History of Krav Maga

Elite Training Center (South Bay Krav Maga) teaches a continually evolving system of Krav Maga self-defense. Developed under stressful, real-world conditions, the guiding principle of Krav Maga is self-protection while neutralizing the threat at hand.

The Origins

History of Krav Maga - Elite Training CenterTranslated literally as “close combat”, Krav Maga originated in Czechoslovakia in the 1930’s, primarily by Imi Lichtenfeld to protect his people from brutalization in Pre-World War II Europe. He was an expert in boxing and wrestling, trained by his father who taught defensive tactics for the local police. Lichtenfeld grew up in an increasingly tough neighborhood and dealt regularly with thugs, violent gangs and anti-Semites. On these tough streets, Krav Maga was born as Lichtenfeld began to combine different techniques to form an effective, simple approach to self-defense for the Jewish community. This would form the basis of Israeli Krav Maga training.

After the land of Israel was formed, Lichtenfeld immigrated and was commissioned by the Israeli military to refine the system for use by Israeli defense personnel. The Israeli Martial Arts of the 1930’s, the earliest form of Krav Maga, was known as Kapap, which is the Hebrew for face-to-face combat or battle. Kapap combines boxing, Judo, wrestling, knife fighting, stick fighting and gun disarm methods.


The Fundamentals

There are no rules for Krav Maga fighting. Men and women generally undergo the same drills, it has no sporting federation, and there are no official uniforms or attire, although some organizations do recognize progress through training with rank badges, different levels, and belts.

One basic principle of Krav Maga is to redirect the opponent’s own strength to put him at a disadvantage. Every joint in the body is designed to bend a specific way, and by forcing it in the other direction, it snaps. Size has little impact on how effective a fighter is due to the method of continuing an opponent’s momentum to add to the velocity of a strike, force a throw or to create separation. Generally, there are no rules in Krav Maga as a defense fighting technique which is not regulated but utilized to keep the user safe and incapacitate the opponent by any means necessary.

Basic training is a mixed aerobic  and anaerobic workout. Protective pads and other personal protection equipment may be used during initial training. Scenarios are used to train personnel for situations typically encountered in street patrol or combat situations. Training scenarios teach students to ignore distractions. Other training methods to increase realism might include blindfolding or exercising trainees to near exhaustion before dealing with a simulated attack, as well as training outdoors on a variety of surfaces and restrictive situations.

Training also covers situational awareness to develop an understanding of one’s surroundings and potentially threatening circumstances before an attack occurs. It may also cover ways to deal with potentially violent situations, and physical and verbal methods to avoid violence whenever possible.

Krav Maga shares techniques with many martial arts and is generally a combination of Muay Thai kickboxing, Aikido, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu and boxing. This combination is one of the reasons Elite Training Center makes traditional Muay Thai classes, Kali/Silat classes, Mixed Martial Arts Classes, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes and LOTAR CQC classes available to its Krav Maga students.

Today, Krav Maga is refined and expanded as a complete self-defense methodology, including not just hand-to-hand combat, but also self-defense in situations where attackers have weapons such as guns, knives, or sticks. Elite Training Center’s Krav Maga system also includes training in diffusing dangerous situations peacefully, but with knowledge and confidence to control a situation before it escalates.


Our Krav Maga Today

Here at Elite Training Center (South Bay Krav Maga) we teach the hand to hand system of Krav Maga which originated in Israel under the watchful eye of Imi Lichtenfeld as well the off shoot versions of Israeli hand to hand combat such as KAPAP and Hisardut, these systems lead by, Lt. Colonel Chaim Peer, Major Avi Nardia and Dennis Hanover are also aggressive combative systems created in the same explosive environment as Krav Maga.

When brought to the United States by Avi Nardia and Brian Rauchbach of LOTAR International, LLC, the goal was to bring the self-defense and operational close quarter combat techniques of the most elite counter terror unit in Israel, the YAMAM, to the civilian, military and law enforcement populations of the United States it was the merger of these systems that created our operational  and enhanced Krav Maga system

Once the system was introduced to the civilian and law enforcement segments of the United States, the LOTAR/KAPAP and Krav Maga systems were enhanced and modified by adding to it other Close Quarter Combat techniques from other operational units from around the world, such as the SAS, GIGN, and the U.S. Navy Seals.

At Elite Training Center, our teachings are derived from the original Krav Maga/Kapap/Hisardut systems, but are not restricted to those arts. This is because we believe that for an art to be the most effective, it must continue to evolve.

Basic Principles

Krav Maga system all have no rules of engagement. Anything goes when defending yourself and your loved ones. Eye gouges, groin strikes and other counter moves are acceptable, in addition to punches, kicks, knees, elbow strikes, grappling, and softer control techniques such as joint locks. Techniques for breaking out of chokes or grabs are also taught. The techniques are simple and intuitive, taught the same to men and women. And because Krav Maga uses the principles of leverage, it is effective against much larger and stronger opponents. It is not a sport, but a self-defense system, although it takes its techniques from many martial arts. Attackers will not stop when we “tap out” as they will in MMA or other sports.

Focusing on maximum efficiency in real-life conditions, Krav Maga assumes that an attacker intends harm and will not follow any rules themselves, so it is intended for use in potentially lethal situations. The goal is to neutralize the threat and escape from one or more attackers as quickly and as safely as possible. Krav Maga teaches that many normal items, such as a pencil, keys or a bottle, can be used as weapons if you are in a threatening situation. Attacks on the most vulnerable body parts are taught every defense should be have an offense component.

The immediate threats should be dealt with first, and then the attacker is neutralized to eliminate further threats. The assumption of potentially multiple attackers makes Krav Maga defenders attempt to stay standing rather than ground fighting as a preferred option.

The Krav Maga system stresses fighting under worst-case conditions or from disadvantaged positions, such as against multiple opponents, when protecting someone else, with one arm unusable, when threatened with a weapon, when dizzy or against armed opponents.