07 March 2011

Krav Maga

Due to Israel's constant state of conflict, Krav Maga has continually been tested and refined over the years through actual combat situations. In Krav Maga training, the same lethal techniques developed on the battlefields of the Middle East are adapted for ordinary people who might face an attack or other aggressive encounter and need to defend themselves. Unlike many other martial arts, Krav Maga lacks a strict system of rules—a fighter is trained to use his or her fists, elbows, or shins in any way he can to inflict enough pain to break free from an opponent and, if necessary, disarm him. Blows are aimed at the opponents vulnerable areas, including his eyes, stomach, throat, and groin, in order to make the most impact. A crucial defensive technique of Krav Maga is to keep the body constantly moving, using the arms to deflect blows from all angles. The object is to be able to face multiple opponents from all sides, wielding multiple weapons, including knives, pistols, and even assault rifles.

Despite this no-holds-barred approach to self-defense, Krav Maga training centers endorse a system of values including personal integrity, non-violence, good citizenship, and humility. Its reputation as an excellent cardiovascular exercise has secured Krav Magas small but growing cult status, and it is now studied by some 10,000 people around the world.

Krav Mag, literally translated as close combat or contact combat, is one of the most lethally effective hand-to-hand combat techniques in the world. It was developed by Imi Lichtenfeld, a Czech-born former heavyweight boxing champion trained in self-defense tactics by his father, a police officer. In 1940, facing Nazi persecution, Lichtenfeld was forced to emigrate to Palestine the Jewish Homeland (now Israel). After the formation of the state Israel in 1948 he was asked to develop self-defense and hand-to-hand combat techniques for the elite units of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Over the next two decades, Lichtenfeld trained IDF fighters in what would become the Krav Maga system, a combat style featuring elements of boxing, judo, and jujitsu as well as stick- and knife-fighting techniques. After leaving the army, Lichtenfeld began teaching the system to civilians, and in 1978 he and some of his students founded the International Krav Maga Federation, a nonprofit organization aimed at promoting teaching of the fighting system in Israel and around the world. By the time Lichtenfeld died in 1998, Krav Magas popularity had spread among law enforcement and security officers, as well as civilians of all ages, both male and female, across Europe and the United States.

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