So one may walk in peace. Imi Lichtenfeld.
Origin stories are inherently interesting and the story of Krav Maga’s beginnings is no different. It begins with the founder, Imi Lichtenfeld.
Imi was born in Budapest in 1910. His father Samuel, a police officer and accomplished fighter encouraged Imi to study wrestling, boxing, and gymnastics. Imi would excel in these activities and develop the skills and knowledge he would need for challenges ahead.
“Necessity is the mother of invention”.
Living in Bratislava during the 1930s, Imi and many others faced street violence – often from anti-semitic gangs. Imi’s fighting background made Imi a natural leader of a group determined to defend themselves and their communities.
“Street fights are unpredictable, dirty fights. “ Imi Lichtenfeld
Ensuing confrontations revealed the difference between street and competition fighting. Gangs did not follow the rules. They used weapons, attacked in groups and without notice. Imi’s boxing and wrestling certainly helped but these martial arts did not address many of the problems of street violence. Imi’s effort to create practical solutions to street violence served as the foundation for a new self-defense system – Krav Maga.
Lifelong passion becomes an international phenomenon.
Imi moved to what become the state of Israel in 1948 where he continued to develop Krav Maga until his passing in 1998. Along the way, he trained many students, some of whom lead the world’s foremost Krav Maga organizations.
Through his efforts and those inspired by him, Krav Maga has become a global system, reaching to all continents in the world.
An impressive legacy for a great man.