What is Krav Maga?


Krav Maga is a self defence system designed to be practical and effective for real life situations. Originating in Israel in the 1940s, Krav Maga was initially developed for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli security forces (also known as Shin Bet and Mossad); and has later been adapted for civilian use. Krav Maga is a combination of techniques used in AikidoJudoKarateBoxing, and Wrestling, along with skills for disarming attackers and dealing with multiple attackers.

History of Krav Maga

Hungarian-born Israeli Martial Artist Imi Lichtenfeld, who made use of his training as a boxer and wrestler to defend Jews in Bratislava against fascist groups in the mid-to-late 1930s, developed Krav Maga through his experiences in street fighting. After his immigration to Mandatory Palestine in the late 1940s, he began to provide lessons on combat training to Jewish paramilitary groups that would later form the IDF during the Israeli War of Independence.

Krav Maga Basic Principles

Like most Martial Arts, Krav Maga encourages students to avoid physical confrontation. If this is impossible or unsafe, it promotes finishing a fight as quickly and aggressively as possible. Attacks are aimed at the most vulnerable parts of the body, and training is not limited to techniques that avoid severe injury; some even permanently injure or cause death to the opponent.

Ideas in Krav Maga include:

  • Simultaneous defence and attack.
  • Developing physical aggression (not to be confused with emotional aggression or anger), with the view that it’s the most important component in a fight.
  • Continuing to strike the opponent until they are completely incapacitated.
  • Attacking pre-emptively or counter-attacking as soon as possible.
  • Using any objects at hand that could be used to hit an opponent.
  • Targeting attacks to the body’s most vulnerable points, such as the eyes, neck, throat, face, solar plexus, groin, ribs, knee, etc.
  • Using simple and easily repeatable strikes.
  • Maintaining awareness of surroundings while dealing with the threat in order to look for escape routes, further attackers, or objects that could be used to strike an opponent.
  • Developing muscle memory for quick reaction in fight.
  • Recognising the importance of and expanding on instinctive response under stress.

Krav Maga Techniques

Krav Maga techniques primarily involve neutralising an attacker as quickly and efficiently as possible, using a combination of strikes, kicks, throws, and ground grappling. Some of the most common Krav Maga techniques include:

Punches and strikes: These are essential techniques for any self-defence Martial Art. Krav Maga emphasises using rapid, aggressive strikes to target key areas of the body like the nose, eyes, and throat.

Kicks and knee strikes: Krav Maga techniques include front kicks, side kicks, and knee strikes to quickly incapacitate an attacker.

Defences against grabs and chokes: Krav Maga techniques teach how to break free from a variety of grabs and chokes, including wrist grabs, shirt grabs, and rear chokes.

Ground fighting: Krav Maga also incorporates ground-fighting techniques that enable practitioners to defend themselves if taken to the ground, including strikes, chokes, and joint locks.

Weapons defence: In addition to unarmed techniques, Krav Maga also includes defences against various weapons, including knives, guns, and sticks.

Overall, Krav Maga techniques are focused on ending a confrontation as efficiently as possible, while minimising the risk of injury to oneself. By mastering these techniques, practitioners can increase their confidence and ability to protect themselves in any situation.

Why should I train in Krav Maga?

Krav Maga is a pure self defence and striking system. There are no competitions or showcases for self defence scenarios. Krav Maga training is to help avoid and survive the worst case scenarios. If someone is threatening your life, you can be trained on how to avoid that scenario to begin with, and if it is already beyond the point of no return, training uses the most effective strikes and techniques to prevail, while under extreme stress. There are no elaborate choreographies nor absolutes. There are no uniforms and no traditions. Krav Maga is not used to start fights or show off. Krav Maga is used to save our own lives and the lives of our loved ones. As quoted by the founder Imi Litchenfeld, we train in Krav Maga ‘so that one may walk in peace’.

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