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November 22, 2007

Krav Maga - Martial Art For Women

By Vanita Gautum

Krav Maga is an Israeli martial art that has been gaining popularity due to its self-defense and hand-to-hand combat characteristics.

What makes Krav Maga such a fantastic art is that, as a woman, it’s always good to know how to defend yourself in a dire situation against a much bigger opponent. And the bonus of Krav Maga is that those who practice it often develop a lean, toned physique.

So if you’re prepared to mimic Jennifer Garner’s character, Sydney Bristow, in Alias and Jennifer Lopez’s character, Slim Hiller, in Enough, then let’s get started.

Origin of Krav Maga

Krav Maga, which is loosely translated from Hebrew as “close combat” originated in Hungary-Czechoslovakia in the 1930s by a man named Imi Lichtenfeld, and was taught to the Jewish community to help them defend themselves against the fascist militias.

When Lichtenfeld moved to Israel (known then as the British Mandate of Palestine), he began teaching this method of combat to the underground Jewish army.

As time passed and the need for military combat became less important, Krav Maga began to take on different undertones and began reaching the mainstream public as a wonderful self-defense and exercise course.

It was only after 1985, however, that Krav Maga schools and classes began popping up all over the world.

A typical Krav Maga class

The objective of Krav Maga is to help women learn how to defend herself (rape prevention) in the midst of distractions and under worst-case circumstances (e.g. fighting against a few girls, with one arm being held behind your back, or against someone with a weapon).

Practitioners of Krav Maga must learn how to go from defending oneself to attacking the opponent(s). But don’t be fooled; Krav Maga is intensely aerobic.

During a given class, you will be paired up with a partner. One of you will hold pads with which to defend and the other will be on the attack. This practice helps the attacker fight with all her strength and the defender understand what it feels like to get kicked and punched.

Classes last about an hour at a time and start with aerobic activity that includes a drill designed to get your heart rate up. Then the instructor will take you through about two or three self-defense tactics.

Once you’re shown these techniques, you will spend a good amount of time practicing them. Usually, near the end of the class, you will have a final drill that incorporates the defense techniques with aerobic movements.

Some classes will use fog machines or blaring music in order to teach you how to concentrate on how to defend yourself despite outside distractions.

Finally, you will also be taught physical and verbal skills so that you can avoid letting the situation escalate into violence.

Where are Krav Maga classes offered?

From Alabama to Toronto, classes are offered throughout North America and the world, and you can find a class being offered in your area by visiting And if there are currently no classes being offered in your city, you can inquire about the teaching online.

Variants of Krav Maga

As Krav Maga has changed somewhat over the years, variants of the martial art have also come to be. One of these variants is Haganah, an art that teaches you how to take on an adversary when you are at a size disadvantage.

Many elements of Krav Maga remain in the art, but this art takes things a step further by teaching students different ways to escape things like choke holds and bear hugs.

Another variant is called Krav Magen, or Kami, created by Eli Avikzar in 1989. Additions to this art include being able to defend yourself without sustaining an injury and using the quickest way possible to neutralize your opponent.

Get your Krav Maga on

If you enjoy martial arts in general, this one is designed to help you avoid and deal with violence, and you can learn to protect yourself at all times.

And the best part is, you can look maintain your feminine appeal while you do it all.

To see what Krav Maga is all about, check out this video:


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