Fitness Friday: Krav Maga – The Street Fighter Workout

Krav Maga – The Street Fighter Workout

All the Basics: 

Krav Maga is a self-defense system developed for the military in Israel that consists of a wide combination of techniques from aikido, boxing, judo and wrestling along with realistic fight training. It is known for its focus on real-world situations and is considered to be extremely efficient training against brutal attacks. 

Krav Maga's philosophy is meant to prepare the practitioner for threat neutralization, simultaneous defensive and offensive maneuvers, and aggression. It is a vigorous workout that also teaches the practitioner how to use weapons to fight. 

Fitness Principles: 

Krav Maga is an aerobic exercise that increases cardiovascular strength, burns calories and builds strength. 

Its sessions begin with a warm-up and end with a cool-down period, with plenty of training and aerobic exercise in between.

Krav Maga includes kicks, punches, and other vigorous aerobic moves that also tone muscle. It's a great way to build strength in almost every muscle group and even lose weight. 

Ideas in Krav Maga include:

  • Counter attacking as soon as possible (or attacking preemptively).
  • Targeting attacks to the body's most vulnerable points, such as: the eyes, neck or throat, face, solar plexus, groin, ribs, knee, foot, fingers, etc.
  • Maximum effectiveness and efficiency in order to neutralize the opponent as quickly as possible.
  • Maintaining awareness of surroundings while dealing with the threat in order to look for escape routes, further attackers, objects that could be used to defend or help attack, and so on (Wikipedia). 

Origin + History: 

Krav Maga was founded by Imre Lichtenfeld (Imi Sde-Or) who was trained in a wide range of sports, including gymnastics, wrestling and boxing. A trained boxer, he became the leader of a group of Jewish boxers and wrestlers who took to the streets to defend Jewish neighborhoods in the mid-1930s in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. 

Lichtenfeld quickly discovered that actual fighting was very different from competition fighting, and although boxing and wrestling were good sports, they were not always practical for the aggressive and brutal nature of street combat, which inspired him to start creating Krav Maga. He later escaped Europe and moved to what would later be Israel where he began training Israel's pre-state Haganah paramilitary and police officers.

After Israel became a state, he became the Chief Instructor for Physical Fitness and Krav Maga at the IDF School of Combat Fitness. His successor, Eli Avikzar, later evolved Krav Maga into what it is today. 

Where You Can Find It: 

Krav Maga can be found at a variety of studios and gyms worldwide. To find a studio near you, click here

What Makes It Unique: 

Rather than focusing on fitness or competitions, Krav Maga is centered on real-world self-defense, aimed at protecting the practitioner if she is attacked.

Photo Cred: Paul Brocklehurst

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