I missed FRIED DAY last week. Instead, I was preparing and testing for my next level in Krav Maga. Krav Maga? Unlike Ted Mosby’s belief, it is NOT a form of yoga; don’t be fooled. Natalie, the girl he dated in the How I Met Your Mother episode titled “Return of the Shirt” was practicing Krav Maga. He learned the hard way that this is a form of self defense (and in my opinion he got what he deserved!).
Krav Maga is a growing form of self defense and it’s gaining more visibility throughout the social scene. Popular TV shows including The Simpsons, How I Met Your Mother, and The Big Bang Theory have all featured characters involved with Krav Maga. Celebrities are picking it up; Brad and Angelina being among the most recent. Jason Statham, my celebrity “crush” (I don’t really believe in those), often uses krav maga in his movies. It’s gaining momentum and you’re going to hear more of it as time goes on.
I’m far from a Krav Maga master but I have come to love learning and practicing the skills. We don’t use fancy and decorative flips and we don’t wear any particular uniform. If you are attacked tomorrow you will be wearing your street clothes so you ought to know how to defend yourself wearing them. Men and women of all ages, shapes, and sizes participate. A lot of people take up a self defense class after a bad experience occurred to them or to a loved one. Why wait for something bad to happen to learn self defense? Be prepared!
The Birth of Krav Maga
Krav Maga was developed by a man named Emerich “Imi” Lichtenfeld who was born and raised in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia in the early 1900’s. In his upbringing he was able to study a large variety of styles including boxing, wrestling, judo, jujitsu, aikado, and fencing. His father ran a wrestling club and gym which allowed Imi to compete and win national championships in both wrestling and boxing. In the 1930’s he faced a hostile anti-Semitic home front. In response, he brought together a group of young Jewish men to protect the community. During this time he developed self defense techniques designed to survive a street fight situation. A fundamental principle of Krav Maga marries a defensive maneuver with an immediate counterattack.
As Hitler’s Nazi’s overcame his home in 1940, Lichtenfeld fled for Palestine. Later, in 1948, Israel was founded and Imi Lichtenfeld became the Chief Instructor of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). It was here that he taught the Israeli military what we know to be Krav Maga. By growing up with his hand in several different forms of fighting he used the most successful ideas to his advantage.
Krav Maga Today
Today there are many schools throughout the world teaching Krav Maga. A few that have been passed around in my circle have included Darren Levine’s Krav Maga Worldwide. Darren has trained with Imi Lichtenfeld himself and is a highly respected and recognized force in the Krav community.
Another well known name is Nir Maman, who works with CT 707, a special operations organization. Nir works with countless police and military organizations around the world including the special forces and SWAT.
A couple years ago we hosted Moshe Katz of Israeli Krav International. He has worked with US special forces, FBI, and numerous military/police groups internationally.
Earlier this year our school hosted Boaz Aviram who heads Pure Krav Maga. He has also served as the IDF’s chief instructor.
There are many more out there including several of Imi’s students (Rhon Mizrachi and Eyal Yanilov); Kelevra is our brand. I have only recently begun to get serious about learning more. When I first began I found it daunting, especially being in class with other students ranked so much higher than I was. I’m shy in nature and stepping out of my comfort zone was not easy. There were days I got to class and couldn’t muster up the courage to go in or participate. Today, however, I’m so glad that I continued to go to class. Every class I get a little better, a little smoother, and a little faster. I have recently begun sparring and look forward to what the future holds. Please see the links below for more information about Krav Maga.
“Slow is smooth and smooth is fast”