Krav Maga Brief History

Krav Maga was founded by Imi Lichtenfeld in the early 1950s thanks to his particular physical and technical qualities. Imi was born in Bratislava in1910, son of Samuel – self-defence instructor for the police department- who taught him everything he knew about combat arts. In 1928 he won the Wrestling World Championship for young category, in 1929 was World Champion for adult category and in the same year Boxing National Champion.

In the early 1930s Imi’s qualities were tested in the streets of Bratislava in order to help protect the Jewish community from Nazi militias.

Imi had many enemies among the local authorities and in the early 1940s had to leave his native town and move to Israel, which was then called Palestine. Here Imi founded Hagana- Jewish paramilitary organisation- and fought for Israel Independence.

When the Israel State was formed, the government asked Imi to develop an effective system of self-defence, which later became the Krav Maga System. Imi became Chief Instructor of I.D.F. ( Israel Defence Force) and he served in the Jewish army for 20 years.

In 1964 was created an instructors team, led by Imi, who spread the Krav Maga teaching to every social class. In 1978 born the Israeli Krav Maga Association, of which Imi was the chairman. Imi died in 1998 and Krav Maga is still spreading throughout the world without any racial, sex and social class discrimination.

In Hebrew the name Krav Maga means “ close combat”. The creation of this discipline coincides with the birth of the Israel State. Krav Maga was used for the first time by the Israeli Defence Force as a self-defence method, and this particular origin makes Krav Maga really different from the traditional martial arts. Because of its military origin, it is very important to learn quickly the technique and there is no time for the theory. In the real fight it is not important to follow the theoretical rules but react in a quick and clever way to survive.

This discipline was kept secret until 1963: from this year it is taught also to civilians and it is spread throughout the world. In Italy it has a significant presence since 2000 and nowadays it is taught in many gyms and qualified schools.