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The Badass Who Founded Krav Maga

Meet Imi Lichtenfeld, Founder of Krav Maga

Imi Lichtenfeld - Founder Of Krav Maga

Imi grew up in the slums of Bratislava having to fight a lot, and helped defend Jews from fascist gangs. He learned eclectic combat tactics from his father and refined them. Later, he was acknowledged for his fighting prowess in Palestine (now Israel), and trained the Palmach, Palyam, and Haganah; Israel’s first fighting units.

When Israel was established in 1948, he became Chief Instructor of Physical Training for the Israeli Defense Forces. This is when the name/expression “Krav Maga” was coined. After Imi retired from the military, he refined Krav Maga for civilian and law enforcement use.

In 1981, Darren Levine was one of a few US Martial Arts practitioners invited to Israel to train in the system after a handful of Israeli Krav Maga instructors arrived in 1980 to demonstrate Krav Maga (mostly to Jewish Community Centers). Darren received one of only two “Founders Diploma’s” by Imi, which granted him the honor of enhancing the system over time.

In 1996, the first KMW Training Centers™ Location opened in West Los Angeles (then called the “National Training Center”), and Krav Maga truly began it’s ascent in North America. Shortly thereafter, Krav Maga Worldwide™ was established in order to help facilitate the growth of Krav Maga in the United States.

Imi Lichtenfeld - Founder Of Krav Maga Imi Lichtenfeld - Founder Of Krav Maga


Who Carries Imi’s Legacy On Today?

Just over 100 years ago, on May 26, 1910, in central Europe, the creator of Krav Maga, Imi Lichtenfeld was born. 2010 marked Imi Lichtenfeld’s 100th birthday. In honor of this occasion, Krav Maga Worldwide™ and former student of Imi, Darren Levine created this special video message that was broadcast in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Imi Lichtenfeld Centennial Celebration.

Welcome to Xtreme Krav Maga Midtown

Xtreme Krav Maga & Fitness Offers Elite Training With Certified & Experienced Instructors – Challenging, High Energy and Effective Workouts!

Krav Maga is the official self defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces, and is the preferred hand-to-hand combat system for U.S. Military and law enforcement.  Krav Maga is not a traditional martial art. No katas. No rituals. No non-sense!

Krav Maga is a simple, effective self defense system that emphasizes instinctive movements, practical techniques, and realistic training scenarios that gives you a full body cardio workout!

Israeli Self Defense

Krav Maga is based on simple principles and instinctive movements, this reality-based hand-to-hand combat system is designed to teach real self defense in the shortest possible time. Students learn to defend against common chokes, grabs and bear hugs, as well as weapons such as guns, knives, and sticks. Just as important, we teach people to function during the stress and shock of a sudden, violent encounter. Tested on the battlefield and in the streets, Krav Maga’s practical approach to self defense will make you safer and more secure.


Krav Maga Fitness classes get you into fighting shape. Designed by a team of top fitness experts and defensive tactics instructors known for building fighters, Krav Maga’s fitness programs use cardio classes, heavy bag work, and sports conditioning techniques to burn fat and tone muscle. Feel strong. Feel Safe. Feel Good.


Krav Maga applies its practical, no holds barred approach to a complete street fighting system. Learn simple techniques to end a fight as quickly as possible. Aggressive training drills improve vision, help you manage stress, deal with multiple attackers and give you techniques that work in real-life street fights.


“So That One May Walk In Peace” – Imi Lichtenfeld



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