Martial Arts - What is Krav Maga
With origins in the Jewish enclaves of Bratislava in the 1930's, Krav Maga is now one of the deadliest and most effective close combat techniques known.
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What is Krav Maga
By Donovan Baldwin
Unlike many other, and often, better known, martial arts, Krav Maga does not really have any sort of competitive events. It is all business.
It is hard to say exactly when this particular form of "contact combat", a loose interpretation of its name, actually came into existence. Its origin was in street-fighting skills developed by Hungarian-Israeli martial artist Imi Lichtenfeld. The founder of Krav Maga made use of his training as a boxer and wrestler while in Bratislava in the 1930's helping defend the Jewish quarter against fascist groups. After World War II, following his immigration to Israel in the 1940's, he began to provide lessons on combat training to members of what eventually became the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). From these early beginnings, he went on to develop the system that became known as Krav Maga.
Over the ensuing years, it has since been refined for civilian, police and military applications.
"Refined" might be a misleading word, as Krav Maga is anything but refined in practice.
In fact, there are many who belive that it is the ultimate hand-to-hand combat practice. This is not surprising since it is intended to be used practically in life-and-death situations in the real world, not on the mats of a dojo.
If it is "refined" in any use of the term, it is in that the finest aspects of physical mayhem have been kept and less useful, or less effective ways of disabling an opponent, perhaps forever, have been discarded. The complete intent in Krav Maga is simply survival by exercising total mastery of your foe.
Continuing to be used by the Israeli Defense Forces, and Israeli Special Ops groups, variations have been developed and adopted by law enforcement and intelligence organizations, Mossad and Shin Bet. Krav Maga training is valued among many other police and defense forces around the world.
Unlike some better known martial arts systems of Asian origin, Krav Maga is characterized by four specific goals, one of which is quite simply "agression". The expert in this self-defence method does not wait to use the opponent's weight or movement or intentions against him. A Krav Maga practitioner goes on the attack. In other words, one of the key principles of Krav Maga is to effectively take out the attacker as quickly and as effectively as possible...usually with disastrous results for the recipient of the activity.
Aggression is a tool, a technique used in coordination with the other characteristics of Krav Maga: threat neutralization, and simultaneous defensive and offensive maneuvers. While defence is a major part of the training, the practitioner's ultimate training is centered on how to beat the enemy, and beat him drastically, in as short a period of time as possible.
To this end, Krav Maga practitioners use attacks to the most vulnerable areas of the body. These attacks are delivered in a deliberately varied manner, and without respite, to keep the enemy confused, frightened and in retreat.
One aspect of this real-world martial art, if it can be called "art", is an aspect which makes it somewhat different from more mainstream self-defence and martial arts practices. Since Krav Maga is expected to be used in dangerous, even life-threatening situations, one of the most important things to be learned is to be aware of one's surroundings and to be prepared not only for a counter-attack from one's opponent, but for an attack from another direction as well.
During Krav Maga training, students learn strikes, delivered with every part of the body, take downs, grappling, and other attack activities as well as how to defend against those same attacks. Practice often involves defending against attacks from multiple attackers.
A practitioner of Krav Maga must also engage in regular and strenuous physical training to be able to not only keep up with the demands of Krav Maga, but to be able to attack...constantly and consistently and at the highest speed possible.
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