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Imi Lichtenfeld - The founder

Imi Lichtenfeld (Sde Or), born in 1910 in Budapest, was inspired and encouraged by his father Samuel, a former circus acrobat and wrestler, physical education teacher, detective, and Chief Instructor of the Municipal Police known for his self-defense instruction. Imi practiced various sports.


He focused on gymnastics, wrestling, and boxing, participating actively in numerous competitions for ten years, often emerging victorious, especially in wrestling.


The fight against fascism and the origins of Krav Maga: When fascism emerged in the 1930s, Imi gathered a group of young athletes around him. Their mission was to protect the local Jewish community by fighting against fascist troops. He took part in numerous fights, which heightened his awareness of the differences between street fighting and sports competitions. The first principles of Krav Maga were born.


Due to his actions, he quickly became unpopular with local authorities and had to leave Bratislava. His journey lasted two years, and he eventually arrived in Israel. Imi joined the Haganah, a paramilitary organization of the Jewish population. He taught basic self-defense techniques and continued his activities within the IDF, the Israeli army, leading to the official introduction of Krav Maga into the Israeli army.

During his twenty years in the IDF, Imi perfected his system by training instructors and elite army units in self-defense. While serving, he wrote the official manual for self-defense and hand-to-hand combat. In 1964, he left the army but continued overseeing Krav Maga instruction, both in a military context and for law enforcement.


Adapting Krav Maga for civilians: In addition to these activities, he tirelessly worked to refine, improve, and adapt Krav Maga to the needs of the civilian population. Imi was instrumental in the creation of the IKMF. Later, Krav Maga integrated into civilian life in private and public institutions and gained recognition from the Ministry of National Education. It eventually spread worldwide.


The Krav Maga system developed by Imi is based on moral and human values that emphasize integrity, humility, and respect for others. Imi Lichtenfeld passed away on January 9, 1998, at the age of 87. However, his successors continue to improve, adapt, and spread Krav Maga in many countries worldwide through the Krav Maga Global Federation.


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