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Krav Maga : The Origins


The roots of Krav Maga can be traced back to one man, Imi Lichtenfeld. Born in Budapest in 1910, Lichtenfeld grew up in Bratislava, Slovakia where his father was a police officer and self-defense instructor.  Training at his father’s gym, Imi developed into a talented boxer, wrestler, and gymnast. As a young man, Imi fought and competed on the national and international levels.In the late 1930’s Imi used his experience in boxing, wrestling, and gymnastics to help defend Jewish neighborhoods from anti-semitic riots, which were flaring up in Bratislava. These riots were often led by members of the socialist party and anti-semitic thugs, and Lichtenfeld had to adapt his competition based knowledge of fighting into a real world self defense system.  In 1940 Imi fled the Nazi occupation of his homeland and made his way to Palestine. There Imi joined the Haganah, a paramilitary group within the Jewish community dedicated to fighting for the independent state of Israel.  Lichtenfeld began to play a very strong role within the Israeli military system, and was asked to develop their self-defense system.

Thus Krav Maga was born. Lichtenfeld built up a strong group of followers, including special unit leaders, professionals in the armed forces, and police officers.  Using his knowledge of street fighting and legitimate competition tactics, Lichtenfeld was able to develop the revolutionary self defense system of Krav Maga.

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