Home Base
Ring Girls
MMA Training

What's so Kosher about Krav Maga?

By Carlos Arena Marina

Imi Lichtenfeld founder of Krav Maga

Krav Maga or Kravmagá, which in Hebrew means "hand to hand combat", is the official self defense system used by the Israel Defense Forces personnel, known in its infancy as Kapap, which means "fighting face to face."

In this style of combat are incorporated defenses against a wide variety of aggressive acts that can come from any attacker, such as; punching, kicking, strangulation, gouging, ripping & tearing, agar ones, as well as defenses against multiple attackers and armed assailants with weapons of various types; such as Machetes, knives, daggers, sticks, bats, axes, pistols, revolvers, shotguns, machine guns, sub-machine guns, etc. Krav Maga uses practical approaches to defend all sorts of techniques like; “empty hand”, using fists, elbows, kicks, knees, biting, cabezazos, keys, sweeps, as one would with sticks as weapons, knives, Tonfa, Police Batons and various other common weapons.

Developed originally in Czechoslovakia in the twentieth century by Imi Lichtenfeld, who after reaching the British Mandate of Palestine before the creation of the State of Israel, began to teach hand to hand fighting in the Haganah, the Jewish underground army. After the creation of Israel, it was adopted as a combat system using its effective fighting tactics (Hand to hand combat and defense) by the security forces of Israeli Defense, the National Police of Israel and its various anti-terrorist units and Special Forces.

When Lichtenfeld retired after a long career as an instructor in combat, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) began to teach Krav Maga to the civilian population. Thus emerged a civilian version based on the principles of self-defense that has had a huge expansion in recent years, especially in Europe and North America, and has made the system more accessible to civilians because of their effectiveness in situations of defense.


The basic idea is to first address the immediate threat (for example, a broken bottleneck against the practitioner), prevent the aggressor’s attack and then neutralize the contrary. Emphasis is placed on taking the initiative to immediately flee. “Es licit” (Tactical withdrawal), if the situation dictates. Krav Maga serves to counter armed assailants may be contrary to different martial arts teachings? It also allows combat in enclosed areas such as aircraft or hallway.

Krav Maga has many disarmament techniques, and its practice emphasizes fighting in circumstances out of the ordinary. In short, the fundamental principles of warfare dictate that any defensive personnel’s response must meet all the following criteria in a given situation, the defense or attack must be:

  • Faster
  • Stronger
  • Shorter
  • More natural and the most direct
    (For example, if one wants to escape, we must escape, if we want to beat, we must strike)

Krav Maga gun disarm


Before 1985, the Krav Maga experts were in Israel. Foreign students came to Israel to study this art until some well-trained Israeli instructors left Israel to direct schools Krav Maga in various parts of the world. The first person non-Israeli known to run a school where he taught Krav Maga exclusively was in the U.S. He is Darren Levine, who teaches in Los Angeles, California, USA. The first person Krav Maga certified and not Israeli or even Jewish that is an expert instructor is named; James Keenan, from the U.S.A. there are now several police groups in the United States (SWAT, narcotics divisions, anti-gang units, etc.) who have benefited through seminars and Krav Maga training by the International Federation Kapap. Since the death of Lichtenfeld, there have been various schools and associations teaching good Krav Maga outside of Israel.

It is not a sport:

Krav Maga is a system created and developed for practical use in real situations of risk. You do not see any obvious competitive sports in Krav Maga, its effectiveness can not be verified on a mat or in a cage or ring, but only in actual combat. This is not a sport-influenced martial art and several of its techniques could be considered “anti-sports”, this is because the purpose of the system is not to secure victory in a fight, but leave with life after a real confrontation, using any means available…until there is no other option, perhaps only then to-the-death!


Based on seminars, training and by my personal experience in martial arts, we are not always fully prepared for a real attack on the street where firearms, knives, sticks and so on can be thrown into the mix! Also, one must fear the possibility of facing more than one attacker at a time. Reality bites!

The concept of most “ancient” martial arts is lagging and far removed from reality, it is very difficult to survive an attack with a weapon if the person does not have the proper reality-based defensive training, and if their teachers did not explain that poor techniques can lead to death...they’re in trouble.

“So, in this article I would caution teachers and educators that some martial arts may only work in movies, real life is not a movie.”

“I believe the Krav Maga is very effective in the streets,” concludes, Carlos Arena Marina, Spain.

Home Base | Allies | Archives | Pioneers | Army | Ring Girls | Gallery | MMA Training
Copyright 2007 © AMAM All rights reserved