Krav Maga is an Israeli martial art that is taught to military personnel, law enforcement and civilians. The name of this martial art, translated from Hebrew to English means “contact combat.” This translation is an accurate depiction of the martial art itself, which is made up of hand to hand combat killing techniques. Nevertheless, simplified versions of Krav Maga will not include severe techniques. Civilians are only instructed on the basic art of self defense.
Although Krav Maga has its roots in Israel, this martial art was based off of a 1930s martial art introduced in Hungary by Imi Lichtenfeld, or in English, his surname was “Light Field.” Lichtenfeld taught his martial art to Jews in order to help them protect themselves against the Nazi’s. He later taught the Jewish underground army his tactics and techniques and ended up serving as the chief inspector of the Israel Defense Forces.
It is important to note that this martial art is not a sport. There are no tournaments or competitions because the purpose of Krav Maga is self-defense. Full-contact sparring is immediately introduced to most practitioners, as it presents students with the reality of violent situations.
Krav Maga training does not have hard and fast rules or any distinctions between men and women. Practitioners use techniques including crippling attacks on vulnerable body parts, head butts and other strikes. While this martial art has adopted techniques from other martials are including Aikido, Judo and Jiu-Jitsu, Krav Maga is different in that it instructs realistic fighting and self-defense.
Up until 1981, all Krav Maga experts resided in Israel but this changed when six Israeli experts traveled to the United States. These six men gave effective demonstrations of Krav Maga in Jewish Community Centers. As a result, twenty-two Americans flew to Israel to become martial arts students. This was how the martial art began to spread to other cultures.