WHAT IS KRAV MAGA?
Krav Maga (pronounced
"Krahv Magah") Hebrew for “contact combat”,
is the official self-defence and hand-to-hand combat
system of Israel. Krav Maga is a modern and practical
style of self-defence that is the only style worldwide
known as an art of self-defence and not as a martial
The objective of Krav Maga training is to teach individuals
how to instantly change from a passive state of awareness
to the highly alerted and aggressive one, and how to
be able to act under stress. The system, being a hybrid
of self-defence styles, integrates different instinct-based
self-defence tactics with a strong curriculum that trains
just this situational awareness, fighting spirit, as
well as verbal de-escalation of conflict.
Its anti-terrorist roots make it aggressive by design,
with only one objective, to eliminate the threat in
the fastest way possible. It is considered a highly
refined, street fighting system, designed to be utilized
against street attacks, muggings, and sexual assaults.
Krav Maga was developed for use in the street. When
an individual is attacked in the street, there is no
way to know how many opponents or weapons you might
encounter, therefore Krav Maga training is based on
a system without rules.
This Israeli system emerged in an environment where
extreme violence was common, it has been continually
refined and developed in light of actual modern combat
and self-defence experiences. Krav Maga has received
international recognition for its unique approach in
bringing self-defence to civilian, military, and law
The Krav Maga symbol consists of the Hebrew letters
K and M surrounded by an open circle because the system
is open to improvement by adding techniques, exercises,
and training methods.
Maga´s beginnings are to be traced to Palestine
of 1940s. Krav Magas’s founder, Imi Lichtenfeld
joined the paramilitary organisation Haganah that protected
Jewish settlements there and fought for independent
Jewish state. After the establishment of Israel in 1948,
he became the Chief Instructor of self-defence and close
contact combat for the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).
The training became known as KAPA, which is the acronym
for Krav Panim l’Panim (face-to-face combat).
Generally it was a mix of Western-style boxing, Greco-Roman
wrestling and military knife and baton training.
During years, teaching to instructors and soldiers of
the Israel defence force’s elites, Lichtenfeld
refined his system. Upon retiring in 1964 from the IDF,
he adapted the Krav Maga style for civilian use. In
1975, together with some his most devoted students,
he created the Association for Krav Maga and Self-Defence.
The system spread quickly to USA, where already in the
1980s was taught to the law enforcement.
Who Uses Krav Maga Today
This style is currently used on a day to day basis
by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) including their
Special Forces Units, Israeli Police and Internal Security
Branches. In the United States it's used by members
of the NYPD, members of the FBI, and members of the
US Armed Forces, as well as many other elite units around
Currently, Krav Maga is taught to men, women and children
(of all ages and abilities) at community centres, schools,
and clubs throughout the world. In Israel the style
has become an important part of the educational system
and is taught to elementary and high school students
along with being taught at one of the world's leading
physical fitness centres, the Wingate Institute.
The Krav Maga training begins with
some basic self-defence, stance, straight punches movement,
outisde 360 degree blocks, round kick, front kick etc.
Later, bobing, slipping, counters etc are added. Since
the system was developed for the military, as the training
advances, in the much higher levels, practitioners learn
how to defence against knife, gun, stick, axe, assault
rifle, and hand grenades.
T here are no competitions or tournaments in Krav Maga,
due to its combat-orientation. However, like in other
arts, colored belts are issued to mark the level of