Learning Krav Maga
You might be forgiven for not being familiar with the term,
Krav Maga, I know I wasn't. However, I did ask my enigmatic
friend whose name I cannot disclose, nor whose profession
can I reveal, saving that he was a member of the most Úlite
special forces in the world. He knew, of course. Krav Maga
is a Hebrew term for Contact Combat, which is particularly
effective as a counter-terrorist measure, thus explaining
my friend's expertise.
Of all the martial art styles, Krav Maga or Musti Yudha is
probably the most institutionalised, having been developed
as a professional system of self-defence and hand-to-hand
combat, initially by and for the Israeli security, special
and armed forces, police and anti-terrorist groups. The father
of Krav Maga was Imi Lichenfield, a martial arts expert whose
extensive background included proficiency in boxing, wrestling,
judo, and jujitsu. He apparently refined street fighting techniques
to defend Israeli athletes in the 1930's and extended it in
the 1940's, for the underground liberation organization's
benefit, whilst the state of Israel was struggling to establish
itself. Later, he became an official instructor as an officer
in the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces), and incorporated its
methods into army training, including the advanced special
force's close-quarter, and lethal combat.
Krav Maga subsequently graduated into the Israeli educational
syllabus, and programs of private institutes, enabling children,
and young adults of both sexes to benefit from its relatively
simple methods. It is a hard, even brutal, force-against-force
style, designed to enable the practitioner to prevail in highly
confrontational scenarios, which explains its adoption by
many international police forces, and even the FBI.
Its beauty is that its simple, and you can learn
Krav Maga in a relatively short time, ranging from a few
days to several months, and it's even feasible for the general
public to take weekend combat courses, or to go on summer
camps, virtually anywhere in the world. Whilst the officially
sanctioned courses benefit from the tuition of the instructors
of the International Krav Maga Federation, it may be learnt
at home, using instructional DVDs, books and/or practice dummies.
Krav Maga relies on perfecting a practitioner's natural, instinctual
reactions involving simple body-motions rather than rigorous,
formal training. It presupposes that the majority of confrontations
will find the subject at a mental disadvantage due to restricted
movement, stress, surprise, darkness, unknown locations, or
being prone. Accordingly, it teaches effective extrication
methods. It also teaches defence against assailants armed
with guns, knives, or wooden implements.
The more advanced level of Krav Maga focuses on hand-to-hand
combat, where speed and efficacy are taught. Here the psychology
of the fight, and the assailant are analysed, and combined
tactics are taken into consideration. Free-form and versatility
are the only rules, the end-game being to successfully overcome
Remembering the proviso advocated by my special forces friend
that once a fight is entered into, there must be no holds
barred, because, as he points out, he who dares, wins.
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