Explanation and Principles
Krav Maga is a simple, aggressive and easy-to-learn system of self defense. It is the main self-defense system taught at the Fighting Fit since 2001. Training focuses on principles rather than techniques because no two attacks are ever the same. Among the principles that make up the Krav Maga system are:
- Techniques should be movements based on natural instincts;
- Techniques must address the immediate danger;
- Techniques must defend and counterattack simultaneously;
- One defense must work against a variety of attacks;
- The system should be integrated so that movements learned in one area of the system complement, rather than contradict, movements in another area;
- Techniques must be useable by the average person, not just athletes;
- Techniques must work from a disadvantageous position;
- Training must include the stress experienced in real attacks.1
Krav Maga is always fluid in that new and alternative techniques are constantly being developed and integrated under these core principles.
History of Krav Maga
Krav Maga was developed by Imi Lichtenfeld for the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) during his career as chief instructor of hand-to-hand combat for the IDF. Beginning with these special forces units, Krav Maga became the official combatives training for all military personnel, Israeli police and security forces. Faced with the task of preparing both fit and out-of-shape soldiers, Imi developed a comprehensive system that relied on simple, instinctive moves rather than rigid techniques requiring years of training.
In 1964, Imi retired from the IDF and began teaching Krav Maga to civilians, law enforcement, and military applications. In 1978, Imi and several of his students created the Krav Maga Association, which was aimed at promoting the teaching of Krav Maga in Israel and throughout the world.
Eyal Yanilov studied Krav Maga under the personal tutelage of Imi and has served as the Grand Master’s closest assistant and foremost disciple since the early 1980s. Active in this field since 1973, he is now its most senior instructor. Mr. Yanilov is the only individual who carries the highest grade ever given by Imi. Since directing the first self-defense instructors course for U.S. citizens in 1981, Eyal has been teaching a large number of Krav Maga and self-defense instructors courses in many countries around the world, under the auspices of the Israeli Ministry of Education and the International Krav Maga Federation (IKMF).
In 1981, the Krav Maga Association of Israel and the Israeli Ministry of Education held the first International Instructor’s Course at Wingate Institute for Physical Education. A delegation of 23 members from various cities in the U.S. attended the course, which was supervised by Imi himself. Californian Darren Levine was selected to be part of the delegation because of his martial arts and boxing background, as well as his involvement in the physical education program at the Heschel Day School near L.A. During the course, Imi befriended Levine and told him that he would come to the U.S. to teach and train him.
Levine went on to offer Krav Maga classes at the Heschel Day School. At Imi’s request, Levine and one of his students, Joel Bernstein, along with other prominent members of the Jewish community in L.A., formed the Krav Maga Association of America, Inc. In 1987, Levine and his top students began teaching Krav Maga to law enforcement in the U.S. under Imi’s guidance, adapting Krav Maga to suit the needs of U.S. law enforcement and military personnel.
Shortly after Levine received his sixth degree black belt in Krav Maga, Imi awarded him a Founder’s Diploma for Special Excellence in Krav Maga. He was only the second person to ever receive the honor bestowed upon those who Imi wanted to be the leadeers of Krav Maga (Yanilov was the other).
In 2008, John Whitman, former president of Krav Maga Worldwide and a fourth degree blackbelt, founded Krav Maga Alliance in Culver City, CA. John was taught by Darren Levine and had led Krav Maga Worldwide’s Instructor Training Program for seven years before leaving to start KMA.
Levels of Krav Maga
Krav Maga has six levels/belts. We don’t wear actual belts, and students of certain levels are often referred to as either “Level 3″ or “green belt” interchangeably. The curriculum for each level/belt is as follows:
|1||Yellow||Basic combatives (punches/kicks/inside and outside defenses), choke defenses;|
|2||Orange||Intermediate combatives, bearhugs, intro to ground fighting, basic fighting skills;|
|3||Green||Intermediate combatives, intermediate groundfighting, intermediate fighting skills;|
|4||Blue||Advanced combatives, gun defenses, stick defenses, advanced fighting skills, advanced groundfighting;|
|5||Brown||Advanced combatives, knife defenses, long gun (rifle) defenses, advanced groundfighting;|
|6||Black||Advanced all of the above, as well as additional material such as third-party protection, hostage scenarios and multiple attackers.2|
1 Levine, Darrin & Whitman, John, Complete Krav Maga, pp. 2-3
2 Levine & Whitman, Complete Krav Maga, p. 15