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What is Krav Maga?


Krav Maga, meaning in Hebrew “contact fight”, is the official system of self defence of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), the Israeli National Police and Imi Gun Disarmother security services. Krav Maga is also taught in public schools and educational centres affiliated with the Israeli Ministry of Education.

Krav Maga was first developed in the 1940’s by Imi Sde-Or (Lictenfeld) during his career in the military as Chief Instructor of hand-to-hand combat with the IDF. During this service, Imi wrote the army’s official self defence and hand-to-hand combat manual. In 1964 he left the military, though he continued to supervise the instruction of Krav Maga to both military and law-enforcement agencies as well as to adapt Krav Maga to civilian needs.

In the early phase of its development, Imi was faced with the need to quickly train Israeli soldiers from a wide variety of backgrounds, from physically fit high school graduates to out-of-shape reserve soldiers in their forties. Thus he developed a system that relied on simple instinctive movements rather than complicated techniques requiring years of training. As a result, Krav Maga can be used effectively by both men and women of differing physical capabilities.

With the passing of Imi in 1998, Eyal Yanilov is now the Chief Instructor (Master Level 3/Expert Level 8) of Krav Maga Global (KMG) based in Netanya, Israel. Krav Maga already has a strong base in the US and Europe and Eyal is now overseeing the establishment of the system in Australia.

What does the Krav Maga system cover?

Krav Maga contains the core elements of all major martial art systems from standing striking techniques to locks and throws, ground fighting, stick and knife fighting. It is especially strong in the higher risk, life-threatening scenarios where there may be one or more assailants who may be armed with a weapon, such as a club, knife, gun, automatic weapon or even a hand grenade. This reflects its origins as a system designed to meet the present day security threats.

Krav Maga is also characterised by having students apply the principles and techniques of the system in a variety of environmental situations such as dark surroundings, in sitting or lying positions, or in adverse circumstances where their ability to move is severely impeded such as hallways, small rooms and cars.

What is the Structure of the Krav Maga System?

The ranking system of Krav Maga is divided into 4 sections:

  • Practitioner Levels (1-5)
  • Graduate Levels (1-5)
  • Expert Levels (1-5)
  • Master Levels (1-3)

Expert Level 1 is the rough equivalent of a ‘black belt’ and is the first level of ranking of a full Krav Maga instructor. The testing and granting of ranking in the system is controlled by a strict set of regulations that apply to all practitioners across the world and overseen by Eyal Yanilov.

Eyal Yanilov – Chief Instructor of KMG

Eyal Yanilov (born in 1959) studied Krav Maga under the personal tutelage of its founder, Imi Side-Or (Lichtenfeld), and has served as the Grand master’s Eyal Knife Defenceclosest assistant and foremost disciple since the early 1980s. Active in this field since 1973, he is now its most senior instructor. Mr. Yanilov is the only individual who carries the highest grade ever given by Imi (Master level 3/Expert level 8) and holds the unique “Founder’s Diploma of Excellence”. This diploma was given only to two persons, the other – one of Eyal’s top students, Mr. Darren Levine, Expert level 6, of the United States). He is currently serving as Chairman and Chief Instructor of KMG. In this capacity, he is in charge of the development, definition, and dissemination of the system.

Eyal is a graduate of the School for Trainers and Instructors at the Wingate Institute for Sport and Physical Education, and also holds a degree in Electrical Engineering. He has spent years training fighters of elite units and members of special anti terrorist squads, while teaching at colleges for physical education instructors.

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