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May 16, 2021

Krav Maga: History and Modern-Day Usefulness

If you are involved in any profession that encourages knowledge of self-defense, enjoy martial arts as a hobby or have ever been involved in military training, there is a good chance you’ve at least heard of Krav Maga.

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If you are involved in any profession that encourages knowledge of self-defense, enjoy martial arts as a hobby or have ever been involved in military training, there is a good chance you’ve at least heard of Krav Maga. This self-defense technique is internationally lauded for its versatility and usefulness, and at ITAC we are huge proponents of basic Krav Maga knowledge. But to truly invest yourself in this art, it’s important to have context and a better understanding of its origins. In this blog we’re going to break down the components of Krav Maga, teach you about its past and look at its modern-day usefulness.

Humble Beginnings

The foundation for Krav Maga was first laid in the early 20th century by Imi Lichtenfeld, a Hungarian-born athlete living in Slovakia. Already trained in gymnastics, wrestling, and boxing, Lichtenfeld was further schooled in more practical self-defense techniques by his police officer father. He himself later became a police officer and began to pass his skills along to coworkers. In the 1930’s Lichtenfeld’s skills were put to the test as he took part in defending himself and his Jewish neighbors from anti-Semitic groups in his neighborhood. The information learned from actual street fighting combined with his formal training created what would later become Krav Maga.

At the onset of World War II, Lichtenfeld fled to what would later become Israel and began working with paramilitary groups and the Israeli government to train soldiers in self-defense. Years of work with others further refined what by this time was officially called Krav Maga, and solidified it as a valuable skill for soldiers and other security professionals to have. Today, the method is still taught to all Israeli soldiers, and is in use worldwide by professionals and hobbyists alike.

Breaking It Down

Krav Maga was formed out of a combination of fighting techniques that were used by Lichtenfeld himself, and added to by others who worked with him. Krav Maga pulls elements from boxing, wrestling, judo, aikido, karate and street fighting. Together these elements helped to form a new martial art that prioritizes simplicity, opportunity, and the neutralization of threats.Core Tenants

Simplicity

Krav Maga is all about fast, purposeful strikes that are aimed at areas that are most likely to take down attackers. Blocking and holding techniques are also used to subdue perpetrators and end any dangerous situation as soon as possible.

Simultaneous Offense and Defense. Krav Maga is primarily a self-defense technique, but is intended to be able to offer offensive moves without compromising your safety. Instead of needing two different methods to defend and attack, Krav Maga works to allow you to block attacks while simultaneously taking a shot, eliminating the need for detailed strategy.

Opportunity

It is just as easy to incorporate weapons into Krav Maga as it is to use your hands. Understanding how to disarm an attacker and use their weapon against them is a key strategy often taught in Krav Maga Courses.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of tenants, or a complete history of Krav Maga. This fighting technique has a rich history based in historical and cultural change, and although it is practiced worldwide, its foundation remains the same. ITAC believes strongly in the usefulness of Krav Maga, which is why it features so heavily in our courses. If you’re interested in the basics, or want to incorporate this technique into a more specific combat situation, check out our Krav Maga courses or get in touch with us to learn more today.

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