The Martial Art of Krav Maga
Originally developed for the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli security forces, Krav Maga is a younger martial art when compared to others. Despite being lesser known than other self-defense systems, it is widely used by civilians, law enforcement and military.
What is Krav Maga?
Israeli martial artist Imre Lichtenfeld developed Krav Maga in the 1950s, translated from Hebrew as “contact combat,” sourcing techniques from boxing, wrestling, Judo, Aikido, and Karate. Lichtenfeld crafted and honed his technique defending himself and his community from anti-Semitic rioters in Slovakia in the 1930s, which explains the system’s focus on real-world situations.
Krav Maga in Action
As with most martial arts, the guiding principle of Krav Maga is to avoid fighting whenever necessary. A major component of the training is learning how to spot potentially dangerous scenarios and either diffuse them or avoid them completely. If a situation is truly unavoidable, Krav Maga teaches one how to use successful striking and take-downs to defend their life and the lives of their loved ones at all costs. Fighters engage aggressively, with the goal being to finish the fight as quickly as possible, all while remaining calm and collected under extreme stress.
There are no uniforms for practitioners of Krav Maga, nor are there traditions or elaborate choreographies. There are, however, the standard belts, going from white belt all the way up to black belt. Students train under intense conditions so that they can learn how to remain calm under pressure.
What Are the Basic Principles of Krav Maga?
As stated above, the discipline teaches to avoid combat at all costs. Even if a fighter must engage, they are encouraged to be on constant lookout for possible escape routes. If that is not possible, there are several principles observed by those who practice Krav Maga. Practitioners want to be as physically aggressive as possible, while understanding the distinction between that and emotional aggression. Without initiating the situation, preemptive striking is encouraged, and fighters should not relent with their striking until the opponent is completely incapacitated. In essence, fighters want to be alert, aggressive, and unrelenting, shutting the situation down as fast as they can.
The discipline focuses on the most vulnerable parts of the body. This includes the eyes, throat, face, groin, ribs, knee feet, fingers, and even the liver. The solar plexus, located in the center of the abdomen, should also be a primary target.
Does Krav Maga Incorporate Weapons?
Fighters who practice Krav Maga do use weapons, but not in the way other disciplines do. Unlike Kendo, which uses the sword, or Nunchaku-do, which uses the nunchaku, Krav Maga teaches to use anything and everything in the surrounding area as a weapon. While students are trained to use traditional weapons when possible, anything with heft can be used as a blunt instrument.
There is a lot more to learn about Krav Maga, so if you are interested in learning it, feel free to give us a call and we can help point you in the right direction so you can find the true experts here in Calgary.