Thank goodness it’s not every day you’ll have to repel a home invasion, or stop a purse thief dead in his tracks. But wouldn’t it be nice to know you could if you had to; and at an absolute minimum risk of harm to yourself?
That’s the promise and the purpose of Krav Maga, a self-defense regimen that is gaining rapid popularity in rural, urban and suburban communities across the country.
Krav Maga has been taught to hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the United States and is the official Israeli self-defense system for their military forces. It offers a hands-on approach to self-defense that emphasizes personal protection by employing offensive and defensive tactics at the same time. Unlike other martial arts disciplines, Krav Maga does not limit itself to threat neutralization, but also includes methods to permanently incapacitate attackers.
Krav Maga’s history proceeds from one the darkest chapters of the 20th century, the anti-Semitic government repression throughout pre-WWII Europe. Krav Maga’s founder, Imrich Lichtenfeld, was a well-known boxing champion and an international gymnast of the time who developed the fighting form out of necessity. He escaped Europe just before World War II, and refined his fledgling self-defense technique in the Middle East for the rest of his life.
Krav Maga has since been adapted for non-military purposes by civilian populations, intelligence organizations and law-enforcement worldwide. It is most widely represented in America today by the Krav Maga Alliance and Krav Maga Worldwide.
The first principle of Krav Maga training is conflict avoidance. When a confrontation becomes inevitable, however, the goal becomes to finish it as quickly as possible, by any means necessary. One of Krav Maga’s chief sources of inspiration is Jiu Jitsu, a discipline developed by the samurai of Japan to defeat better-armed and better-protected opponents.
One of the more unique aspects of Krav Maga is its emphasis on self-defense from positions of disadvantage, for instance if you’ve already been knocked to the ground, or have less than full body mobility. Krav Maga starts with the assumption that in real life, things can go wrong, and prepares its students to prevail when they find themselves in a confrontation under adverse circumstances.
Anyone can learn Krav Maga. No one is too old or too young, nor excluded by fitness level or gender. Krav Maga is a simple-to-learn, efficient self-defense system that focuses on real-life training scenarios, instinctive movements and practical techniques. It incorporates methods from self-defense forms as diverse as boxing, wrestling and grappling, as well as more exotic disciplines such as Judo and Savate.
The reason for its unusually wide range of source techniques is simple: Krav Maga is there to protect you, not entertain you. Although there are tournaments and some schools have belt systems, when your life and fortune are on the line, art and entertainment will not protect you, but having mastered Krav Maga may well.
There are no uniforms required for Krav Maga, unlike many other martial arts disciplines. Different Krav Maga schools have different requirements, but most generally include t-shirts and frown on tank tops. Training pants are recommended for ground work. If your school has a belt program, your belt must be worn to class. Specific kinds of athletic shoes are often required as well. For boxing, gloves and wrist wraps are required. All schools require men wear groin protection to each class.
Your school will have its own rules, or perhaps because it is Krav Maga, its own lack of rules!
According to the New York Times, more kids than ever are switching to Krav Maga from other martial arts disciplines, not only with their parents’ blessing, but often with their parents along with them. With Krav Maga’s emphasis on aggressive self-protection, students are warned more often about using their skills with restraint than they are reminded not to hold back. Under professional supervision and the right Krav Maga instructor, Krav Maga is not just safe for kids, it’s safe for the whole family.
What to look for in Krav Maga instruction:
• A generous instructor-to-student ratio
• A convenient location, making it easier to attend more classes
• A curriculum emphasis on muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance
• Additional focus on real-life applications of skills taught
No one wants to think about ever finding oneself in a fight or flight situation, but every night the news is full of such stories. A working knowledge of Krav Maga will help give you the confidence to make the right decision should real-world circumstances ever require you to.
Krav Maga is an aggressive style of hand-to-hand combat or martial art that was developed by the Israeli military. With its distinct street-fighting style, Krav Maga combines techniques and moves from many other martial arts forms, including Muay Thai, Judo, Boxing, Jiu-jitsu, wrestling, Wing Chun and Savate. All of these methods are combined into a martial art form that is meant to equip the student with an offensive and defensive skill set that can be applied in very real life situations involving attack.
One of the defining characteristics of Krav Maga training is its centering on real-life contexts and the mastering of highly efficient and vicious counter-attacks. The Krav Maga martial arts were developed by a man called Imi Lichtenfeld, who was a Slovakian-Israeli wrestler and boxer. He developed this system of fighting techniques and skills in the 1930’s as a means of enabling the Jewish population to defend themselves against militant factions in Bratislava. This earlier martial art form was developed and diversified in the ensuing decades and is today known as Krav Maga; a very popular form of martial art for fitness and self-defense.
Nowadays, Krav Maga classes have become a popular way for people to get into peak physical condition. Many athletes take it to professional heights and compete nationally and even internationally. However, Krav Maga has and always has had very real police and military applications and is an exceptionally effective and aggressive form of self-defense.
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