Krav Maga – A Developmental History

Lakewood, New Jersey-based entrepreneur Avrahom Joseph divides his time between his professional responsibilities and a variety of leisure activities. An accomplished martial artist, Avrahom Joseph practices Tae Kwon Do, Tai Chi, and Krav Maga.

Developed by Imi Lichtenfeld in the mid-20th century, and used in the Israeli military, Krav Maga is an eclectic fighting style that focuses on aggressively neutralizing threats. It often targets vulnerable areas of the body, such as the throat and groin. In creating it, Lichtenfeld drew on his athletic background in weightlifting, gymnastics, boxing, and wrestling. He also combined techniques used in other fighting disciplines with the skills he acquired during military training to create a system of self-defense that is especially suited for close combat situations.

The Hungarian-born Lichtenfeld emigrated from Slovakia to the new state of Israel near the beginning of the Second World War. He soon joined Haganah, the predecessor of the Israeli Defense Forces, which recruited him to train other soldiers in hand-to-hand combat. In 1963, he retired from the military and began teaching Krav Maga to the general public.

Through Lichtenfeld’s Krav Maga schools in Tel Aviv and Netanya, a new generation was exposed to the fighting style, which became part of the curriculum in Israeli elementary and high schools. Today, Krav Maga is widely practiced by police, special military units, and individuals throughout Israel and other countries around the globe.


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