Krav Maga

REGULAR CLASSES SCHEDULED: Every Tuesday night, 7:00pm to 8:00pm. Location: New Beginnings Fitness and Nutrition in Hamburg, PA. Price is $7/class. Please come join us!

What is Krav Maga?


Krav Maga is the fighting system of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). It was born in the Holocaust from the fighting prowess of Imi Lichtenfeld, a Hungarian-Jewish man, who discovered that his training in boxing and traditional "sport fighting" had little to do with real-world street fighting. He adapted the styles and techniques of other fighting disciplines and sports, discarding anything that would not work in the real world. Later, after the birth of the nation of Israel, Imi Lichtenfeld codified and refined his fighting style. Krav Maga is now taught to all IDF soldiers as part of their intensive training and, unlike other martial arts, is continuously undergoing refinement and improvement by the IDF and other practitioners.

Also, unlike other martial arts, there is no "sport" of Krav Maga. Krav Maga is wholly unsuited for "sport fighting": it is intended to neutralize lethal threats as quickly as possible with whatever means are at hand. In the real world, there is no ring and no ref. Strikes of any kind are allowed, there are no restrictions. Krav Maga is intended to keep the practitioner alive, not to "score points" or to win a match. While it borrows many techniques from other "sport" disciplines, the purpose of Krav Maga is to survive a lethal encounter.

Grand masters small talk
Imi Lichtenfeld, left, and Yaron Lichtenstein, right. Source:

Krav Maga can be summarized in the following:

The smallest number of the simplest moves, for the maximum effect.

Most other traditional martial arts place an emphasis on 'form' and elaborate flourishes. Krav Maga does not. Krav Maga uses natural body mechanics and stimuli response as its basis. Complexity is reduced, and often by learning just one or two moves, you actually learn a whole family of moves for a variety of applications. As a result, the time it takes to become proficient is shortened, and the time you spend training is maximized.

What We Do

We start you right off with dealing with a variety of weapon threats. Traditional martial arts do not treat weapon situations until much later in their programs, however the way we teach Krav Maga is to introduce simple gun and knife threats from the very first lesson. A typical session will include topics such as:

  • How to get out of various grabs (arm grabs, body grabs, hair pulls, etc)
  • Knife threats to neck/head
  • Knife threats to body
  • Gun threats
  • 360 Defense
  • Knife attacks of various kinds

(Note: a knife attack is different from a knife threat. An attack is where the knife is already in motion towards you. A threat is where the knife is being held or pressed against you in a threatening manner.)

We also train how to defeat real-world attacks by doing simulations and re-enactments of attacks such as:

  • Carjacking
  • Hold-ups
  • Hostage situations
  • Other simulations based on security camera footage or eyewitness accounts from the news.

Survival Night!

Another frequent classroom situation we will explore is what we call "Survival Night", depending on the number of students participating. One student will be placed in the center of the room, and surrounded at a distance of about 5-8 ft by the other students, each of which is either empty-handed or armed with a rubber knife or rubber gun. From behind the student, the instructor will silently point to one or more of the students to launch a threat or attack against the student in the middle. The student must then solve the problem by recalling tactics and moves from previous classes. Each student gets a chance to be both the "good guy" as well as the "bad guys". This can be a lot of fun for everyone, but is intended to strengthen rapid-recall of the Krav Maga moves while under stress, and highlights the necessity of situational awareness and the effects of stress and adrenaline on the human body.

Class Requirements

  • Bring an open mind
  • Clothing should not be tight or constricting. You will be throwing punches, kicks, and moving dynamically.
  • Note taking material. I found taking notes, especially early on in my Krav Maga experience, to be extremely beneficial. Each class will include a handout of the materials covered.
  • Although not required, some safety equipment like a cup or sport glasses might be a good choice. It's possible to be accidentally kicked in the groin or poked in the eye.

Course Schedule

DROP IN ANY TIME! Whether this is your first time studying martial arts or if you are a long-time practitioner, please drop in any time. There are no prerequisites for this class. From the very first class you take to the last, you can expect to see hand-to-hand as well as countering pistols, knives, sticks, rifles, and any other improvised weapons in every single class. This is not a tiered course of study, we do not withhold information from you.

Course Materials

  • Videos Now Available to class members! Please check out our videos to review the materials we covered in class so you can practice at home. These videos are class-specific, you will only be able to obtain the videos for the class you are enrolled in.
  • Each classes handouts can also be downloaded. Students who miss a class can download the handout using the username and password given during the class.