Known as the national combat method of the Israeli Defense Forces, Krav Maga is a force to be reckoned with in terms of ruthless self-defense and street fighting both in Israel and around the world. As it gains popularity as a physical fitness method in the West, Krav Maga's most well-known practitioners are looked to for inspiration.
Here are five of the most popular experts on this hand-to-hand combat method.
1. Imi Lichtenfeld
As the creator of Krav Maga, Imi Lichtenfeld is the father of the practice. Its history is intricately interwoven with Lichtenfeld's life, according to the Krav Maga Federation
. He invented the method in response to violent anti-Semitic Eastern European street gangs that he faced as a young man. By combining the athletic skills of his youth with fierce fighting techniques intended to disarm and often destroy the assailant, Lichtenfeld gave birth to a style that would eventual become a global sensation for civilians and law enforcement agencies alike.
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2. Haim Gidon
Cited by the Israeli Krav Maga Association (IKMA) as
Imi Lichtenfeld's top student and ultimate successor, Haim Gidon ranks highly in the world of Krav Maga. Now a grandmaster in the self-defense method, Gidon is guided by the teachings and techniques of Lichtenfeld and has spent many years honing his skills and instructing others. He is the founder of a new spin on Krav Maga known as the Gidon System.
3. Darren Levine
As the chief instructor for Krav Maga Worldwide, Darren Levine
is an important name in the skill of Krav Maga and perhaps one of the most widely known particularly in the United States. He is a sixth degree black belt and also trained directly under Lichtenfeld. He also serves as Los Angeles County prosecutor and has received numerous awards and recognitions over the years.
4. Kobi Lichtenstein
Born in Israel, Lichtenstein trained in Krav Maga under Imi Lichtenfeld himself at the young age of 3. He was regarded by some as a child prodigy in the self-defense art and was instructing a class of his own by age 15. After serving in the Israeli Army and receiving certification from Wingate in Israel, he began the work of spreading Krav Maga throughout the world, particularly focusing on South America. This has become his life's mission. He has also written numerous books on the topic.
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5. Eyal Yanilov
After studying under both Lichtenfeld and Eli Avikzar, Eyal Yanilov showed extraordinary skill in the art of Krav Maga and became the only individual in the world to receive the "Founder's Diploma of Excellence," according to Krav Maga Global
. He has spent a lifetime spreading the method of Krav Maga and has instructed civilians as well as military personnel and law enforcement. He is the author of a book written in conjunction with Lichtenfeld.
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