The most primitive instinct of man has been survival – whether it was at a time when he was at the mercy of the wild elements, protecting his food (and himself) from other predators or whether it is walking down the dark alleys in New York and keeping your eyes wide open for muggers and other anti-social elements. While most people are fascinated by Bruce Lee’s kung fu techniques and Jackie Chan’s action sequences and wish to be as skillful as them, somewhere deep inside a voice speaks up and says this is not the thing for you.
When handling day to day combat situations, such as carjacking, molestation in the subway, or even a break in into your apartment, you need something more grounded, more real. Do you seriously see yourself flying into the air and turning three somersaults before you land on your opponent with a wild scream and knock him out? Probably not!
This is where Krav Maga can come in handy. Meaning “close combat” in Hebrew, Krav Maga is a practical fighting system that has its roots in Europe of the 30’s. Slovakian born Imi Lichtenfeld is the founder of this martial art and it was developed to keep him safe from street gangs with Anti Semitic inclinations. Upon his immigration to Israel a decade later, he taught this martial art to the nation’s military, which was still at nascent stages.
Today, what helped a young man survive on the streets of Europe has become an essential part of Israeli military’s combat training. In fact, it has spilled out of the country’s borders and become an international phenomenon, with American defense agencies such as FBI and SWAT teams embracing it too.
The basic principle of Krav Maga is to neutralize the attacker as quickly as possible with minimal injury or risk to yourself or those with you. In many ways, Krav Maga is a brutal defense system since it works on the assumption that the attacker should be dealt with no mercy at all. There are no real rules in Krav Maga, simply because street fights rarely ever stick to them. You can use your hands, feet, elbows, knees, forearms, and even your head, if necessary, to deal with the attacker. Krav Maga is direct and, needless to say, very effective.
Beyond its military applications, Krav Maga is also fast catching on among the common man as several high profile gyms have begun offering Krav Maga classes all over the world. This has brought about a fraction between purists who respect and learn Krav Maga for its combat values and mavericks that have turned it into a trendy sport-cum-fitness-cum-self defense routine.
But no matter how you approach this tested and proven martial art – you are bound to gain from it. At the least you will be fitter and stronger and at the most you will be able to take care of yourself and your loved ones in times of trouble.