Krav Maga — Hebrew for contact combat — whips you into shape while teaching you a practical skill that may very well save your life one day.
When the State of Israel was founded and the Israel Defense Forces was formed, Imrich Lichtenfeld became chief instructor for physical fitness and Krav Maga at the IDF School of Combat Fitness. He used his background in boxing, wrestling, gymnastics and military training to create a form of self-defense and hand-to-hand combat for soldiers. It became the official style of the Israeli Defense Force, the Israeli Security Forces, the Israeli Police department and Military Police, and the Anti-Terrorism Forces.
Krav Maga is an all-business, nothing-fancy, quick, decisive way to defend yourself or someone else against an attacker. Students are taught to be aggressive in the face of danger and are trained under the stress of real-life conditions. Just think: If you were attacked, your eyesight may become impaired, your mind is racing in a zillion directions, you may have a broken arm — can you be certain that your mind and body will cooperate enough to get away? Krav Maga teaches you to do just that.
You learn how to get yourself out of chokeholds, headlocks and bearhugs; fight from the ground while being mounted by an attacker; use everyday objects as a defense weapon; and even defend yourself against someone with a handgun.
Watch Krav Maga expert Roy Elghanayan in action for a better understanding of how effective this martial art can be:
If you're a 100-pound female, you can still master Krav Maga and ward off an assailant. Women have been serving in the Israeli military since its inception. So have older men.
According to the Krav Maga Federation, the first civilian course for Krav Maga was offered in 1972 at the School for Trainers at the Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sports. It rapidly became an integral part of elementary and high school education for Israeli youth, and a national form of self-defense meant to empower all Israeli citizens as they tended to their day-to-day activities in sometimes volatile and dangerous surroundings. It is taught worldwide to everyone: kids, women, experienced, non-experienced, fit and unfit.
Want gender-specific instruction? Check out “Krav Maga for Women,” by Ulyesses Press. It features 300 step-by-step photos and detailed instructions on how women can assess immediate dangers and develop attack strategies for a variety of situations. Written by sixth-degree black belt and founder of the Krav Maga Association of America (at the request of Lichtenfeld himself) Darren Levine; professional Krav Maga instructor Ryan Hoover; and third-degree black belt Kelly Campbell, the exercises in “Krav Maga for Women” were specifically designed for women’s bodies.
Find an official Krav Maga Worldwide Training Center here.