Developed in Israel for the military, Krav Maga (“contact combat” or “close quarter combat”) self-defense is a non-competitive martial art that uses techniques from boxing, savate, karate, Muay Thai, Wing Chun, judo, jujutsu, and wrestling. The Israelis mastered these fighting techniques and created what experts consider the most effective system of self protection, and one that works in real-life situations.
Hi, my name is Catalin “Nick” Neagu. I am an authorized Krav Maga instructor in Las Vegas (the only authorized instructor in the State
of Nevada) with Israeli Krav International (IKI), an organization that promotes self-defense tactics used by Israeli Defense Forces. There are many styles of Krav Maga taught by different organizations, but I choose to teach with IKI specifically because it best fits with my specific self-defense requirements. Krav Maga works!
The most important thing our students learn is to avoid confrontation. If this is not possible or is unsafe, students are taught to counter in the quickest and most efficient way in order to finish a fight as quickly as possible. Krav Maga drills provide maximum safety for students through the use of mandatory protective equipment and the use of reasonable force.
Students learn to anticipate an attack by maintaining full awareness of their surroundings at all times. In a threat situation, they learn to look for other attackers, escape routes, or objects that could be used to defend against an attack. If it is necessary to counter attack, students learn to target the body’s most vulnerable points (eyes, neck or throat, face, solar plexus, groin, ribs, knees, feet, fingers, etc.) and neutralize the opponent as quickly as possible.
Situational awareness training helps students develop an understanding of their surroundings. They learn to understand the psychology of a street confrontation and to identify potential threats before an attack occurs. Training provides both physical and verbal methods to deal with or avoid violence whenever possible.
If you browse this site, you will see that karate is also important to the physical conditioning and mental discipline that make up my fitness routine. If you are interested in learning more about karate or Krav Maga, please take a look at our schedule and join us for a free trial class.
Israeli Krav International (IKI) was founded and is led by 5 DAN expert Mr. Moshe Katz, who endorses many strategies used by the Israeli Border Police Patrol. He teaches these tactics in his regular seminars in Israel, Europe, North and South America. I am a certified coach and a tactical instructor representing this organization in the State of Nevada, and I feel very privileged to be able to train with Mr. Moshe Katz and have him as my direct instructor.
Mr. Moshe Katz is an expert on martial arts. He trained for more than 18 years, and was certified as a 5th degree Black Belt in Krav Maga by Israeli Defense System (IDF) Captain Itay Gil. Mr. Katz achieved the highest rank ever awarded by Mr. Itay Gil, who served in Israel’s Special Forces Paratroops Brigade and was selected to be the Chief Instructor for Israel’s elite counter-terror and hostage rescue commando unit, “YAMAM” (Special Central Unit) of the Israeli Police Border. As an active member and instructor of “The Unit,” Mr. Itay Gil updated his military Krav Maga skills to fit the needs of his YAMAM members, teaching them to combat terrorism and defend on the streets against armed and unarmed attackers.
For those who are not familiar with the Israeli Special Central Unit, YAMAM is considered the best in the world when it comes to counter terrorist tactics and execution. The “Unit” was established in 1974 after the terrible massacre in the Israeli town of Ma’a lot, when it was determined that a special unit was needed to handle hostage situations within urban areas.
Mr. Moshe Katz teaches updated Krav Maga self-defense techniques based on the reality of life in Israel today. Krav Maga self-defense, is an evolving process, like everything else in life. On occasion, Mr. Moshe has pointed out that today “very few people practice medicine like the doctors of Louis the 14th, or use phones like the original ones developed by Alexander Graham Bell.” We evolved and our needs changed. We moved beyond wires and cables into wireless and digital technology.
Several people involved in Asian martial arts consider the idea of lineage to be very important, and many Krav Maga associations and federations try to imitate them by claiming to follow the original teachings of Mr. Imi Lichtenfeld, whom they credit as the founder of Krav Maga. Mr. Lichtenfeld was a very capable man who used his boxing and wrestling skills to teach young Jews to protect against increased anti-Semitism and the Nazi gangs who frequently attacked them on the streets of Bratislava in the late 1930s. Mr. Lichtenfeld did indeed make a big contribution to the development of many fighting strategies adopted by the Israeli Defense Force. But with all due respect, he is not the founder of Krav Maga. He is just one of many who contributed to the development of the Israeli Defense System (IDF).
For those who know something about Jewish history, Krav Maga has no single “founder” and no official beginning. It is the product of the needs of the times and the efforts of many fighters and instructors over the years, each adding and modifying based on their skills and experience. If you would like to read more about Jewish history and Israel as a nation of warriors, I recommend Moshe Katz’s book “Israel, A Nation of Warriors” (order on Amazon.com).
The Krav Maga system has been applied in three distinctive categories: civilian, police, and military. Due to its effectiveness, this system was adapted to and utilized by the Norwegian Military and the Swedish Army, and is part of the Commando Course for Close Combat Training (CCT) of the German Army.
Captain Itay Gil is an example of the evolving process of Krav Maga. Captain Gil served in the Israeli Defense Forces paratrooper brigade, and part of his training was basic Krav Maga. Indeed, he might have the “original” Krav Maga training of every Israeli military recruit.
After his military duty, Mr. Itay Gil was selected as an active member of the YAMAM and chief close-quarter combat instructor for “The Unit.” With over 33 years of hand-to-hand and Krav Maga combat study, Itay Gil became the Executive Director of all training programs for the Israel Border Police as well as the undercover police intelligence unit. Based on his 14 years of active duty combat experience, he developed new strategies and innovative Krav Maga techniques to fit the reality of street gang confrontation. He trained Mr. Moshe Katz, who then built upon on these new techniques and adapted them to fit the real-life situations that common people face in the streets of Jerusalem today.
Can I say that Itay Gil or Moshe Katz are the founders of “modern” Krav Maga? I don’t think so. They are just great teachers who contributed to the expansion and development of modern self-defense. Politically, Krav Maga has been commercialized as the most well-known Israeli Martial Art. In fact, it has never been the only martial art. The KAPAP “face to face combat” system was developed in Palestine and already in place in the 1930s as an ongoing combat development program for returning Jews to their land in the British Mandate of Palestine. But as Krav Maga grows in popularity in North America, it has also intensified tensions between some organizations that teach it. Debate over authenticity of methods, origins, and realism of fighting techniques becomes a matter of favoritism toward one leader or another. Someone even trademarked the term “Krav Maga” in the US, and sued all the others who use this name; he lost that suit because Krav Maga is a broad name which means “combat-contact.”
As Mr. Moshe Katz explained to me, it doesn’t really matter who your teacher was or who his teacher was. It doesn’t matter how directly you are connected to the “founder” of one martial art style or system.
What matters is: “CAN YOU TEACH ME HOW TO PROTECT MYSELF FROM VIOLENT THUGS AND CRIMINALS”?
The answer to that question is a resounding YES! Our Krav Maga classes can teach you to protect yourself from all sorts of violence. Take a look at our schedule, and join us for a free trial class.