• History of IKMF


         Krav Maga was founded by Imi Lichtenfeld (Sde – Or). Imi was born in Bratislava, Czechloslavakia, to a renowned police officer and circus acrobat, Samuel Lichtenfeld. As a child, Imi excelled in various sports such as swimming, wrestling, boxing, Judo, and practiced various martial arts. As Nazi hatred infected Slovakia, Jews were increasingly victims of near constant violence. To protect the Jewish community from marauding fascists and anti-Semites, Imi organized a group of young Jews to protect his community. On the streets, he quickly learned the vital differences between sport martial arts competition and street fighting. While serving on the front lines to protect his community, Imi began to combine natural movements and reactions with immediate and decisive counterattacks. Here, on the streets, fighting for survival was where a lot of the techniques and philosophy of Krav Maga were developed. When anti-Semite riots began to spread through his home town Imi and his family were forced to immigrate to Israel (Palestine at the time).

    In 1948, Once Israel had declared its independence, the IDF's (Israeli Defense Force) officials leaders recognized Imi's fighting abilities, innovativeness, and his ability to impart this training to others. They approached him and requested him to develop a system of self defense and fighting based upon his experiences. He began training the Palmach (elite fighting units), the Palyam (marine fighting units), and the Hagana, which would merge into the modern-day Zahal or Israeli Defense Force as well as groups of police officers. This training included fighting fitness, obstacle training, bayonet tactics, sentry removal, knife fighting, stave/stick fighting and any other military-oriented problems that required a creative solution. During his 20 years of service as chief instructor of hand-to-hand combat, Imi carefully refined the methods of Krav Maga, Making it the official combative training for all military personnel, Israeli police and security forces. Imi developed a doctrine enabling both fit and out-of-shape soldiers to practice it successfully. Rather than rigid movements and techniques requiring years of training Krav Maga integrated instinctive and simple moves accessible to all.

    In 1964 Imi retired from the IDF and continued teaching Krav Maga to civilians, as well as law enforcement units and military applications. The Krav Maga association was founded by Imi and several of his students in 1978, aiming to promote KM's unique techniques locally and throughout the world. When the teaching of Krav Maga (KM) started to spread beyond the borders of Israel, arose a need to found an international organization. Imi resulted in forming a new international KM federation with the support of his most loyal students and respected instructors, among them today’s IKMF's chairman, Avi Moyal. Since 1996, the IKMF expanded immensely, and is now the largest and most appreciated KM institution across the world.