Self-defence as a fashionable sport: That’s what Krav Maga is
Krav Maga sounds exotic. This sport focuses on a modern form of self-defence and extremely effective close combat. This trendy sport is becoming increasingly popular all over the world and is offered on a large number of fitness courses. In the following sections, we will show that Krav Maga is not only found in the fitness sector and reveal where the martial art’s origins lie.
Who is Krav Maga suitable for?
Krav Maga is a sport that can basically be learned and practised by anyone, regardless of gender, age or physical condition. The aim of this sport is to learn appropriate techniques to be able to defend oneself effectively against violence. But the pure idea of fitness is also in the spotlight nowadays – as with all martial arts, a good level of fitness can be built up relatively quickly.
In group fitness courses in particular, it is interesting to compare oneself directly with fellow participants. Martial arts enthusiasts can now also track their performance. ROOQ sensors, for example, provide them with numbers, data and facts about all their sessions for the first time.
What are the rules of Krav Maga?
Almost all martial arts have competitions so that athletes can measure their strength. To ensure fair duels, there are fixed rules. In Krav Maga, rules play a subordinate role, just as in real conflict situations there are no rules to which the participants adhere. Krav Maga is therefore not based on the idea of competition.
There is only one rule that applies in Krav Maga at all times: Do not injure yourself. As in other sports, great value is placed on respectful interaction with training partners. The aim of Krav Maga is to avoid unnecessary violence, injuries or accidents and still gain control over the opponent as quickly as possible.
What is Krav Maga?
Krav Maga combines techniques from boxing, kickboxing, knife fighting, stick fighting, ground fighting, aikido, karate, judo and jiu-jitsu. Translated from Hebrew, Krav Maga means “contact combat”, a fighting activity that is easy to learn and purposeful.
The aim of this physical sport is to use simple principles and intuitive movements that a fighter can call upon even under great pressure. The two core areas are close combat and the defence against attacks by an opponent. In Krav Maga, attacks can be of various kinds: Strangleholds, punches, kicks, knife or stick attacks or attacking the sensitive parts of the attacker’s body – such as the throat, the eyes or even the genitals.
Krav Maga’s origins
Krav Maga originated in Israel and was originally developed by Imrich “Imi” Lichtenfeld (Imi Sde-Or) for the border troops and special forces. Lichtenfeld, who was born in Budapest in 1910, was successful as a boxer and wrestler. He passed on his knowledge and experience in the field of martial arts: In the 1930s, Lichtenfeld taught his fighting method for the first time to support Jews living in Slovakia against anti-Semitic attacks.
After his time in the British army, he was allowed to enter Palestine in 1942. Upon the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, he joined the Israeli army as a close combat instructor. When he left the army, Lichtenfeld took over the military Krav Maga programme for police officers and civilians.
In the beginning, the sport of Krav Maga was used by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), but later it was refined for the civilian sector. Today, the aim of the so-called IMI system is still to teach self-defence skills to people of all ages and genders.
Where is Krav Maga used?
Krav Maga is practised by rescue services, the police and in the security sector as well as by the military. The sport is purely focused on self-defence and self-protection. There are no competitions, traditions or rituals in Krav Maga. The training also differs from other martial arts, because the focus is on the aspect of self-defence: Efficiency and effectiveness are internalised by the learners in every practice session in order to protect themselves in the best possible way.
One focus of training is fighting under strong physical exertion, which is supposed to simulate an attack under extreme stress. Krav Maga even combines athletic exercises for strengthening and endurance with technical elements to serve as preparation for self-defence techniques.
Today, Krav Maga is also very popular in the private sector as a fitness hobby and is taught worldwide. It is used for self-defence, de-escalation, stress resistance and has added benefits for health and fitness. In the security sector and with the police, the focus of training is on de-escalation, self-protection, operational tactics, personal protection, event protection, and removal and control techniques.