Introducing the Art of Krav Maga: Tips for Beginners
If you’re looking for a new fitness program, a useful self-defense system, or a challenging martial art, Krav Maga may be the solution. For those wondering about Krav Maga and its efficacy in the real world or what to expect from their first class, check out this brief overview of the popular Israeli self-defense system.
What is Krav Maga?
Krav Maga is an Israeli self-defense system that focuses on real world combat. Akin to many types of street fighting, Krav Maga employs punches, kicks, elbow and knee strikes, and throws to subdue an opponent, allowing the victim to escape.
The fighting style is effective for fighting one opponent or multiple attackers, while protecting yourself and those around you from harm. In addition to learning hand-to-hand combat, Krav Maga also teaches you how to defend yourself from knives, guns, and other weapons.
History of Krav Maga
Krav Maga originates in pre-World War II Czechoslovakia, with a young man by the name of Imi Lichtenfeld. Imi was a nationally renowned gymnast, boxer, and fighter, so, when fellow citizens began attacking Imi’s community, he felt bound to protect his neighbors.
Organizing the young men in his area to patrol against attackers, Imi quickly realized that fighting for sport and fighting for your life are not the same thing. He immediately started synthesizing his martial arts knowledge to create a form of practical self-defense.
Near the end of World War II, Imi immigrated to Israel and joined Haganah, a paramilitary operation. As he rose through the ranks, he was eventually put in charge of training the fighting forces in Krav Maga. When Israel gained its independance, Haganah became the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces), where Imi was Chief Instructor of Physical Fitness at the IDF School of Combat Fitness.
After 20 years in the IDF, Imi retired and founded the Krav Maga Association, where he continued to evolve his style of fighting and instruct it to students around the world.
Real World Use
Krav Maga is useful in realistic situations, as it is based on three principles: neutralize the threat, keep your attack simple, and use attack and defense simultaneously.
Aiming to dominate and subdue a threat allows Krav Maga to expand its techniques to include anything useful during a fight. Krav Maga is not bound by certain forms or stylistic restrictions; instead, it encourages a fighter to perform every move as efficiently and quickly as possible.
To aid in this endeavor, Krav Maga doesn’t have any forms or patterns. Strikes, holds, and blocks can be used in any combination and from any position to end a fight swiftly.
Other martial arts are based on waves of attack and defense, impeding a fighter and slowing a fight. To preclude reactive fighting, Krav Maga attempts to disrupt an attack and perform an offensive move at the same time.
What to Expect From Class One
Many Krav Maga studios are ideal for all ages and technique levels, as Krav Maga tries to teach the average individual about effective fighting. In beginners classes, you’ll learn and practice the basic moves of self-defense, and participate in cardio and strength training. Wearing comfortable workout clothing and bringing plenty of water is essential to survive this energetic class. Visit a Krav Maga school near you to learn more about classes, instructors, and certifications.
Carl Turner is a personal trainer and freelance lifestyle writer from Los Angeles, California. With over 10 years of experience, he has trained many clients and has helped them to reach their personal fitness goals. During his free time, he enjoys kayaking, hiking, and reading.