Krav Maga History

Early Beginnings

The Krav Maga system of self defence was originally developed by Imi Sde-Or in Israel. During the 1930s, Slovakia based Imi was an award winning athlete, wrestler and boxer. His motivation to take his fighting skills to the street came from a desire to protect Jewish neighbourhoods that were coming under increased threat from fascist and anti-semitic groups.

Military Origins

Imi migrated to Palestine and joined the military in the 1940s. Using his hard-won experience and skills as a fighter, Imi was able to instruct troops in the practical lessons of hand-to-hand combat that he had developed.

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In 1948, the State of Israel was founded and Imi became the Defence Force’s first Chief Instructor for Physical Fitness and Krav Maga. He served his country in uniform for 20 years, during which he further refined and developed his self defence and combat system.

Going Global

After retiring from the army, Imi had a vision to adapt Krav Maga to meet the self defence needs of civilians. Starting with just two training centres in Israel, within a decade Imi and his close assistant Eyal Yanilov had established Krav Maga schools around the world.No matter how, where and who he taught, Imi always took great care to promote his universal principles. These included respect for one’s fellow man, avoidance of undue or unjust use of force, modesty, peaceful conduct and strict adherence to fair play.

Until his last days, Imi continued to develop Krav Maga techniques, concepts and instructional methods with the devoted assistance of his closest supporter Eyal, who remains the head of Krav Maga Global today.

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