What is Krav Maga?
In developing the self-defense system, survival in any situation was foremost in Imi’s mind. Accordingly, krav maga relies on a person’s natural instincts and reflexes for self-defense. Awareness and mental conditioning are integral to krav maga training. Krav maga’s philosophy is never to do more than necessary, but to react with speed, economy of motion, and the appropriate measure of force. Speed is paramount and one is taught to strike instinctively at the human body’s vulnerable parts. Krav maga is dynamic and constantly evolves as situations require. The system is battle-tested and street-proven.
Most important, krav maga emphasizes that there are no rules on the street. If a situation is dire, the defender must do whatever is necessary to overcome the threat. This may include multiple strikes to the groin, throat, and kidneys, a finger planted into an eye, shouting into an attacker’s ear, or a head butt or a bite to the neck. Because of this philosophy, krav maga is not suited for tournaments and must be practiced under controlled conditions. A student appreciates the simplicity and universal application of krav maga immediately. Krav maga uses the concept of retzef, Hebrew for “continuous motion” to complete a defense.
Krav maga uses the same building blocks from the simplest defenses to the most advanced techniques including empty-handed defenses and disarms against bladed weapons, firearms, hand grenades, and even rocks. Krav maga is world-renowned for its disarming techniques against assailants posing a threat with handguns, rifles, knives and edged weapons, sticks and even rocks. The system also incorporates subduing techniques that can de-escalate or escalate a situation quickly such as the proper way to grab, and – if necessary – break an attacker’s finger to gain control.
Imi designed krav maga for people of all shapes, sizes, and physical abilities regardless of age. While krav maga was designed to teach soldiers to become proficient in hand-to-hand combat tactics in a short time, the same is true of krav maga’s civilian adaptation. Krav maga is well received within law enforcement and military circles. Numerous law enforcement agencies and military branches all over the world train their men and women in krav maga.
What is the Israeli Krav Maga Association (Gidon System)?
Who uses krav maga?
Does krav maga distinguish between training men and women?
Is it appropriate for children to learn krav maga?
How does krav maga differ from other martial arts or fighting styles?
Does one require previous self-defense training?
Do classes incorporate full contact fighting?
Krav maga instructors emphasize two paradoxical training rules:
- There are no rules in a fight and
- One must not injure oneself or one’s partner when training
Does the IKMA curriculum incorporate groundwork?
Does krav maga incorporate weapons defenses?
How are krav maga classes run?
Does krav maga require uniforms or specific attire?
Does krav maga adhere to a belt or ranking system?
- Yellow belt
- Orange Belt
- Green belt
- Blue belt
- Brown belt
- Black belt dans 1-10
The IKMA charter has a clause about granting grades:
- A certified instructor – (in Israel the Sport law defines a certified instructor as one who passed a course for instructors supervised by a certified KM coach and organized according a set of requirements) – is entitled to examine and grant grades up to and including blue belt provided the instructor is at least two grades higher. So a D1 black belt certified instructor can grant up to and including a blue belt. A holder of a grade, whatever his degree, cannot test or grant grades including brown belt and higher.
- A committee for grades will test for grades from brown and up. At least 3 examiners will attend each test.
- The professional committee is competent to nominate a single examiner to perform examinations abroad for high grades.
Who was Imi (Emerich) Lichtenfeld?
In 1935 Imi visited Palestine with a team of Jewish wrestlers to participate in the Maccabi games but could not participate because of a broken rib that resulted from his training while on route. This led the fundamental krav maga precept, “do not get hurt” while training. Imi returned toCzechoslovakia to face increasing anti-Semitic violence. Imi organized a group of young Jews to protect his community. On the streets, Imi acquired hard won experience and the crucial understanding of the differences between sport fighting and street fighting. He developed his fundamental self-defense principle: “Use natural movements and reactions” for a defense combined with an immediate and decisive counterattack. From this evolved the refined theory of “simultaneous defense and attack” while “never occupying two hands in the same defensive movement.”
Imi arrived in Israel after serving with great notoriety in the Czech Legion. Israel’s early leaders immediately recognized Imi’s fighting prowess and innovativeness. Imi began to train Israel’s first fighting units the Palmach, Palyam, and Hagana in military close quarters combat. This training included fighting fitness, bayonet tactics, sentry removal, knife fighting, stave/stick fighting and any other military oriented problems that required a creative solution. After retiring from the Israeli Defense Forces in 1964 as chief instructor for physical fitness and hand-to-hand combat (which became recognized as the system “krav maga”) Imi established the Israeli Krav maga Association (IKMA) in 1978 to promote krav maga throughout the world for both civilians and law enforcement. Imi focused both on teaching professionals and adapting his system to provide ordinary civilians – men, women, and children – with solutions to avoid and/or end a violent encounter. Haim Gidon, the highest-ranking individual in the world at 10th degree black-belt, heads the organization as Imi’s appointed successor. (For more about krav maga founder Imi Licthenfeld please visit www.kravmagaisraeli.com and click “Founder.”)
Who is Haim Gidon?
Haim Gidon is also a committee member of the Wingate (Israel’s national sports institute) professional committee representing the self-defense style of krav maga. Haim Gidon, as President and Grandmaster of the IKMA, has taught the Israeli Police defensive tactics for the last thirty years to Israel’s security and military agencies.