Krav Maga

KRAV MAGA (Israel)

The techniques of Krav Maga were formed by Imi Lichtenfeld, an outstanding wrestler and boxer who modified his techniques for practical street fighting in order to lead a group of athletes who defended Jews against fascist thugs in Slovakia in the 1930's.

Lichtenfeld eventually wound up as the Chief Instructor for physical fitness and hand-to-hand combat for the Israel Defence Force where he taught his style of martial art- still taught to this day in the IDF as well as by the Israeli security forces and Israeli police (and a number of U.S. law enforcement agencies, including the FBI).

Krav Maga is designed to be nothing but a practical means of street defence, one of the central concepts being that techniques should flow from a person's instinctual reactions, rather than teaching the student to control their natural reactions as most martial arts do, and thus is learned more quickly than other martial arts.

Also of note is that Krav Maga techniques are often learned from a position of disadvantage (lying down, limited ability to move) so that the student knows how to get out of a bad situation.

Similarly, Krav Maga teaches the student how to use the techniques even under mental duress- such as in minimal light, surprised, or when under stress- because such distractions are often present in violent confrontations.

Students are also taught defence against clubs, knives, and guns.


PANKRATION (Greece)

A combination of wrestling and boxing already practised as sports by the ancient Greeks, Pankration was added to the Olympic Games in 648 B.C. In order to force their opponents to concede defeat, the Pankration artist uses punches, kicks, grabs, throws, joint-locks, and chokes. Ground fighting is a large part of training.

Because of its early date, Pankration is considered by some authorities to be the first true martial art. Also, because Alexander the Great's armies carried the sport with them across the Alps into Asia, and because of the similarities of basic techniques, a number of authorities are of the opinion that the Asian martial arts were based on Pankration, though no other evidence exists to support this.

Similar Styles: Mu Tau - a modern version of Pankration.

PENTJAK-SILAT (Indonesia)

Pentjak-Silat's history dates back to the seventh century, but it became more highly refined in the 1940's when it gained popularity as part of the increasing hostility against the Dutch colonists.

Its open handed techniques are based around the many weapons that practitioners become skilled in. When fighting without a weapon, all parts of the body are used to strike. Also, students are taught how to defend against an armed enemy when they are unarmed.

Pentjak-Silat's attack dodging techniques are based on skilled, graceful footwork, and thus the art is often mistaken for a style of dance. However, a person witnessing a Pentjak-silat practitioner in a fight would never make that mistake.

Students learn to calmly avoid attack and then, when the time is right, explode into a rapid-fire combination of punches and kicks.

Similar Styles: Bersilat - Malaysian style which is thought to have been derived from Pentjak Silat. Emphasises leg techniques.

SAVATE (France)

Though Savate's origins are the subject of some debate, it is believed that 17th century French sailors picked up a little of the East Asian martial arts during their visits to Burma, Thailand, and China because around this time the fist fights in the usual sailor bars in France turned into kicking fights which exhibited distinct martial art characteristics.

During the 19th century Savate was systematised and made into a sport, complete with boxing gloves. Modern Savate incorporates the best professional boxing techniques and focuses on multiple kicks delivered in quick succession. It is also taught as a means of self defence in which bare-knuckle punching is taught along with its usual techniques.

Similar Styles:

Boxe Francais - A sport derived from Savate.

KICK BOXING (American)

Though most experts do not consider American Kickboxing to be a martial art in the strict meaning of the expression, few doubt its effectiveness as a style of combat.

American Kickboxing was developed to be a sport, with competitors wearing gloves and foot pads and delivering blows full-force with the intention of knocking out their competitor (in contrast to many martial arts competitions which are semi- or no contact and the winner is decided on points).

Since only hand and foot techniques are allowed, American Kickboxing may be the most basic systematised fighting style other than traditional (hands-only) boxing. However, the reason it is so simple is that it utilises only the most practical attacking and defending strategies and trains the fighter to become extremely skilled at them.

Similar Styles: Boxing - Teaches how to punch with power and how to dodge a punch better than any other style. However, boxing is a sport and assumes that there will be no strikes lower than the belt, no kicks, elbows, or knees, and no grappling.