What is Krav Maga?

With so many options to choose from in martial arts training, the opportunities are endless. Your martial arts of choice can determine the type of fitness training regimen, self defense tactics, and community that you surround yourself in. With each one having their unique characteristics, today we shine a spotlight on Krav Maga, one of the main martial arts focused on at the Academy of Self Defense.

Krav Maga is derived from Israel where its name can be translated as “contact combat” from the Hebrew language.

First off, what is Krav Maga? Krav Maga is derived from Israel where its name can be translated as “contact combat” from the Hebrew language. Originally developed for the Israel Defense Forces, this hand to hand fighting system was derived from martial artist Imi Lichtenfeld, who combined techniques from boxing, aikido, karate, judo, and wrestling in order to create a both aggressive and effective form of self defense. The goal of Krav Maga and its training is to focus on real-world situations that could occur while incorporating simultaneous defensive and offensive maneuvers for maximum efficiency. With a philosophy that emphasizes aggression and practicality, Krav Maga self defense has spread internationally for both security forces as well as civilian use.

Krav Maga is still heavily emphasized throughout Israel in both security and civilian programs. The Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) special forces units, security forces, and regular infantry units continue to use Krav Maga as their main self defense tactics in regards to hand to hand combat. Military personnel are heavily trained in this regimen in order to defend themselves against all varieties of attacks and quickly counter. Like many forms of martial arts, students are taught to avoid physical confrontation as best as possible. If the situation becomes unsafe or impossible to avoid such confrontation, Krav Maga promotes finishing a fight as quickly as possible by acting as aggressively as possible and aiming at the most vulnerable points of the body for both fast and efficient combat.


Along with military personnel training, Krav Maga has spread among Israel for civilians to learn how to defend themselves in dangerous situations. While the philosophy and overall technique remain the same as the Israeli government, methods of teaching will differ. For example, civilian Krav Maga training in Israel uses a grading system developed by Imi Lichtenfeld. Inspired from the judo ranking system, Krav Maga uses a colored belt and IKMF patch grading system. Within each of the 7 belt colors ranging from white to black, students can receive a patch that ranges from P1 to P5 which will explain the student’s skill level within each belt. Once students have obtained a black belt, they can continue to increase their ranks from 1st to 9th Dan.

With such an engaging history and philosophy implemented throughout Israel, the Academy of Self Defense wanted to educate this form of martial arts in a way that would be relevant to Americans with the help of our Vanguard Krav Maga program. Vanguard Krav Maga looks to bring the semblance of essential Isreali Krav Maga methods and teachings to self defense organizations throughout the country by providing a simple and effective system for self defense school owners to bring back to their businesses. By combining the original techniques developed by Imi Lichtenfeld and modern situations in the US, school owners can return to their students with a level of mastery as well as the ability to instruct, demonstrate and the ability to launch their own successful krav maga program. Similar to Israeli civilian training, Vanguard Krav Maga uses a form of the colored belt grading system to allow students to successfully work their way up the rankings in order to develop proper technique that can later be applied to live sparring and attacking in later belt levels.

As Krav Maga’s techniques spread worldwide, there is no doubt that this form of martial arts provides extensive benefits in both fitness training and self defense. With a focus on real-world scenarios, the Academy of Self Defense is able to bring this effective fighting mechanism to the US with authentic training programs and boot camps that will not only get you into peak physical shape, but teach you how to defend yourself and escape safely.

Woman kneeing attacker in the groin

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