Krav Maga Technique – Are UFC Fouls Actually Good Technique? - Self-Defense Global

Krav Maga Technique – Are UFC Fouls Actually Good Technique?

Krav Maga Technique and MMA fouls

Sometimes fouling is your best course of action!

Poor sportsmanship in MMA is good Krav Maga technique. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has emerged as the leading name in professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). 


They have the best fighters, most attended events, and highest viewership in the industry. Did you also know that they have a long list of fouls?...31 to be exact! Fouls that could get a fighter immediately thrown out and disqualified. 

Fouls Cause Injury - Like Effective Krav Maga Technique

The fouls are SERIOUS, because they are DANGEROUS. You might be thinking, "Dangerous!? I thought these were 'no-holds-barred' fighting experts! Everything goes!" For those of you that are fans of UFC and MMA, you know that statement simply isn't true. These are professional SPORT fighters, who want a lucrative and successful career. They are not crazy lunatics, interested in getting maimed, mauled, or otherwise permanently injured. That's why there are rules, regulations, and yes...fouls.

Fouls are DANGEROUS. They can give the user an unfair and unsportsmanlike advantage, and can result in permanent damage. That's why we at Self Defense Global, LIKE these fouls! Remember, we aren't training to fight for a prize or to build a successful MMA career. We are training for the potential fight to stay alive and/or protect our loved ones. That means, ANY unfair or unsportsmanlike advantage is still an advantage...and something we should pay special attention to!

Fouls in Action - Bad Sportsmanship, Good Krav Maga

Before we jump into a deeper discussion of the usefulness of certain UFC Fouls, check out this video compilation of fouls in action.  Pay special attention to how destructive these fouls are. They are total "game changers". A fight can be headed down one direction, favoring one opponent entirely...and BAM, a foul, and everything changes. Groin shots, these fighters are wearing full on protective doesn't matter. Eye pokes, the entire fighter just stops in his eye poke is all consuming. Sucker punch, these guys are trained to take a shot...but it's different when you aren't expecting it.

The List of 31 UFC Fouls​

If you are interested in the whole list of fouls, you can find them here: ( It's a fun read!...some are slightly humorous, no spitting, no harsh language, no grabbing of shorts! Not all the fouls are relevant to us from a self defense perspective...but there are a handful that are very important and worth highlighting. For the scope of this blog post, we are going to briefly focus on these 5:

UFC Foul #1.) Butting With the Head

Krav Maga Technique - Headbutt

  • The top of your forehead (right at your hairline) into your opponent's face, below the eyebrows.

  • Keep your neck stiff, drive in with your legs, core, and upper body.

  • The strike is quick and direct, not the massive swinging load-ups we see in action movies.

  • It's nice to have your hands on your opponent's head to control and guide the strike in, but that is not always necessary.

Your head is the strongest part of your body, designed to encase and protect your brain, the most important part of your body. And though the motion is quick and direct, the power you can generate from your legs, core, and upper body is considerable. Keep in mind, this is the one strike where you can potentially hurt or knock yourself out!...just be careful to make contact with the top of your forehead, and not your face.

UFC Foul #2.) Eye Gouging Of Any Kind

Krav Maga Technique - Eye Gouge

  • Palm and fingers are outstretched like you are extending a handshake.

  • Palm and fingers are used to grasp opponent's head and face, to line up your thumb to the eye.

  • Thumb is thrust inward, between the bridge of the nose and the eyeball. Drive your thumb in as far as possible and then work your thumb away from nose while pulling out and away.

  • Your goal should be to "pop" the eye out of the socket. If that is too much for you to stomach, you can use your thumbnail to simply "wipe" the eyeball, from one side to the other.

I like to think of the Eye Gouge as the "Great Equalizer". Your attacker might outweigh you by 100 lbs. Your attacker might be faster, stronger, better trained than you. Maybe your attacker is an expert grappler or an accomplished kickboxer. Maybe your attacker has an extremely high threshold for pain and is tough and determined to hurt you. If you get your thumb in your attacker's eye...none of that matters, the attack WILL STOP. All things become equal when you get your thumb in the attacker's eye. It doesn't matter who you are and what you are capable of...EVERYONE reacts to a thumb in their eye.

UFC Foul #3.) Biting

Krav Maga Technique - Biting

  • Use your teeth to bite down on any part of opponent's body.

  • Bite down and then use neck muscles to tear to the side and away.

Let's face it, getting unnerving. The best way to get a feel for just how sinister this particular technique is to try to imagine getting bitten. Your in a scuffle, there's pushing, pulling, some hits, now you are on the ground, more pushing and pulling, suddenly you feel your opponent biting down on your cheek!...or your forearm, or even a finger! It's UNNERVING...and no doubt, painful! Your chomping muscles are very well developed! Sometimes you just need to remember to use them.

UFC Foul #7.) Groin Attacks Of Any Kind

Krav Maga Technique - Groin Attacks

  • Krav Maga enthusiasts often joke: The Krav Maga a swift kick to the groin. It's THAT common.

  • But we'd never want to limit the attacks to just a kick. We are also talking knees, punches, hammerfists, ridge hands...striking as well as grabbing, pulling, and twisting.

Again, unlike today's action movies, the groin strike is not this massive overpowering strike that begins and ends the fight. It can be! But we use it to initiate something, either to close distance, make distance, or to hit the 'pause' button to assess and decide what to do next. Keep in mind, not everyone reacts to a groin strike the same way!

UFC Foul #23.) Attacking the Opponent On Or During the Break

Krav Maga Technique - Use Your Words

  • Words, especially answers to questions, require us to use our brains. When we stop to access information, there is a pause...our goal, is to exploit this pause.

  • "Wait, I know you! Did you go to Grandview South High, class of '98?"

  • "Are you sure this is covered under your insurance plan?"

  • "I'm sorry, can you say that again?"

  • Look over their shoulder, "Hi, everything is fine, we're just talking."

  • That MOMENT that your opponent takes to acknowledge the question, and begin to access brain power to formulate an answer, is the moment you strike with a kick to the groin, a headbutt, or an eye flick/gouge. there is no real "break" time or timeout. But the idea of using a question or statement to occupy your opponents brain, creates a "break". There is a pause. Whereas everything up to this point might have been dialog, escalation, and reaction...this cleverly posed and timed question creates a small window of pre-emption.

​The Bottom Line

UFC and other professional fighting are extremely fun to watch, but we can never forget, it's a sport. If/When you find yourself in a self-defense situation, where you have to protect yourself or a loved one, you can never forgot, it's NOT a sport! No referee is going to come in and make sure the fight is fair, or that the fight should end. It's just you and your opponent. UFC Fouls themselves cannot replace good fighting basics, but they should definitely be considered and added to your available self-defense toolkit.

And remember, as illustrated in the Simpsons, "No groin, no Krav Maga!"

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I'm Jonathan Lee. I've been a Self Defense Global and Krav Maga student of Eric for more than 3 years. I'm an avid fan of keeping myself, my family, and my friends SAFE!

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