Mastering The Art Of Krav Maga

The way of the Krav Maga art is nothing more than sharpening the skills of your own uniqueness. A form of self defence that one can say, is the culmination
18 Jun 2017 11:09
Mastering The Art Of Krav Maga
Krav Maga students train in Suva.

The way of the Krav Maga art is nothing more than sharpening the skills of your own uniqueness.

A form of self defence that one can say, is the culmination of all forms of martial arts.

The only difference is that the art is not an invention done out of deep meditation as one would know of other combatant arts and traditional martial arts would have.

Kung Fu for instance has its roots connected to its founder, an Indian and a Buddhist monk by the name Bodidharma.

By Chinese legends, he is referred to as a Chinese patriarch who lived between the 5th to the 6th century in India before crossing to China.

It is believed that it was Bodidharma who also began the physical training of the Shaolin monastery and together with his spiritual, deep meditation and religious accolades and principles, also founded the Shaolin Kung Fu.

In the later years that followed, other boxing style flourished through the regions of China, but most or all, adopted the basics of Bodidharma’s teachings and tenets of the other arts throughout the regions of Asia.

However, Krav Maga was not founded as such. It was founded by an Olympiad, a sports fanatic and a Jew named Imre Ichtenfeld.

That according to history, he was a boxing and wrestling champion with his gymnastics background.

That was all he had except his spirit and the will to protect his people from anything further Jewish Diaspora that scattered his people from Palestine to their subsequent settlement throughout Europe.

And faced with the threat of annihilation in a country that identified them as immigrants, he stood with a few with the only thing he had-his knowledge and skills, borne out of physical sports as the world nears the beginning of the second World War.

And so began the unorthodox teachings that founded the art itself.

Whether the practitioner plays rugby, soccer, hockey, boxing or wrestler, says its instructor Russel Isei Rasiga, Krav Maga will work with anyone being founded on the disciplines of sports to suit any element one will get to face on any given environment.

To the Pacific region, where big is considered beautiful, losing weight is not an issue says, Rasiga.

To give you a little peak into the dojo, Krav Maga, in its own form would be an art that embrace the same style and theology that gave the world a new insight into boxing, brought on by the unorthodox fighting style of Muhammad Ali.

He would be the fighter who closed the old toe-to-toe booklet that once herald past fighters like Maximilian Adelbert “Max” Baer, Rocky Marciano, James “The Cinderella Man” Braddock who was also known as the Bulldog of Bergen from Hell’s Kitchen uptown New York  and the Brown Bomber, Joe Louis to name a few.

The same boxers whose records and unfathomed glory was outwitted within seconds from the moment Ali twirled to his butterfly dance and executed well but untimely blows that stung like a bee from the most unpredictable positions.

The irony behind his victory is the uncanny, deviant character and skill that deceived many, even the strongest and aggressive fighters of his time.

His victory would leave his opponents minds dwelling on a time warp, still pondering on the thoughts as to how a man, as young as he, can change the worst of situations to a winning one and left them lying on the canvas amid cheers from Ali’s fans.

Minus the vocal attribute, Imre Ichtenfeld, a Hungarian Jew founded the art of Krav Maga under the cover of darkness in the mid 1930s, just 21 years to the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome where Ali was to win his first gold medal in the light heavy weight division.

According to the Wikipedia free Encyclopedia on the World Wide Web, “Imre Lichtenfeld (was also known as Imi Sde-Or) was born in 1910 in Budapest, Hungary and grew up in Bratislava (Slovakia). Lichtenfeld became active in a wide range of sports, including gymnastics, wrestling, and boxing. In 1928, Lichtenfeld won the Slovak Youth Wrestling Championship, and in 1929 the adult championship (light and middle weight divisions). That same year, he also won the national boxing championship and an international gymnastics championship. During the ensuing decade, Imi’s athletic activities focused mainly on wrestling, both as a contestant and a trainer.”

The same sporting events, that shaped the uniqueness of Krav Maga.

It said that in 1939, the Jews were threatened with neo Nazi movements and anti-Semetic riots that spread through Europe and threatened their very existence.

Lichtenfeld, together with a group of his students, who were boxers and wrestlers took to the streets, and defended the Jewish community from anti-Semetic thugs and rioters.

From within the streets of Bratislava in Slovakia, Lichtenfeld discovered that boxing and wrestling, though good sports, weren’t practical to the brutal and extreme force of real street fighting.

It was then when he re-evaluated his fighting skills and techniques that would eventually become Krav Maga.


Krav Maga is very important to everybody, says instructor Russell Isei Rasiga because students are put through training while under duress.

“Professional sportswomen and men are trained to endure these moments. But like the military force who do it for defence tactics, there are no time to do your stretching exercise while you face an enemy,” Rasiga said.

“It would be one of the most challenging times one will get to face,” he said.

And Krav Maga he says, is not only about fighting but a way of thinking, to adapt to any situation.

Where a hand makes a grip in a certain place, he said there is a life saving situation that can turn everything around, whether you’re on the edge of a cliff or fending an attacker or a rugby player making a tackle on the field.

So says, practitioner Barbra Malimali, a criminal lawyer by profession.

“I haven’t really lost weight as most tell me when they meet me on the streets and at work but I am stronger and a more confident person,” she said.

“I can use anything from pens to notebooks and heels of women’s shoes to defend myself,” she added.

But fighting she says, is the last option when all other options can be first pursued.

“Krav is good for anyone because you’re taught to defend yourself from the moment you walk into the dojo.  As of now I am more aware of my environment rather than just walking into an office, do my work as I once lived.”

Even on the street, she says, her character has grown from the Barbara she once was to a more deep thinker who on every moment thinks of her next move and of her surroundings including those around her.

“I’m not nervous or hyped by any extend, no, but more clearer in thought as to how my actions, movement, the way I present myself would affect my situation, my friends, my work, my family and how I can and will react with its result, whether it’s good or bad.”

Today the group is expanding in numbers from students with classes divided between afternoon hours to suit its practitioners working schedules.

Intense training continues leaving his students breathless but smiling on every occasion.

On the mat, a free contact match began.

It was done between an amateur boxer and a rugby player.

Within minutes, the scene has turned from a smiling face to well timed exchanged of blows.

The amateur boxer drew first blood.

On one of the breaks, a few words were exchanged between the instructor and the rugby player.

And upon the next bell, the rugby player had the amateur boxer flat on his back from a rugby tackle, done straight at his torso and the free sparring session ended as fast as it started.

Only one thing was said after that bout.

“That is how it is done, with what you do best because you will always remember it better than the things you will get to be taught in here.”

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