About Krav Maga

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What is Krav Maga?

Self-Defense based on natural instincts
IKMF Krav Maga

Krav Maga (“contact combat” in Hebrew), is the most effective self-defense system offered today. Krav Maga can be implemented quickly and is an easy-to-learn street survival system that is accessible to anyone interested in personal safety regardless of gender, age, or physical ability.

Krav Maga is a modern and practical form of self-defense and fighting that is simple, effective, and practical based on principles. It takes natural and instinctive reactions and modifies them into an affective defense with counter attacks. This reality-based form of self-defense has been developed over decades for use by civilians, law enforcement, security agencies, military, and Special Forces all over the world.

Krav Maga techniques differentiate from other martial arts methods in a few aspects: first and far most by their practicality to implement under real – time conditions.

All krav maga techniques are performed according to main Krav Maga principles.

  • Avoidance, prevention, escape and evasion.
  • Handling throws and falls to all directions and angles.
  • Attacks and counterattacks, performed to all targets, distances and directions and in all rhythms. Executed from all positions and postures. Use of all sorts of common objects for defensive purposes.
  • Defending all unarmed attacks: punches, strikes and kicks. Releases from all sorts of grabs and holds.
  • Defending all armed attacks and threats: knives, sharp objects, sticks and other blunt objects; of all kind of firearms.
  • Dealing with attacks coming from all possible directions and places; Whether performed by a single or multiple attackers; at all possible locations: confined or open areas; On all types of grounds; When free or in limited space of movement; While standing, on the move, sitting down, laying down on the back, side or facing down etc.
  • Physical and mental control and disarm.
  • Krav Maga techniques Prepare the trainees to function in all circumstances and fighting environments, according to their needs, job descriptions and probable risks.

Major sections of training.

  • Civilian sector - offering and teaching self-defense qualifications to Adults, women, Children; Each carefully adapted to match the variable needs of every sub sector
  • Military Sector - offering and teaching self-defense qualifications to soldiers aimed to widen their combat abilities as individual soldiers and as a part of a unit.
  • Law Enforcement - offering and teaching self-defense qualifications to police officers and governmental units.
  • VIP sector - offering and teaching all professional levels of Third Side protection defenses (kravmaga oriented).

Krav Maga was founded and developed originally by Imi Lichtenfeld for military purposes in the early 50’s and is still is the official system of defensive tactics and self-defense used by the Israel Defense Forces, Israeli National and Military Police, and other anti-terror/ special forces units in Israel.

Over the years, Krav Maga was further developed by Imi to provide self-defense solutions for civilians. It was introduced to civilians in the 1960s. In the 1990’s, the system was developed for children to provide a profound way of reducing violence and educate children to become better people.

“So that one may walk in peace”

Imi Lichtenfeld

Today Imi's vision and famous phrase is upheld by the International Krav Maga Federal (IKMF), the most veteran Krav Maga federation, headed by Avi Moyal, IKMF chairman and head instructor as well as Imi’s direct student. He continues to develop Krav Maga for modern day situations with other high ranking Israeli Krav Maga GIT instructors.

Imi Lictenfeld

Founder of Krav Maga

Imi LichtenfeldBorn in 1910 in Budapest, Hungary, Imrich “Imi” Lichtenfeld (Sde-Or) grew up in Bratislava, Czechloslavakia. To get the true background and feel for Imi (and krav-maga) you actually have to go back a generation to Imi’s father. As a youngster of 13, Imi’s father, Samuel Lichtenfeld, joined a professional circus troupe, where he excelled in both wrestling and boxing. For Samuel, the circus was a school where he received extensive knowledge and training in fitness, weight lifting, wrestling, boxing, and mixed-skill fighting. Samuel founded and ran the wrestling club and gym “Hercules,” where he trained Imi and other young competitive athletes. Imi rapidly distinguished himself as a champion in swimming, judo, boxing, wrestling, gymnastics and ballroom dancing, among other athletic pursuits.

In 1935 Imi visited Palestine with a team of Jewish wrestlers to compete in the Jewish Maccabi sports convention. Unfortunately, Imi fractured a rib during a training accident and could not compete. This accident led to Imi’s fundamental training principle emphasized in his own words: “don’t get hurt.” Imi quickly concluded that only real necessity justifies a “win at all costs” approach. These two tenets eventually fused to create Imi’s Krav Maga training approach. Imi returned to Czechoslovakia to face increasing anti-Semitic violence. As Nazi hatred infected Slovakia, Jews were increasingly victims of near constant violence. To protect the Jewish community from marauding fascists and anti-Semites, Imi organized a group of young Jews to protect his community. On the streets, Imi quickly learned the vital differences between sport martial arts competition and street fighting. While serving on the front lines to protect his community, Imi began to combine natural movements and reactions with immediate and decisive counterattacks. Here, on the streets, fighting for survival was where a lot of the techniques and philosophy of Krav Maga were developed.

These community self-defense activities made Imi a wanted man by the fascist Nazi occupational authorities. Nazi intolerance soon quickly reached a crescendo as the Germans began their systematic extermination of European Jewry. In May 1940, the Beitar Zionist Youth movement invited Imi to join them on the riverboat, Pentcho, bound for Palestine. This turned out to be the last immigrant ship that succeeded in escaping the Nazi’s clutches.

Imi Lichtenfeld

Israel’s early leaders recognized Imi’s fighting abilities, innovation, and his ability to impart this training to others. Imi began training the Palmach (elite fighting units), the Palyam (marine fighting units), and the Hagana, which would merge into the modern-day Zahal or Israeli Defense Force as well as groups of police officers. This training included fighting fitness, obstacle training, bayonet tactics, sentry removal, knife fighting, stave/stick fighting and any other military-oriented problems that required a creative solution.

In 1948 Imi became the principal authority in close-quarters-combat for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Imi became the Chief Instructor for Physical Fitness and Krav-Maga at the IDF School of Combat Fitness as well. He was in charge of training a disparate group of soldiers of all shapes, sizes, and abilities, many of whom did not speak the same language. He needed to develop a self-defense system that would work for not only spry eighteen-year-olds and elite fighting troops in prime physical condition, but also for middle-aged and graying reserve soldiers. He needed a system that soldiers could learn quickly, during their 3-week-long basic training. Finally, he needed a system that worked, one that soldiers could apply to any situation at any time intuitively and without hesitation. He succeeded.

A Fighting System that Works for All

Imi Lichtenfeld

Until the World War II era, traditional self-defense techniques left soldiers ill prepared to defend against armed attackers. As the fledging Israeli state formed, Imi knew its soldiers needed to learn a type of close-quarters combat that could protect them against firearms, explosives, and other modern threats. Thus, Krav Maga–the world’s most effective close quarters combat system–was born.

As he developed the method, Imi worked tirelessly to ensure Krav Maga success was not dependent on a practitioner’s strength or expertise in any one combative including punching, kicking, grappling or throwing. He took all aspects of a fight, both armed and unarmed, into account. Imi melded his knowledge of the many sports-based fighting disciplines he knew together and created the complete fighting system now known as Krav Maga.

Merging Self-Defense with Close Quarters Combat

Until the advent of Krav Maga, self-defense and close-quarters combat were thought of as two distinct methodologies. Self-defense usually included situations in which a defender was unaware of an impending attack. In close-quarters-combat, two opponents are aware of the other’s respective movements and perceived violent intent. Krav Maga fuses the two disciplines into one fighting system, giving the trainee the tools needed to defend oneself both when taken by surprise as well as when one is well aware of your opponent. In Krav Maga, you’ll learn to quickly react under any situation. A trainee learns to both neutralize an attacker as well as develop a fight strategy that may include defensive posturing, and movements, coordinated attacks and counter-attacks, and overall tactics.

For the next two decades, Imi served as Chief Physical Fitness and Krav Maga Instructor for the Israeli Defense Forces. The vast knowledge acquired through Krav Maga training prompted the military authorities to recognize Krav Maga as a distinct self-defense-close-quarters-combat system. Later, the Israeli Ministry of Educating also granted Krav Maga state recognition for training in public schools.

From Soldiers to Civilians

Imi Lichtenfeld

Imi’s teaching skills were often sought abroad. His lessons extended beyond just self-defense-close-quarters-combat training to emphasize character and moral training. For example, in 1960, when instructing a Royal Police Guard unit in Ethiopia, Imi realized during a bayonet defensive tactics lesson that several trainees had attempted not to learn with him, but to actually bayonet him. At the next training session, Imi rectified this uncooperative attitude by sprawling his attacker with a full force kick, halting any further “tests.” This incident prompted Imi to reinforce proper student attitude: “be humble.” Proving oneself is not necessary. Humility and respect are essential. In 1964, after retiring as Chief Instructor, Imi began to adapt his system for use in the civilian world.

Imi focused both on teaching professionals (law enforcement, executive protection and security specialists) and adapting his system to provide ordinary civilians – men, women, boys and girls – with solutions to avoid and/or end a violent encounter. In 1978, Imi, along with his senior students including Mr. Avi Moyal – IKMF Chairman (whom he appointed as the Chairman) established the Ha Agudah L’Krav Maga Yisraeli or the Israeli Krav Maga Association (IKMA) in his hometown, Netanya, to promote Krav Maga throughout Israel.

Even during his last years, Imi continued to personally supervise the training of those who have attained high ranks in Krav Maga, and to spend time with the instructors in Israel and abroad.

As time passed, Imi recognized the need for an organization whose primary focus was spreading Krav Maga not primarily in Israel but around the globe and so, at his direction and with his blessing, the International Krav Maga Federation was established. Mr. Avi Moyal is at the helm as the Chairman continuing to steer the IKMF in the original vision and direction of Imrich “Imi” Lichtenfeld (Sde-Or).

On January 9th, 1998, early in the morning, Imrich “Imi” Lichtenfeld (Sde-Or) passed away, but his legacy and vision live on strong… IKMF Krav Maga

Avi Moyal

IKMF Chairman
Avi Moyal

Avi Moyal was born in 1966 and has been studying Krav Maga since childhood. He soon demonstrated such proficiency that his instructors allowed him to teach at a very early age, and he has now been teaching Krav Maga for the past 30 years.

In 1985 Avi Moyal received his “Expert degree” in Krav Maga and enlisted in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) Marines. Avi completed his Officer's training with excellence, and served as Platoon Commander in a Terror Demolition Unit. He acquired many combat hours and experience while commanding subordinates on special operations in Lebanon including highly specialized missions behind enemy lines with various SWAT units. During his service he also provided VIP protection for a high ranking IDF General and an intelligence officer. After active duty, Avi served as a Reserves Platoon Commander in a special operations unit.

Avi Moyal graduated all the Instructor courses in the Israeli Wingate Institute. He later taught instructor’s courses at the Wingate Institute for 7 years and today he is recognized as one of the highest ranking Krav Maga Masters in the world. Avi also graduated college with a business degree.

Among Avi’s instructors were Eli Avigzar and of course Imi Lichtenfeld, the founder and creator of Krav Maga. Imi's close relationship with Avi resulted in Avi becoming Chairman of the Aguda (the very first Krav Maga organization). Currently, Avi serves as the Chairman of the International Krav Maga Federation (IKMF) where he leads the organization in preserving the vision of Master Imi Lichtenfeld. Avi also serves as Advisor to the Israeli Minister of Sport and Education in the area of Krav Maga.

Avi Moyal

Among his many qualifications he conducts lessons with men, women & children in all Israeli sectors, private and commercial. As a Krav Maga Master, Avi was chosen by the Israeli government to develop specific techniques and teaching programs for Women’s Self Defense, Carjacking Defense and Children’s Self Defense. Avi has also published a booklet about Krav Maga for grade school pupils, one of his areas of expertise. It is distributed throughout Israel, and it will soon be translated and published abroad. He continues to instruct various military units and security organizations world wide.

One of the things that make Avi such a renowned and respected authority in the world of Krav Maga is his vast “real world” experience. He is the only IKMF board member with proven IDF combat experience as an officer, and has also provided VIP protection in the civilian arena for celebrities.

Today, Avi Moyal divides his time between his vocation to spread the art of Krav Maga to various countries and organizations, his many Israeli students and his family.

Warrior Elite Krav Maga started as the San Diego Combat Center in 2010 in Poway, CA. Head Instructor Drew Goodwin gave the face of IKMF-San Diego a new look and name in October of 2014 when the Warrior Elite Rancho Bernardo location opened.

Drew and Nancy began training in Krav Maga over a decade ago at Krav Maga San Diego (KMSD) and continued their training within the International Krav Maga Federation (IKMF) after leaving KMSD. Even though their self-defense origins were in other disciplines, once they began training in Krav Maga it was clear that this Israeli system was the best option for simple self-defense that can be learned quickly and be effective for anyone and everybody. They continue to visit Israel to train with IKMF senior instructors and bring those instructors for special events here in Rancho Bernardo. This guarantees the most current techniques available to you, the students. All IKMF schools strive to be the very best in what they do, and we are no exception.

Warrior Elite Krav Maga offers simple, effective self-defense classes that will challenge you mentally and physically to ensure that you are prepared for threats on the street. We believe that anyone can learn self-defense regardless of age, gender, or physical abilities. Anyone can be a victim at any time and we make sure you learn something valuable starting in your first class.

We hope that you will stop by and try a class for free and see for yourself how Krav Maga can benefit you immediately.

“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Warrior Elite Krav Maga