Friday, May 21, 2010
Krav Maga - hand-to-hand combat system developed in Israel
Krav Maga (pronounced /ˌkrɑːv məˈɡɑː/; Hebrew: קרב מגע, IPA: [ˈkʁav maˈɡa], lit. "contact combat" or "close combat") is an eclectic hand-to-hand combat system developed in Israel which involves wrestling, grappling and striking techniques, mostly known for its extremely efficient and brutal counter-attacks, as it is also taught to elite special forces around the world. It was derived from street-fighting skills developed by Imi Lichtenfeld, who made use of his training as a boxer and wrestler, as a means of defending the Jewish quarter during a period of anti-Semitic activity in Bratislava in the mid- to late 1930s. In the late 1940s, following his immigration to Israel, he began to provide hand-to-hand combat training to what was to become the IDF, developing the techniques that became known as Krav Maga. It has since been refined for both civilian and military applications.
Some refinements include, but are not limited to, the incorporation of elements from traditional Asian martial arts.
Krav Maga, sometimes known as Israeli jujitsu, has a philosophy emphasizing threat neutralization, simultaneous defensive and offensive maneuvers, and aggression. Krav Maga is used by the IDF Special Forces units and several closely related variations have been developed and adopted by law enforcement and intelligence organizations, Mossad, Shin Bet, FBI, SWAT units of the NYPD and United States special operations forces. There are several organizations teaching variations of Krav Maga internationally.
The name in Hebrew means "Hand-to-hand combat." Krav (קרב) meaning "combat" and Maga (מגע) meaning "contact" or "touch".
Krav Maga was developed in 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 the 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. In 1964 he left the military though continued to supervise the instruction of Krav Maga in both military and law-enforcement contexts, and in addition, worked indefatigably to refine, improve and adapt Krav Maga to meet civilians needs. In 1978, Imi founded the non-profit Israeli Krav Maga Association with several senior instructors. He died in January 1998 in Netanya, Israel.
All Israel Defense Forces soldiers, including all Israeli Special Forces units, learn Krav Maga as part of their basic training, although most non-Special Forces trainees only spend a small amount of time training in Krav Maga, up to a week of training for a few hours per day. Further, Krav Maga is the defensive tactics system used to train the Israeli Police, Israeli Intelligence and all Security Divisions. Krav Maga is also taught to civilians, military, law enforcement and security agencies around the world. The Swedish Army uses Krav Maga lightly in close combat training for urban warfare. The International Krav Maga Federation in Netanya outside of Israel trains some of the world's top body guards, who use Krav Maga as a trade fighting art since it includes several exercises in evacuating a VIP through a hostile crowd. Also, the tactics for dispatching several opponents quickly is vital for personal protection agents.