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Krav Maga

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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 art.

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 enforcement alike.

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.


Imi Lichtenfeld, the founder of Krav MagaKrav 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 the world.
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 expertise.


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