Krav Maga; hard to say, easy to get hooked on. Translated to ‘contact-combat’ in Hebrew, it is just that. Developed for the Israel Defence Force, the military style defence system incorporates Boxing, Aikado, Judo, Wrestling and Karate.

What benefits?

Besides the obvious bragging rights, the benefits of Krav Maga speak for themselves. A full body workout in which self defense and safety are the name of the game, not only fending off an opponent but counter-attacking in a way that causes you no harm. I am partial to cycle classes myself, but I can’t see a scenario in which mountain climbing will help in a real-world violence situation.

Learning Krav Maga differs exponentially from other self defense courses as the gruelling training is designed to assume the opponent is bigger, meaner and can even be wielding a weapon. Women are usually told that if they find themselves in a dangerous situation to go for the eyes and groin.

Krav Maga does not let the ladies off so lightly. Instead, women and men undergo the exact same training and are often paired to simulate a real life situation. Krav Maga for women is not only an opportunity to increase confidence physically but allows women to understand just how they would measure up in a life or death scenario.

Where did it come from?

The founding father of Krav Maga was Imre Litchenfield, a Jewish Bratislavian with a keen interest for gymnastics, boxing and wrestling. Created as a response to anit-Semitic violence and riots in the 1930’s, Jews living in Bratislava and Czechoslovakia found themselves forming a group to protect their families and neighbourhoods. Other members of the group were professional boxers and combined created a combat style tailored to the streets which incorporated several techniques.

As hate raged on, Litchenfield and key members fled to Israel where their passion and dedicated training to their craft saw the Israel Defence Force created and Litchenfield as Chief Instructor for Physical Fitness and Krav Maga at the IDF School of Combat Fitness. Any fitness trend or self defence system that responds to hate and used for survival, is one worth honouring or at least trying.

Why so popular?

While you expect to hear Krav Maga only in fighting movies with ninjas, it is gaining rapid global momentum. It’s not hard to see why this Israeli defence system is so widely received, with society’s increased exposure of local and global violence, paired with a surge in health and fitness accountability. Living in a nice neighbourhood in a relaxed country doesn’t mean as much as it once did, and those who do the most harm aren’t searching for an opponent their own size.

We have all noticed an increase in software security, surveillance security and even financial security, so why can’t we invest in ourselves that same concern? Taking charge of your own safety and defence is the ultimate responsibility and one that should be adopted by men and women alike.

Most gyms worth their salt offer a variation of body combat and boxing, which echo the krav maga fitness advantages. This full body workout increases core strength while also engaging the brain in coordination and predicting the movements of one’s opponent. From sparring to wrestling, stretching to pulling, the agile defense system incorporates cardio and endurance for all muscle groups, while controlling breathing and fitness levels.

There are endless advantages of learning krav maga. Regularly engaging in a full body workout which teaches you self defence techniques that will make you feel safer. That moment when the walk from the train to the car doesn’t seem like a lifetime, but instead a casual stroll – this is what the very system was designed for. Safety and strength for all.

Krav Maga Alliance