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The History of Krav Maga

Updated: Jan 19, 2023


Martial arts practice. Krav Maga self defence using hands and legs as weapons


The History of krav maga

Thousands of individuals around the world have benefited from Krav Maga self-defence training. Despite this, this transformational program took some time to become the phenomenon it is today. This great self-defence and fitness program has a fascinating history. See below for details on the history and development of the Israeli Defence Forces' hand-to-hand combat system.



The origins of krav maga

The roots of Krav Maga can be traced back to one man, Imi Lichtenfeld. Born in Budapest in 1910, Lichtenfeld grew up in Bratislava, Slovakia where his father was a police officer and self-defence instructor. Training at his father's gym, Imi developed into a boxer, wrestler and gymnast. When Imi was a young man, he fought and competed on the national and international levels. In the late 1930's it was Imi's experience in boxing, wrestling, and gymnastics which helped him defend Jewish neighbourhoods from antisemitic riots. During these riots, socialist party members and antisemitic thugs often led them, forcing Lichtenfeld to adapt his competition-based knowledge into a real-world system for self-defence. During his time there, Imi joined the Haganah, a Jewish paramilitary group that fights for Israel's independence. During the years that Lichtenfeld worked within the Israeli military system, he was asked to develop their self-defence system.


As a result, Krav Maga was born. The group Lichtenfeld built up included special unit leaders, armed forces members, and police officers. Lichtenfeld developed Krav Maga's revolutionary self-defence system by incorporating his street fighting knowledge and legitimate competition tactics.



Krav Maga continues to grow

The IDF School of Combat Fitness developed by Lichtenfeld contributed to the growth of Krav Maga. During this time, he continued to refine his self-defence method. As Lichtenfeld expanded the scope of Krav Maga, there was an increase in students. To keep up with the massive following, Lichtenfeld adapted Krav Maga to better fit the lives of all individuals. Throughout the 1960s, Lichtenfeld made it easy for all citizens, including women and children, to learn Krav Maga techniques so that they could be better protected.



Krav Maga Global is born

In 2010, Eyal Yanilov and his team established KMG - Krav Maga Global, a global infrastructure designed to expand Krav Maga throughout the world, while maintaining the highest level of professionalism, morals and ethics.



Here at The Self Defence Academy, we are proud of being affiliated with the Krav Maga Global.



Self Defence can be extremely valuable in life and the skills and techniques you learn throughout Krav Maga training could help protect you and those around you.


If you're interested, get yourself booked on to one of our trial classes and see for yourself! We would love to see you 😊




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