What’s the first rule of Krav Maga? Well, it turns out there are no rules in Krav Maga. Or belts. Or boxing rings. This gritty self-defense system employs a mix of martial arts techniques, with an emphasis on instinctive movements and realistic training scenarios. Think Street Fighter — minus the joystick. But of course, in real life the stakes are much higher. So this week, the Greatist team headed to the Krav Maga Academy to learn the moves to keep us safe on the streets of NYC. After a quick warm-up including sparring, explosive jump sequences, and push-ups, instructor Ayal Levin broke down the basics of Krav Maga, starting with the 9 soft points. The most vulnerable areas to attack, these targets include the eyes, ears, throat, and (insert cringe here) groin. Through dynamic demos and a whole lot of hands-on practice, we learned to think in terms of “damage,” not pain. After all, a broken rib may not stop an attacker, but a swift knee to the family jewels might just buy a few precious minutes to escape or deliver another blow. Nope, we didn’t think we had it in us either. But mastering Krav Maga doesn’t require brute strength. And learning the jabs, elbows, and choke holds makes for a workout as high-octane as any. Try a class at the Krav Maga Academy or another organization with trainers certified by Krav Maga Worldwide, Krav Maga Federation or Krav Maga Global. The biggest pay-off: being prepared for anything. For more on the Krav Maga Academy, check them out on Facebook and Twitter. Have you tried Krav Maga or any other forms of self-defense. Tell us what you think in the comments below, or tweet the author at @jshakeshaft. Photo by Jordan Shakeshaft