A Crash Course on One Very Tough Martial Art: Krav Maga!

Krav Maga is considered one of the fiercest martial arts. It was founded in the early 1930’s, unlike its Asian predecessors, which extend back hundreds of years. Yet Krav Maga is considered so effective that the Israeli Defense Forces adopted it as the official martial art and it is heralded internationally.

How did this Israeli martial art earn such a reputation and where did it come from?

The Krav Maga Family Tree

American boxing, Aikido, Judo, Wing Chun, and Jujutsu all influenced the creation of Krav Maga. Krav Maga focuses on several main principles that are echoes of these martial arts:

1. Maximum effectiveness and efficiency: this echoes the maxims of Kano Jigoro-Sensei, the founder of Judo. 

2. Maintain awareness of surroundings.

3. Target vulnerable spots on the body.

4. Use of improvisation when it comes to using everyday objects as weapons.

5. Use of moves that are simultaneously defensive and offensive: this is derived primarily from Wing Chun.


The martial art would not be what it is if it weren’t for its founder, Imi Lichtenfeld.

Imi Lichtenfeld

Imi Lichtenfeld was born in 1910. His father was a chief detective, who had once performed in a circus. Lichtenfeld was an accomplished athlete, winning numerous championships in boxing, wrestling, and gymnastics.

In the early 1930’s, facist and anti-Semitic groups rose to power, threatening the Jewish Lichtenfeld and his peers. In response, Lichtenfeld organized a group of men to patrol the neighborhoods and protect people from attackers.

He found that the sports-oriented martial arts he was aware of weren't designed specifically for street fights. So, he used the simplest moves from martial arts that had advantages in offense and defense.

The Jujutsu and Krav Maga Ann Arbor Connection

There are no internationally renowned Krav Maga dojos in the Ann Arbor area. However, consider where krav maga came from and check out these pictures:

Notice that Jujutsu moves were developed around disarming an opponent, something that is often emphasized in Krav Maga. At the Japanese Martial Arts Center, we focus on using and fending against different weapons, such as long sticks, short sticks, and guns. The Jujutsu is very similar to the Krav Maga motto: “Don’t get hurt, be humble, and conduct yourself properly – reach proficiency so that you don’t have to take lives.”

Questions We Get Asked by Martial Arts Beginners

Will I have to fight?

No! Many of our students are grown ups who practice martial arts for health and long term self-improvement. We challenge you according to your ability and fitness level. You don’t have to spar unless: (a) you feel ready; and (b) we think you're ready.

Do I have to get in shape before I start?

No! Part of our process is figuring out your fitness level and making sure we help you learn while gradually improving your fitness.

Will I get locked into a long contract when I start?

No! If you want to get started after your intro lessons, we’ll ask you to sign a membership. The membership is one year, but you can opt out within first 60 days. That 60-day period gives you time to make sure training at JMAC works for you. It also gives us a chance to assess your skills and let you know if our program is going to provide what you’re looking for.

The First Step for Martial Arts Beginners

If you're interested in martial arts, we'd love to have you come watch a class. Call us at (734) 645-6441 to arrange a time to visit or to talk more about which martial art you might like to try!

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