WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF KRAV MAGA?
Krav Maga, which is Hebrew for “contact combat”, is a self defense method originally designed for the Israel Defense Forces and is now developed for civilian self defense. It is not meant for competitions or as a sport; it is simple, natural and effective self defense.
Imi Lichtenfeld was a Hungarian-born Israeli martial artist who founded the Krav Maga self-defense system. He was also known as ImiSde-Or, the Hebrew calque of his surname. Born on May 26, 1910, to a Hungarian Jewish family. He grew up in Bratislava, Slovakia. Lichtenfeld trained at the Hercules Gymnasium, which was owned by his father, who taught self-defense. Lichtenfeld was a successful boxer, wrestler, and gymnast since his youth. As anti-semitism rose, he started fighting and found sport isn’t good for real combat and starting developing a system of techniques. In 1942 he headed for Palestine and in 1944 began training fighters. In 1948, Imi became the Chief Instructor for Physcial Fitness and Krav Maga at the IDF School of Combat Fitness.
Eli Avikzar began training with Imi Lichtenfeld (Sde-Or) in November 1964 at his institute in Netanya, and became his principal student. In 1965 Imi added Judo training, as part of the Krav Maga training, and later Karate and Jujitsu. Eli would then return regularly to Imi's training classes and together they improved and developed counter exercises to Judo, Karate and Jujitsu. In 1968 Eli Avikzar began learning Aikido. Eli left for France in 1971, passed the test and received a brown belt in Aikido. Prior to his journey, Eli received his Black belt in Judo, in addition to the first Black belt ever given in Krav Maga, which he received from Imi on May 1, 1971. Upon his return, Eli started working as an instructor alongside Imi in both Netanya and Tel-Aviv training centers. In addition, they trained special army and volunteer units.
In 1980 Guy Dar began training Krav Maga with the Israeli Krav Magen Schools of Martial Arts. He was one the highest-ranking students of the late master, Mr. Eli Avikzar (Bless His Memory). Mr. Dar trained Cincinnati Krav Maga instructors from 2007 – 2018.
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WHAT MAKES KRAV MAGA SO DIFFERENT?
We’ve been training Krav Maga since birth, but we just never realized it! The main principle of this system of self defense is to use our natural reactions to protect ourselves.
Think about sitting at a park and out of the corner of your eye you see something (most likely a ball or Frisbee) headed right at your head and it’s about to hit you. Even a small child knows to put their hands up to protect their head. This is Krav Maga!
You have a natural reaction to attacks, some good reactions and some not so good. We take the good reactions and train them so your brain knows they are good. And we ignore the bad reactions and give you better options to replace them with. However, the only wrong reaction is no reaction. Most training programs say there is a right way to do things and a wrong way. Cincinnati Krav Maga thinks there are good ways to protect yourself and there are better ways. Doing anything for protection is good, but we have other options to protect yourself better!
Krav Maga is about you learning different ways to protect yourself and how to attack back. It is about preparing yourself for the sad reality of being attacked. We do a strong fitness workout to begin class, not just for fitness (although that is a plus), but to get your body and mind in a similar state of being attacked. This way you are training self defense in a similar mindset.