Krav Maga

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Krav Maga (Hebrew: קרב מגע‎, IPA: /krɑːv mə'gɑː/, Hebrew IPA: ['kʁav ˌma'ga], lit. contact combat or close combat) is an eclectic hand-to-hand combat system developed in Israel which emphasizes threat neutralization, often in a 'him-or-me' context.

Krav Maga has its origins in the 1930s and the Second World War. Imi Lichtenfeld, its primary founder, fled Czechoslovakia to the British Palestine Mandate, now Israel, where it was further developed by the Israeli Defence Forces. There are several organisations teaching variations of Krav Maga internationally.[citation needed].


[edit] Etymology

The name in Hebrew means "Hand-to-hand combat." Krav (קרב) meaning "combat" or "battle",and Maga (מגע) meaning "contact" or "touch". (Oxford Hebrew-English dictionary)[1] Krav Maga teaches combat involving physical body contact as opposed to combat involving projectile or distance weaponry such as guns, artillery, tanks and planes.

[edit] Basic principles

Unlike in martial art sports, there are no hard-and-fast rules for Krav Maga fighting, and no built-in distinctions in training between men and women.[2] It has no sporting federation, and there are no official uniforms or attire, although some organizations, internally, do recognise progress through training with rank badges and different levels.

Techniques generally focus on training combatants in conditions approximating real-life scenarios. Krav Maga trains combatants for situations where losing would be potentially fatal. Its attack and defense maneuvers aim to neutralize the threat and facilitate rapid and safe escape. These include crippling attacks to vulnerable body parts, including groin and eye strikes, as well as headbutts and other efficient and often brutal strikes. The improvised use of any objects available is encouraged and maximizing personal safety in a fight is emphasized.

While no limits are placed on techniques to be used in life-threatening situations, the legal need to minimise damage in other circumstances is generally recognized and stressed (at least in civillian contexts) and instructors are required to demonstrate how to moderate the techniques to suit the seriousness of the circumstances.

Krav Maga basic training emphasizes the following:

  • Do not get hurt
  • Neutralize the attacker fast
  • Transition quickly from defensive into offensive techniques, or employ pre-emptive strikes if appropriate.
  • Use the natural reflexes of the body
  • Exploit the opponent's vulnerabilities
  • Employ the aid of any available objects[2]

Krav Maga trainees learn to deal first with the immediate threat and then prevent further attacks, if necessary by neutralizing the attacker. Actions are carried out in a methodical manner. In order to avoid a dangerous situation developing, some circumstances may call for anticipatory action.

[edit] Basic Training

Krav Maga has borrowed many techniques from other martial arts and includes elements from boxing, Muay Thai, Aikido, Judo, and Jujutsu although the training is often quite different. Unlike the set routines and choreographed moves in martial arts, Krav Maga teaches realistic fighting and self-defence even in conditions of stress and exhaustion. Typical training often includes exercises simulating fighting against several opponents, while protecting another, with the use of only one arm, while dizzy, and against armed opponents. Krav Maga training programs involve rapid learning, with offensive and defensive techniques introduced from the first lesson and retzev (pronounced ret-zef and meaning "continuous motion or momentum") playing an important part in both training and maneuvers.[3]

Most instructors emphasize two training rules: (1) there are no rules in a fight and (2) partner preservation - one must not injure oneself or one's partner when training.[3]

Basic training is an intense mixed aerobic and anaerobic workout, relying heavily on the use of protective pads. In striking this helps the trainee practice his maneuvers at full strength, while the holder learns a little of the impact they would feel when getting hit. It can be almost as taxing to hold a pad as to practice against one. Students will also wear head guards, mouthpieces, groin protectors, shin and forearm guards, etc. during practice of attack/defense techniques, so that a realistic level of violence may be attained without risk of injury. Some schools incorporate "Strike and Fight," which consists of full-contact sparring intended to familiarize the student with the stresses of a violent situation.

Training within extreme acoustic, visual, and verbal scenarios prepares students to ignore peripheral distractions and focus on the needs of the situation.[citation needed] Other training methods to increase realism might include blindfolding or exercising trainees to near exhaustion before dealing with a simulated attack as well as training outdoors on a variety of surfaces and restrictive situations. Training will usually also cover situational awareness, to develop an understanding of one's surroundings and potentially threatening circumstances before an attack is launched. It may also cover "Self Protection": ways to deal with potentially violent situations, and physical and verbal methods to avoid violence whenever possible.

A typical session in a civilian school is about an hour long and mixes conditioning with self-defense training. As levels increase, the instructors focus a little more on complicated and less common types of attacks, such as knife attacks, hostage situations and defense under extreme duress.

Classes usually feature a very intense drill to raise the heart rates. This is often done at the beginning of the lesson. Then, after stretching, the instructor will teach two or three self-defense techniques. Techniques will either be combative (punches, hammer-fists, elbows, and knees) or grappling (breaking out of chokes or wrist-grabs, getting out from under an opponent while on one's back). After that, the class usually moves to a drill that combines the techniques just taught with an aerobic technique. Lastly, there is the final drill intended to burn out the students. Depending on the class, this drill may be at the very beginning or at the end of the class.[citation needed]

[edit] History

[edit] Imi Lichtenfeld

Krav Maga was developed in Hungary and Czechoslovakia in the 1930s by Imi Lichtenfeld, also known as Imi Sde-Or. (Sde-Or - "Light Field" - a calque of his surname into Hebrew) He first taught his fighting system in Bratislava in order to help protect the local Jewish community from Nazi militia. Upon arriving in the British Mandate of Palestine, Imi began teaching Kapap to the Haganah, the Jewish underground army. With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Imi became the Chief Instructor of Physical Fitness and Krav Maga at the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) School of Combat Fitness. He served in the IDF for 15 years, during which time he continued to develop and refine his hand-to-hand combat method.[4] In 1978, Imi founded the non-profit Israeli Krav Maga Association with several senior instructors.[5] He died in January 1998 in Netanya, Israel.[6]

[edit] Expansion to the USA

Prior to 1980, all experts in Krav Maga lived in Israel and trained under the Israeli Krav Maga Association. That year marks the beginning of contact between Israeli Krav Maga experts and interested students in the United States. In 1981, a group of six Krav Maga instructors traveled to the US to demonstrate their system, primarily to local Jewish Community Centers. The New York Field Office of the FBI and the FBI's Main Training Center at Quantico, Virginia saw it and expressed interest. The result was a visit by 22 people from the US to Israel in the summer of 1981 to attend a basic Krav Maga instructor course. The graduates from this course returned to the US and began to establish training facilities in their local areas. Additional students traveled to Israel in 1984 and again in 1986 to become instructors. At the same time, instructors from Israel continued to visit the US. Law Enforcement training in the US began in 1985.[7]

[edit] Current usage

Krav Maga is the official system of self defense and unarmed combat for the Israeli Defense Forces. All Israeli soldiers, including all Special Forces units such as the Sayeret Duvdevan,[8] learn Krav Maga as part of their basic training[9]. Further, Krav Maga is the defensive tactics system used to train the Israeli Police[10], Israeli Intelligence and all Security Divisions.[11] Krav Maga is also taught to civilians, military, law enforcement and security agencies around the world.

There have also been many spin-offs to Krav Maga, such as Tactical Krav Maga, founded by Itay Gil; Commando Krav Maga, founded by Moni Aizik; and Special Forces Krav Maga, founded by Michal Cernohorsky.

Krav Maga can be found in movies, too. Several famous actors practice Krav Maga and use it in their acting including Christian Bale, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Garner and Lucy Liu. [12]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

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