History of Krav Maga

Table of Contents

Krav Maga is a self-defense system that originated in Israel and is used by various military, law enforcement, and security personnel throughout the world. This article explores the history of Krav Maga, its origins, and how it evolved into the popular martial art today.


What is Krav Maga?

Developed by Imi Sde-Or–also known as Emrich Lichtenfeld–in the late 1940s, Krav Maga is a self-defense system that uses practical techniques and principles to defend against a variety of threats and attacks. Essentially, Krav Maga teaches students how to protect themselves against any real-life violent situation, rather than focusing on form or tradition.


How did Krav Maga Originate?

Krav Maga is credited to Imi Sde-Or, who was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1910. During his youth, Sde-Or learned various forms of martial arts from his father, a police officer who worked at a hotel that often experienced violent confrontations.

In the 1930s, Sde-Or became a member of the Maccabi, a Jewish defense organization in Czechoslovakia. Later, he became the leader of a group of Jewish fighters in Bratislava who fought against Nazi and fascist groups. Sde-Or’s street fighting experiences gave him insight into the brutality of street fighting.

After Israel became a state in 1948, Sde-Or began to use his extensive knowledge and experience with street fighting to create a new form of self-defense. He named the system Krav Maga, meaning “contact combat” in Hebrew.


How has Krav Maga Evolved Over Time?

As Krav Maga was initially developed for military and law enforcement applications, it was a closed system that was only accessible to select groups. However, in the 1970s, Krav Maga opened up to the civilian population.

From that point forward, Krav Maga would continue to develop and expand. In the 1990s, Krav Maga organizations were established in the United States, which led to greater promotion and exposure of the martial art worldwide.

Today, Krav Maga has evolved into a complete and comprehensive self-defense system. It is used extensively by military personnel and law enforcement agencies worldwide. At the same time, Krav Maga is also popular in the civilian population, with people taking part in Krav Maga training for fitness, self-confidence, and self-defense.


What Techniques Does Krav Maga Teach?

Krav Maga is a hybrid martial art that brings together elements of boxing, wrestling, and judo. Krav Maga is not just about techniques but rather is about training individuals to react effectively to real-life situations.

Krav Maga teaches various techniques such as striking, grappling, ground fighting, throws, and escapes. It also includes training in defensive tactics against various weapons, including knives, firearms, and sticks.

Moreover, Krav Maga also puts a significant emphasis on physical fitness and mental toughness.


What Are The Principles of Krav Maga?

Krav Maga is based on several principles that guide students on how to respond to a potentially violent confrontation. The primary principle of Krav Maga is “the way is in training,” meaning that the more you train, the better prepared you will be to handle any situation.

Other principles include:

– Defend as an initial response: Students are taught to defend themselves as their first response in a situation.
– Avoidance and Escape: Whenever possible, students are taught to avoid and escape from violent confrontations.
– Aggression: Krav Maga teaches to be aggressive, continuously disrupting the attacker’s ability to strike or defend themselves.
– Simplicity: Krav Maga teaches practical and straightforward moves that are easy to remember and execute.


Who Can You Learn Krav Maga?

Krav Maga is open to people of all ages, fitness levels, and backgrounds. Anyone can learn Krav Maga, regardless of their previous martial arts experience.

Individuals who want to become better at self-defense or train for competitions can learn Krav Maga. As Krav Maga emphasizes fitness, anyone looking to get into shape can benefit from the training.



Krav Maga is a powerful self-defense system that has evolved over the years from its origins in Israel to become a popular martial art throughout the world. It is a comprehensive system that uses practical techniques and principles to address real-life situations.

Krav Maga is for everyone, whether they are seeking fitness, self-confidence or self-defense. Its principles focus on simplicity, aggression, avoidance, escape, and training, making it a practical choice for anyone looking to learn self-defense or improve their fitness.

Maxim Tzfenko

Maxim Tzfenko

"I live and breath Martial Arts"

Recent Posts