Led by Imi Lichtenfeld, the system's development began in Israel just prior to 1948. Because Israel was under British rule at that time, Israelis were not permitted to bear arms, yet individuals in this turbulent area needed to defend themselves. After the establishment of the State of Israel, Imi became the chief instructor of face-to-face combat (Kapap), and physical fitness for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) due to his extensive combat and martial arts skills. He taught his method to the IDF forces' most elite units, including the Haganah and the special commando units of the Palmack and Palyam. Upon retiring in 1964 from the IDF, Imi adapted the same system for civilian use. In 1975, Imi, with some of his most dedicated students, created the Association for Krav Maga and Self-Defense.
The system originates in military combat. It was forged on the anvil of some of the most severe combat settings of this century—amidst Nazi terrorism, the combat of World War II, and the very violent, constant military confrontations of the Middle East. It continues to be refined by actual experiences in modern combat and self-defense, but has also been designed to be implemented by civilians and has a ranking system whereby material is separated by belt levels (Yellow through Black).
Krav Maga is currently used on a day-to-day basis by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) including their Special Forces Units, Police and Internal Security Branches.
In the United States, it is used by members of the NYPD, FBI, US Armed Forces and Law Enforcement units around the world. In Utah, the Davis County Sheriff Department's Corrections Division has trained in Krav Maga. It is taught to men, women and children (of all ages and abilities) at community centers, schools, and clubs throughout the world.
In Israel, the style has become an important part of the educational system and is taught to elementary and high school students. Additionally, it is taught at The Wingate Institute, widely considered the most prestigious institution of physical fitness and health-related education in Israel.
Imi Lichtenfeld > Haim Zut > Rhon Mizrachi > Katrina Reynolds
Katrina "Kat" Reynolds began her Krav Maga training in 1995 in New York City. She obtained her instructor certification in a 1998 instructor course that was administered by Haim Zut and certified by the Wingate Institute and Krav Maga International-Kapap. Ms. Reynolds received her black belt (Dan I) in 2001, the first woman ever to receive the honor.
Her black belt (Dan 2) followed in 2008, conferred by Grandmaster Haim Zut and members of the Israel Professional Committee in Israel.
Ms. Reynolds established her own school in Salt Lake City in 2005. She is dedicated to honoring her direct lineage and third generation status by continuing to follow Imi’s Krav Maga principles. Her Krav Maga | Contact Combat SLC school provides the highest level of Israeli Krav Maga authenticity in Utah, and her teaching ensures that the true art of Krav Maga is passed on to future students and generations.
Krav Maga is a style satisfying the individual wanting serious, immediately useful self-defense training as well as the more experienced practitioner seeking to round out prior martial arts knowledge. Bottom line: Krav Maga is a style that proves most effective against any type of assault.
The top priority is to provide a person with the ability to protect himself/herself in violent confrontations.
This system developed originally by Imi Lichtenfeld deals with self-defense and hand to hand combat. Imi was the head instructor in the Israeli Defense Forces' (IDF) unit for physical fitness.
Today it is has been accepted as the Official System used by Israeli Defense and Security Forces and also in Israeli educational systems and many other military forces around the globe. The distinctive hallmarks of this style are simplicity, effectiveness and adaptability.
Imi Lichtenfeld's Principles
- Avoid injury
- Devise drills that take advantage of natural reflexes
- Defend and attack in the minimum time required
- Attack the human body's vulnerable spots
- Use the body's natural weapons as well as ordinary objects that may be close at hand
- No Rules
Krav Maga promotes vigilance and awareness that enhances a person's ability to deal with hostile situations. It also increases physical fitness, strength, self-confidence and the ability to act responsibly in a volatile situation. For many students, Krav Maga becomes a way of life.