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“The leg of a baby is stronger than the balls of Muhamed Ali!”
Krav Maga is Hebrew for Contact Combat.
Krav Maga is the official hand to hand/self defense system used by the Israeli Defense Force(IDF) and security apparatus of the State of Israel.
Its founder, Imi Lichtenfeld was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1910. Shortly afterwards, they family relocated to Bratslavia, Slovakia. His father Samuel Lichtenfeld had a great deal of boxing and wrestling experience. Samuel ended up joining the police force where he became a detective as well as the self defense instructor. He also opened up a gym that incorporated boxing,wrestling and judo, where Imi would go to train regularly.
In the 1930s Europe began to fall under the grips of the Nazi movement. Anti-Semitism was spreading rapidly throughout the streets of Europe and Jewish people were constantly targeted, harassed and attacked by Hitlers henchmen. Imi began to organize small groups of Jewish people to form an underground defense organization the patrolled the streets of his community and defended Jews that were being targeted by Nazis and their supporters.
This allowed Imi to gain a great deal of real fighting experience, which allowed him to distinguish between sport and street fighting. He learned to assess precisely what would work in a real life altercation, and what strategies would effectively dominate an attacker and terminate his ability to fight.
Imi was quickly recognized for his vast experience and in 1948, when the state of Israel was founded, and the IDF was established, he was assigned as the Chief Commander of the IDFs hand to hand combat and physical fitness division, at which time the name was changed to Krav Maga and still remains to this day.
Imi would retire from the IDF in 1968 after 20 years of service and founded the Israeli Krav Maga Association with the goal of spreading Krav Maga throughout the world.
Imi passed away in 1998, but his legacy moves forward today as the IKMA is led by Haim Gidon(8th Dan), who was Imis chosen successor and continues to refine the system to confront modern day threats.