By Det Trent Koppel
Krav Maga, aka:”contact combat,” is a self-defense system developed for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) that consists of a wide combination of techniques sourced from aikido, judo, boxing and wrestling, along with realistic fight training. It is known for its focus on real-world situations and extremely efficient and brutal counter-attacks. Krav Maga was derived from street-fighting skills developed by Hungarian-Israeli martial artist Imi Lichtenfeld, who made use of his training as a boxer and wrestler as a means of defending the Jewish quarter against fascist groups in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia in the mid-to-late 1930s. In the late 1940s, following his migration to Israel, he began to provide lessons on combat training to what was to become the IDF, subsequently going on to develop the system that became known as Krav Maga. It has since been refined for civilian, police and military use.
Krav Maga has a philosophy emphasizing threat neutralization, simultaneous defensive and offensive maneuvers and aggression. It has been used mainly by the Israel Defense Forces’ special units and reconnaissance brigades and more recently by regular infantry brigades. There are several organizations teaching variations of Krav Maga internationally such as the British SAS and the US Marine Corps.
Now understand that everything you just read can be found on Wikipedia, however, the question then becomes, how helpful would having this “Military like” defense training be to you on a day to day basis? I’ll tell you, it would be extremely helpful! In fact Krav Maga training is now being offered to civilians in all types of work. The ability to protect yourself against an attacker(s) is not something you should over look. You can surprise the would-be attacker with simple and realistic self-defense maneuvers that are easy to learn, and no, you do NOT have to be an expert in karate to learn these skills. Let me ask, do you know what to do if someone becomes hostile and comes at you with a deadly weapon? Unfortunately, assaults can happen in any type of work. Yes, there are some lines of work that would be more vulnerable, however why would you risk the chance of protecting yourself or your loved ones? It’s simply NOT worth it. When speaking with gym owner at The Proving Ground of St. Louis and Krav Maga Force Level 2 Civilian Instructor, Will Mathews says, “There is no better way to protect yourself as a civilian than to learn these modern self-defense maneuvers. So many times we overlook the simplest way to protect ourselves against an attacker. I want everyone to have the chance of surviving any type of assault”. Matthews is currently running classes for businesses, realtors and EMS providers and is a firm believer that not allowing yourself to become a victim is truly your first line of defense! You can read more about Krav Maga or Will Matthews online at: https://www.facebook.com/guardiantrainingsystems.
Trent Koppel is a St. Louis-based detective and adjunct professor at Maryville University