out of control, but as they break down each step in the technique it becomes an amazing piece of self defense engineeringz . The creativity displayed in their striking is attractive. One criticism of more traditional martial arts is the focus on punching to the detriment of some of the more effective strikes like the hammer fist or palm heel. Calling the system engineering isn’t too far off the mark as the system values effectiveness over looks. The Keysi Fighting Method is a synthesis and its evolution over the next ten years should cement it as worthwhile martial art with a unique perspective on personal safety.
The system was developed by the team of Justo Dieguez Serrano and Andy Norton. Justo and Andy drew from their personal street fighting experiences as a starting point and built on through researching other martial arts. The system values instinctual behavior over set techniques and routines. The logic is that in an extreme close quarters self defense situation the brain does not have the time to draw on the muscle memory of training, but instead, through the use of KFM, relies on instinctive reactive action from any position whether they are standing, kneeling or laying down.
It is easy to understand why there are some negative comments floating around the internet. The site is flashy and feels gimmicky or like a set up. Justo’s Spanish Gypsy origins sound exotic and too good to be true. The two co founders of the Keysi fighting method parted ways in 2012 and that may stunt further KFM development. However the videos I have watched on Youtube demonstrate a very impressive product. It is hard not to get excited about KFM.
KFM from my perspective does hold up well against other styles. Tae Kwon Do, for example, is a rigid traditional style and that has been a detriment to its effectiveness in real world self defense scenarios. The Tae Kwon Do artist does sometimes have a hard time with close quarter fighting preferring to keep their opponent at bay with their high kicks. I can picture a KFM practitioner easily overwhelming the kicker by staying tight with the other fighter.
Krav Maga is similar in feel to KFM, they are both newly minted systems, but Krav Maga’s effectiveness has been tested in the real world and it has been developing since its creation in the nineteen thirties. It is used by the Israeli Defense Force and it is a very aggressive style. I think, from what I’ve seen, that Krav Maga would be marginally more effective, but that is only because the Keysi Fighting Method is still evolving and has been impressive in film, but I haven’t heard or seen much about its real world interactions and outcomes.
Jiu Jitsu whether it is Japanese or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a very efficient martial art. KFM is very reactive and its movements are hard to anticipate so that might give Keysi Fighting Method a slight advantage over Jiu Jitsu. Judo is not effective alone. In my experience it does however make all the other styles better. Judo coupled with Jiu Jitsu is a natural and profoundly effective fit. Judo coupled with Krav Maga, Tae Kwon Do or Aikido are all effective combinations. Alone KFM is a complete system, whereas Judo has always seemed like an add on.
Muay Thai is a versatile and reactive system. KFM has the versatility, but it’s still a work in progress and when all is said and done experience and tradition do matter. Aikido is more functional then KFM. Aikido can be both aggressive and elegant. Aikido is all about momentum and up close and personal technique. Keysi has an improvisational quality that makes it appealing and nothing works quite like using an opponent’s strength against them.
Ultimately Keysi Fighting Method is an aggressive, reactive, functional method for defending your life.