When we talk about self-defense is almost impossible not to mention Krav Maga. A deadly martial arts discipline that focuses on dealing with real-world combat situations, Krav Maga teaches you how to fight against one or more opponents with or without weapons.
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Imi Lichtenfeld created Krav Maga in 1940 to train the Jewish military in Palestine, the Hagana, after Israel was born. Lichtenfeld based Krav Maga on his experience with the chaotic, deadly street fighting that took place in 1930s Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. He eschewed the practices of competitive sports in favor of more aggressive and brutal techniques that he felt were more practical in real-world fights.
The Hagana would go on to become the famed Israeli Defense Forces of today, and today utilize Krav Maga as part of their close-quarters combat training. Modern Krav Maga incorporates elements of judo, aikido, and other martial arts into its techniques and training.
Nowadays, there is a lack of consensus on whether Krav Maga is a Martial Art or not. The truth is that even it uses some martial arts techniques, no competition exists in Krav Maga. This is perhaps for the best – Krav Maga practiced to full effect is designed to inflict maximum damage on opponents and end fights as quickly as possible. This would definitely go against the safety rules that competitive fighting requires. However, Krav Maga fighters use belts in order to know the progress and level of the practitioner.
Over the past few decades, Krav Maga has become popular across the world, particularly in the 90s where it became a trend to study in the USA and Europe. Today over 500 different military and police groups around the world make use of Krav Maga.
The principal aim of Krav Maga is avoiding the fight and after that neutralize the opponent. It is accepted to escape if the situations is difficult to manage. The aim is not to win the fight, but to come out alive. Movements are simple, natural, with little in the way of rigid forms or an equivalent of katas in other martial arts. Focus is placed on disabling one’s opponent as quickly as possible, using fast pre-emptive attacks or counters, and awareness of the weak points of the body. Because Krav Maga’s moves are so dangerous, training at first involves plenty of pulled punches and slowed-down attacks. Sparring partners will wear heavy gear that reduces the effect of impact, but allows for full-speed, full-power training for defenders.
The practitioners train in real situations: seated, with the lights off, with hands and feet restrained, and other scenarios where one might find themselves in. One might also find training against assailants with guns. Part of Krav Maga training also involves situational awareness, including scanning for threats, potential weapons in a room, escape routes, and more.
Some of the techniques used in Krav Maga are seen as unsporting. That explains why some Masters refuse to consider Krav Maga as a Martial Art. Despite that, it is very easy to learn Krav Maga and no previous knowledge is required. Every single person can practice it.
Krav Maga is a unique martial art in that it’s designed solely for combat, with much of the discipline, philosophy, and ideology present in other martial arts stripped away in favor of a deadly, efficient tool that can very well kill. It is also one of the few martial arts that can have the distinction of being continually tested in actual battle. If you’re looking for a martial art that is absolutely practical, and has been genuinely used in combat by military, law enforcement, and other professionals who must be prepared to encounter assailants on a regular basis, then Krav Maga is for you.