Krav Maga may sound like the name of a mastermind from the latest superhero blockbuster, but it’s the official self-defense training used in the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces.) Meaning “contact combat” in Hebrew, Krav Maga training is based on sports combat like wrestling and boxing with elements of hand-to-hand street fighting. In addition to the IDF, over 500 other law enforcement and military organizations worldwide have adopted Krav Maga with hundreds in the US alone like the FBI and NYPD.
What is Krav Maga: A History
Krav Maga originated with Hungarian-born self-defense expert Imi Sde-Or (born Lichtenfeld) in the 1940s as a result of World War II and mass exodus to Israel. Israel had yet to become a state and was vulnerable to invasions and needed adept armed forces. Firearms were outlawed and extremely difficult to come by. Subsequently, Israeli soldiers needed top-notch training in hand-to-hand combat and Sde-Or had a great deal of experience in this area as the son of a police officer who pioneered owning a gym where boxing and judo were taught. He had trained in his father’s gym and taught self-defense classes in Bratislava so that vulnerable citizens could fend off attacks in pogroms and home invasions. He found that actual street fighting was not only tougher than combat sport like wrestling but had too many elements of surprise that made the current self-defense teachings insufficient.
You can read more about the history that led to Krav Maga here, as Sde-Or retired from the IDF in the 1960s after 20 years of service then he adapted Krav Maga techniques for civilian use and opened two martial arts schools in Israel to teach them.
Krav Maga Techniques
Krav Maga is highly based on instinct. Situational awareness is a major part of Krav Maga training for civilians. Becoming more aware of your surroundings and the kind of physical and verbal cues a potential attacker can give off is integral to neutralizing the attacker as quickly as possible and being able to effectively counterattack. Being able to simultaneously attack and defend the body’s most vulnerable points while taking your surroundings into account is also crucial in training.
There are techniques taught for all fitness levels and sizes, such as defensive moves to counter chokeholds if your attacker is much larger than you. A common technique is doing a front kick to the groin since it can’t be conditioned to get stronger. You can also learn how to throw punches without striking with your knuckles in a hammer-like motion to prevent injuring your hands. Krav Maga techniques can provide a high-intensity workout regardless of your age or body type. The beauty of it is that no matter your height or weight, you will learn how to use your body to its fullest potential.
The most tangible benefits of taking Krav Maga classes is that you’re not only learning how to save your life in a precarious situation, but you’ll increase your endurance by conditioning your body to last longer in a tough mock fight with our instructors (which also happens to be fantastic stress relief).
The increased awareness that you will pick up will also contribute to a sharper mind. Developing this kind of mental and physical resolve will translate to giving you the confidence you need to live a full life.
Pure Performance strives to provide a welcoming environment no matter what your fitness level is. We are proud to offer quality self-defense classes taught by seasoned Krav Maga instructors. Talk to us today about our Krav Maga classes and how you can achieve the awareness and confidence you deserve.