By Chrisopher Pregony, BS, CSCS
When it comes to a practical, real world form of self-defense, few can measure up to Krav Maga, a hand-to-hand combat system designed around realistic training scenarios.
The credit for the development of this form of self-defense belongs to Imi Lichtenfeld. Lichtenfeld lived in Czechoslovakia during the 1930s when anti-Semitism was at its peak, according to Krav Maga Worldwide. He took to fighting and defending Jewish neighborhoods and found that traditional boxing and wrestling were ineffective in street fights; thus, Krav Maga was born.
Lichtenfeld eventually made his way to Israel, where he perfected the form and taught it to the soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Since then, many other countries have adopted this technique to teach their military and law enforcement. It has also made its way into the mainstream, and classes can be found across the U.S.
What is Krav Maga?
In Hebrew “Krav Maga” means “contact combat.” As with many forms of martial arts, Krav Maga encourages those who practice it to avoid confrontation. It is to be used as a form of defense, and only as a last resort. Since it is centered on real world, practical defense, Krav Maga focuses on striking the most vulnerable parts of the body. It not only teaches students to protect themselves, but to counter with moves that can severely injure or even kill an assailant.
The primary difference between Krav Maga and other martial arts is that there is no sport aspect to the combat system. It is designed purely for self-preservation. In addition to physical defense it also teaches students to identify the simplest way to protect themselves in a situation. According to The Art of Manliness, Krav Maga safely prepares an individual since no fighting etiquette can be used when your life is at risk.
Who can do Krav Maga?
Anyone can learn, from kids to older adults. Women can benefit immensely from learning Krav Maga — by becoming proficient in this technique, they can neutralize an attack and actually inflict serious bodily injury to an attacker, even if the attacker is armed with a knife or a gun. Krav Maga trains people to be constantly aware of what can cause a dangerous situation, and if found in a dangerous situation, the practice teaches a fighter to strike and subdue the opponent to quickly and safely end the threat. Learning this form of defense can boost self-confidence and allow you to go out of the house without fear.
Can it be used for exercise?
Krav Maga can definitely be used to help improve your physical health. The exercise is a welcomed perk of learning to throw an attacker to the ground or break their grip, but again, the primary directive of Krav Maga is self-defense. Schools that focus primarily on teaching it as a form of exercise do not understand the purpose of Krav Maga.
If you are interested in learning basic and effective self-defense then Krav Maga may be the way to go. Don’t be afraid to try several schools to find the one that best fits your needs!
Where to get your Krav Maga training
Gainesville Krav Maga
1207 NW 76th Blvd, Gainesville, FL 32606
Bruno’s Self Defense and Fitness
1005 SW 10th St.
Ocala, FL 34471
St. John’s Krav Maga & Fitness
9446 Phillips Highway
Jacksonville, FL 32256