What is Krav Maga?

What is Krav Maga?

Krav Maga is a practical and tactical system which teaches how to prevent, deal and overcome all kinds of violence and attacks. Krav Maga prepares the trainees in the subjects of self-defence, self-protection, fighting and combat skills. As well as skills to defend others. This done in a unique and comprehensive teaching style. Krav Maga was developed in Israel, under realistic demands and conditions. The system was founded and formed by Imi Lichtenfeld and continues to advance and be modified by Eyal Yanilov, assisted by the top instructors.
KMG was set up in 2010 by Eyal Yanilov as a natural progression. In response to the ever growing interest in Krav Maga by countries all over the world. To meet the expectations of the world wide organization and to operate professionally as truly global organisation Krav Maga Global was created. The aim of Krav Maga Global is to provide continuous education of new instructors, government agencies, and special operation teams all over the world.

Krav Maga is a lateral system with a unique and logical approach. It is easy to learn and retain, performed naturally and intuitively and can be used practically under stressful conditions. An essential part of Krav Maga is its teaching process, methodology and style of training.

Krav Maga subjects include:

  • Prevention, avoidance, escape and evasion.
  • Dealing with throws and falls to all directions and angles.
  • Attacks and counterattacks, performed to all targets, distances, ranges, heights, angles, directions and in all rhythms. Executed from all positions and postures. Use of all sorts of common objects for defensive purposes.
  • Defending all unarmed attacks: punches, strikes and kicks. Releases from all sorts of grabs and holds. Defending all armed attacks and threats of knife and sharp objects, of sticks bars and other blunt objects. Of all kind of firearms.
  • Dealing with the above attacks when sent from all possible directions and places. When are performed by a single or multiple attackers. When occur in all possible places, positions and postures. Including in confined or open areas. In an ally, staircase, car. On all types of grounds, in water. When free or in limited space of movement. While standing, on the move, sitting down, laying down on the back, side or facing down.
  • Physical and mental control and disarm.

Krav Maga prepares the trainees to function in all circumstances and scenarios, in all combat and fighting environments. According to their needs, risks they are facing and job descriptions. Krav Maga enables and brings technical, tactical, physical and mental growth and improvements.

The history of Krav Maga.

The history of Krav Maga is as exciting as the system it self. The founder of Krav Maga was Imi Sde-Or. The history is closely linked to the development of the state of Israel and the need for the Israeli military to protect its country in one of the worlds most hostile areas.

Given Imi`s extensive self defense skills, Imi was recruited by Isaac Sadeh, the commanding officer of the Haganah in 1942. Two years later he began to teach Kapap (hand to hand combat) and physical exercise to the most elite special forces units of the Haganah, Palmach, and Palyam. During this period, firearms were outlawed and in very scarce supply. They were hidden away from the British and only used for special missions. The fact that firearms could not be used had a great influence on the development of the style. Unarmed combat was absolutely essential for the success of the military.

In 1948, when the State of Israel was founded and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was formed, Imi became Chief Instructor for Physical Fitness and Krav Maga at the IDF School of Combat Fitness. He served in the IDF for about 20 years, during which time he developed and refined his unique method for self-defense and hand-to-hand combat. It was his job to see to it that the troops of the IDF including the special forces units were expertly skilled in hand to hand combat. During this time, Imi further refined his face to face fighting techniques (now referred to as Krav Maga).

Upon retiring from the IDF in the early 60`s, Imi began adapting the style for civilian use. He established two schools, one in Netanya and one in Tel Aviv.

The work in the following years and up to today, was to design the system to confront every day attacks and street confrontation problems. Imi and his senior students set about designing Krav Maga as a complete system, and Imi`s close assistant from the 80`and until his death, Eyal Yanilov, was put in charge of tying the loose ends together and making Krav Maga into a respected martial art system.

New problems were discovered and Imi set about finding a solution to them, with the help of his senior instructors. The core of the system has always been simplicity and effectiveness, and Imi was always looking for the easy solution to most problems.

The history of Krav Maga. Imi LichtenfeldMany changes were made to the system both technically and visual, but in all the work that was done Imi never forgot the base of the system, simplicity, effectiveness and realism. One interesting result of this was Krav Maga`s use of belts. In the early system Imi did not use belts in training, because it was a military system. But seeking recognition from his fellow martial artists he designed a belt system based on the Judo system of white-yellow-orange-green-blue-brown-black. The system was divided into grades making it easier to organize. He also started training in gi`s (white judo training suits). In the 90`s however Imi decided that belts no longer should be a part of the system as it originally did not have a place there and that the use of belts did not have any realistic or practical meaning in the system. The system of grades was kept, but the belts were taken out and replaced with a system of Practitioner / Graduate / Expert levels. The training suits today also consist of black pants and white t-shirts. Some countries still uses the belts in the curriculum, but not in training.

Imi and his senior instructors formed the first Krav Maga Association in 1978, and in 1992 Imi expressed a desire to make an international federation to help spread his system to the world. In 1995 his dream came true and the International Krav Maga Federation was formed in Netanya, Imi’s home-place.

To the present day the style has grown greatly. The Krav Maga Global currently has local associations and affiliations in Israel, the United States, France, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Great Britain, Brazil, Thailand and throughout the world. It is used on a day to day basis by the IDF including the special forces units and the Israeli police and security branches, and by many other elite units in North America, South America, Europe, and around the world. The style has also become, as Imi sought to make it, a major source of civilian self defense instruction.