In Krav Maga, there are no hard-and-fast rules, and no distinction in training for men and women. It is not a sport, and there are no specific uniforms, attire or competitions, although some organizations recognise progress through training with rank badges and different levels. All the techniques focus on maximum efficiency in real-life conditions. Krav Maga generally assumes a no quarter situation; the attacks and defenses are intended for potentially lethal threat situations, and aim to neutralize these and escape via maximum pain or damage to opponents, as rapidly and safely as possible. Crippling attacks to vulnerable body parts, including groin and eye strikes, headbutts, and other efficient and potentially brutal attacks, improvised use of any objects available, and maximizing personal safety in a fight, are emphasized. However, it must be stressed that instructors can and do demonstrate how to moderate the techniques to fit the circumstances. While no limits are placed on techniques to be used in life-threatening situations, the legal need to inflict the appropriate minimal damage in other circumstances is recognised and stressed.
The guiding principles for those performing Krav Maga techniques are:
* Neutralize the threat
* Avoid injury
* Go from defending to attacking as quickly as possible
* Use the body's natural reflexes
* Strike at any vulnerable point
* Use any tool or object available to you
According to a description written for the self-publication media site Associated Content, the basic premises of Krav Maga are: 
* You're not going to care how much damage you're going to cause.
* Cause as much damage as possible and run.
* Do not try to prolong a fight. Do what needs to be done and escape.
Again, this must be read in the context of a life-threatening situation, either to oneself or one's immediate family, for instance. Instructors will constantly stress the need, in less extreme circumstances, to match the response to the danger or risk.
The basic idea is to deal first with the immediate threat (being choked, for example), prevent the attacker from re-attacking, and then neutralize the attacker, proceeding through all steps in a methodical manner, despite the rush of adrenaline that occurs in such an attack. The emphasis is put on taking the initiative from the attacker as soon as possible. Indeed, some circumstances may require pre-emptive action, which may or may not be violent. Options here could range from "get your retaliation in first" to situational awareness (also part of the training) that might avoid a dangerous situation developing.