What is Krav Maga?
definition: (krav-ma•ga) pronounced (kräv)(megä´)
n.[Hebrew.] for “contact combat”, is the official self-defense and hand-to-hand combat system of Israel.
The Israeli System of Defensive Tactics
Who uses Krav Maga today?
In 1964, Grandmaster Imi Lichtenfeld finished his military service and adapted Krav Maga to civilian frameworks. In Israel, the style has become an important part of the educational system and is taught to elementary and high school students on the national curriculum along with being taught at the Wingate Institute, one of the world’s leading physical fitness centers. It is taught to men, women, and children under the auspices of the Israeli Ministry of Sport and Education. Krav Maga is the official system of hand-to-hand combat and self-defense employed by the Israeli Defense and Security Forces, the Israeli National and Military Police and its Special Operations and Anti-Terrorist Units. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) including their Special Forces Units, Israeli Police, and Internal Security Branches currently uses this style on a day-to-day basis.
Krav Maga is taught all ages and abilities, at community centers, schools, and clubs throughout the world. Krav Maga is taught to Sky Marshals, commercial airline crews, and has expanded outside the borders of Israel and is very successful in the United States, Canada, Brazil, United Kingdom, France, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Russia, Italy, Poland, Japan, Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand. Many United States local law enforcement, federal agencies, state police, SWAT and other special operations teams have been taught Krav Maga to include, but not limited to the following: –
- Federal Bureau of Investigations
- Connecticut State Police
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms
- Pennsylvania State Police
- Drug Enforcement Administration Arrest & Control Unit Texas
- Department of Public Safety
- U.S. Treasury
- Department Ohio State
- Highway Patrol
- U.S. Immigration Service
- Florida State Highway Patrol
- U.S. State Department
- California Highway Patrol
- U.S. Central Intelligence Agency California
- Department of Justice
- U.S. Coast Guard – Port Security Unit
- Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
- U.S. Coast Guard – Tactical Law Enforcement
- Los Angeles Police Department Academy
- U.S. Coast Guard – Drug Interdiction Santa
- Monica Police Department
- New York City Police Department
- El Segundo Police Department
- Illinois State Police
- Beverly Hills Police Department
- Chicago Metro Police Department
- Burbank Police Department
- Alabama State Police
- Pasadena Police Department
How Krav Maga is different from traditional Martial Arts?
Krav Maga uses a simple approach to learning through constant practice and repetition. The most effective defenses against each kind of assault become almost second nature and automatic, so that in actual “street” confrontations they will be immediately utilized. In its military capacity and highest levels of learning, Krav Maga teaches not just defenses against armed and unarmed attack, but how to initiate an attack. Krav Maga training stresses the ability to react when surprised. Techniques and training methods emphasize the ability to function from a poor state of readiness, and to move from a passive to aggressive state immediately in order to fight back and survive. By emphasizing and practicing a few key defense techniques for each assault the style is able to consider a wide range of defense options hardly ever found in other styles, making Krav Maga a complete fighting system. Instructors incorporate realistic reenactments, teaching students how to operate under the stress of an actual attack. Students learn to defend against common chokes, grabs, and bear hugs, as well as weapons such as guns, knives, and sticks. Just as important, students learn to function during the stress and shock of a sudden, violent encounter. Krav Maga is easy to learn and suitable to everyone who needs an effective way of self-defense. In addition to self-defense, Krav Maga teaches hand to hand combat. This is a more advanced and sophisticated phase, and shows how to neutralize an opponent quickly and effectively. It embodies elements related to the actual performance of the fight including tactics, feints, powerful combinations of different attacks, the psychological dimensions of the fight, and learning how to use the environment to your advantage.
Principles of Krav Maga
Devise drills that take advantage of natural reflexes.
Defend and attack in the minimum time required
Use of the human body’s vulnerable spots
Use of the body’s natural weapons as well as ordinary objects that may be nearby
No Rules, use everything you have
Characteristics of Krav Maga
Students of Krav Maga use basic moves in various combinations to fend off violent attacks. This means that students adjust to new situations through improvisation, an important and unique feature of this style. Of course, this requires using the “head” as well as the body, and thus Krav Maga addresses the thought process as well as the physical action.
Improvisation also allows for limitations in physical abilities. Not everyone can bring his or her leg up to a 180-degree angle, and thus the system is geared towards the average person. Students are taught a variety of possible defensive reactions for each possible attack situation, building upon an actual framework of useable techniques. They are then encouraged to utilize the responses that are appropriate to their capabilities. This allows the student to develop a sense of confidence in their abilities.
The mind and body self-control are developed through practice. The student will learn how to control his six senses (he develops the 5 basic senses and the sixth, the ability to foresee the movements before they are made, and is also the ability to sense the environment around him). Many types of exercises make the student able to control any muscle or part of his body. If we think on movement as a sequence of moves passing quickly from one to another like a movie, in Krav Maga we develop the perception of the move in its first frame. The instinctive movement is worked to exhaustion, because is essential in dangerous situations. The instinctive movement is very fast, and it is apart from the emotional state, which the brain controls the movements just by reflex.
Being physically and mentally prepared to handle confrontation is why so many people, as well as hundreds of law enforcement agencies, train in Krav Maga, it keeps them from becoming victims. Because physical fitness is closely interwoven into the system, the workout includes a number of cardiovascular and strength building exercises, as well as stretching to increase flexibility. Emphasis is put on speed, endurance, strength, accuracy, and coordination, especially for intensive Krav Maga training.
All Krav Maga moves were created based on natural body movements and are all very simple. This is what makes their use easier on danger and surprise situations. The moves are short, and by consequence, fast. There are no rules, the techniques was created for real-life situation application. The strikes are intended to body sensible targets, what makes the Krav Maga practitioner and his adversary even, independently from their physical strength, and makes the defense more objective. In short: Krav Maga is a simple personal defense system, fast, and objective, accessible to anyone.