COBRA was created in 2002 by Chris Sutton and developed from real life law enforcement training and field experience. Chris literally created the system in his squad car between calls, while simultaneously working as a full time law enforcement officer and martial arts school owner.
COBRA Self Defense and Krav Maga are viewed by many as the top of the list, which is why this question comes up so often.
Either one can serve you well, provided the instructors are highly trained and qualified, but there are some differences.
“Krav maga” translates to “contact combat” in Hebrew. So, any contact combat system can be described as Krav Maga. Generally speaking, Krav Maga evolved from the 1950s as a system developed for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). There are distinctions between COBRA and Krav but for the average person, these are the most notable:
Police officers physically engage criminals on a daily basis. This means what works and what doesn’t work gets filtered through in real time. Law enforcement agencies continually enhance their skills and training, based on what is most effective in real world situations against criminals of all types.
COBRA Self-Defense continually upgrades and enhances its curriculum by attending and participating in law enforcement field training events and on-duty patrol activities. In contrast, a military soldier may never have a physical engagement, so the majority of what is learned is in the classroom, not the field of battle or the streets.
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