Pure Krav Maga - Self Defense Mastery(TM) historical developments and vision of founder/Boaz Aviram

Pure Krav Maga Curriculum consists of selected techniques and drills that altogether give its students intensive training to master self defense.

The idea is to intensively maximize prioritization, efficiency and human body power utilization to prevail in any self defense Hand to Hand Fighting Scenario.

Students who have completed the intensive two to five days training regimen can be compared to swimmers that are accustomed to swim in varieties of waters above the surface and under the surface. They are accustomed to face threats and prevail from humans with varieties of training in fighting systems and physical fitness…

Basically, Imrich and Eli Avikzar were both men of Genius. Imrich had a vast Jujitsu, and competitive boxing wrestling and gymnastics experience and won European Championships.

He also had street fighting experience vs. Nazi youth gangs, and later had a British Military experience learning the then taught Fairbairn methods of self defense.

However Imrich extracted Jujitsu, Wrestling and Boxing out and started to create a direct approach to distill movements based on principles according to the priority presented by the passage of valuable time during a confrontation. He then started to break down various parts of techniques to facilitate easy learning of working techniques against professional fighters.

The system was developed by Eli Avikzar much further than Imrich since he got everything that Imrich had taught him, and while Imrich was retired he developed Imrich’s principles and applied them in many other ways.

While both Imrich and Eli who followed his way limited the learning of civilians by reverting to the old dojo system and in fact created another martial art in the civilian life, it was not geared toward fast pace intensive training, and after few generations of curriculum based techniques the quality control of the system was going down until it was below effectiveness and advantage and its instructors started to look outside for existing varieties of Mixed Martial Arts trying to reinvent the wheel.

When it comes to hand to hand fighting, I started my youth with street confrontations in the State of Israel with new neighborhood kids, going through adrenaline rushes and limited vision in black and white slow motion camera vision picking up a handy object that happened to be a broken chair leg and striking the first kid out of fifteen kids that were chasing me top down to the center of the body. He fainted and I continued I to run and seek a hiding place.

I then learned Judo, Jujitsu, Karate, Aikido, got into few more streets or school confrontations and learned my lessons and improved my confidence to be overstated somewhat. Did the 100 men kumite in the Karate school which reflecting on it appears to be a social contest of fitness… And then I discovered Krav Maga in the Israeli Defense Forces.

I had the advantage to repeat the working experience of Eli Avikzar and Imrich Lichtenfeld in the IDF and I became Eli Avikzar’s assistant in the Krav Maga department at the Israeli Defense Forces Fighting Fitness Academy, and later replaced him when he retired.

I also had a chance to follow the path of the civilian curriculum according to Eli and Immi's recommendations and see for myself that there was nothing new to learn in the civilian Dojo.

I've noticed that the Civilian Instructors that did not take the IDF course and did not have IDF Krav Maga experience were lacking the vision of the whole picture.

In addition I've noticed that while both Eli and Imrich had a solid direction in following Imrich’s principles, Eli noticed that Imrich was doing some things out of past habits, and I've noticed that Eli did the same.

The reversion to the Dojo experience caused them to act as Dojo Masters at times, which made them waste valuable time in an easy pace to philosophize on partial techniques and principles and amaze their students but not always ensure their students advance intensively.

It appears like they had always saved something for years to come, and when the years came Imrich was losing his judgment and Eli was worried about some of his own students wanted to get advanced but did not really attend his seminars that were designed to bring them to a higher level. Instead they went behind his back and tried to persuade Immi that they need promotion.

The culture of loyalty in the history of Martial Arts has set up the foundations for secrecy and protection to unique ideas. In the old days training system’s invention, would not have modern copyrights and would be stolen and used by others for profit. It is funny but they don't have them now either. The nature of this business and the complexity of the material make it such.

In order to ensure that a Master of a Fighting System will have a life time occupation, the only way was to teach slowly and ensure that the unconditional loyalty of the students are acquired prior to that.

It was sort of a family relationship. After all the art of fighting is to be used as a last resort to protect one’s honor and personal liberties of self or dear ones, and to have it taught to a possible sort of an enemy whether in blood or in business, would be like bringing in a Trojan horse into your Dojo.

Both Imrich and Eli who followed Imrich’s way and limited the learning of civilians by reverting to the old dojo system and in fact created another martial art in the civilian life, which was not geared toward fast pace intensive training.

After few generations of techniques and curriculum based learning, the quality control of the training system had declined.
As I was learning each technique, I went further to strictly apply their principles and test them in the worst case scenarios and saw the need to add few variations to scenarios where lack of reaction time in close distance called for a modified reach to compensate for different angles and distances of approach.

In addition I've added some steps to emphasize the application of the training methods first to last essential detail.
Finally, I wanted to ensure that students got the essence of Hand to Hand Fighting as quickly as possible so they can use whatever they had to save their lives if needed.

Eli Avikzar became a civilian Master of Krav Magen and went with the flow of the Jujitsu Style Masters in some ways. The transformation was to use an easy pace self defense system that will overall suit a group of mixed ages.

There was not a time limit in acquisition of skills, nor systematic programming.
Instead a curriculum with selected techniques that only those that were explained in complete details by Imrich and Eli (usually to those that taught in the IDF) really understood what fighting is all about.

I think since I was involved with full contact Karate Jujitsu and Aikido for years, I doubted each Krav Maga technique at the beginning, and when I realized how all the secrets of fighting started to reveal to me learning Krav Maga I wanted to ensure I got them all and that my students get them all.

I continued the same mentality of the Israel Defense Force into civilian life, and later documented most of the secrets that Imrich and Eli had only taught some of them to very few people and not all of them to the same people. My documentation gives each future student a chance to learn everything which makes a big difference.

The whole picture of Krav Maga was never documented completely before. Accountants historically were the protectors of the assets from theft by calculating everything. Modern accounting training considers professionalism, ethics, analytic, mathematically correct, complete disclosure and presentation of subject being audited.

As a certified Public Accountant, I naturally applied the instilled skills and traits into the task of preserving Krav Maga. I guess I had the opportunity to become the protector of the intellectual knowledge of Krav Maga. Since I was an accountant I had the skills to see complete pictures without loose ends and since I put it in writing, new depth came into light.

Since I chose a path of accounting as a major civilian career, after auditing Investment partnerships for few years and servicing investment companies I got accustomed to document 100's of sheets of paper with schedules summarizing analytically if the control mechanism of the accounting systems could be relied upon, and whether each presentation of the financial operations and the companies position were fair.

So I was determined to leave something to the world. Sitting for few hours a day for one year and reflecting about my personal experience in the Israel Defense Force, and the Aviation Authority, brainstorming, editing and publishing a book, I presented any argument anyone in the martial arts world and Military H2H could ever think about.

Some of those arguments that can only be thought about after reading my book, and I documented solutions for them. The more in depth you get into it , the more in depth you understand it. But the bottom line is to give enough experience and training to have your students succeed in a real life self defense confrontation.

Of course when I started to brainstorm many of my ideas were politically influenced but I edited them and distilled them to keep a balanced analytically logical and mathematically correct approach and tried to draw realistic conclusions as well.

I think my main concern was also that besides losing my life one day, I also might lose the clarity of my mind, so It would be a good idea to have a text book to preserve all the essential Knowledge of Krav Maga.

During my five years of teaching in the Israel Defense Force I was subject to constant danger of losing my face to any of your special units Soldier trainee that is constantly trying to make a joke out of the H2H Instructor. Most of them already have black belts in fighting arts, and did boxing and wrestling for few years.

Should a champion of any fighting sport that stopped by in the fighting fitness academy, it would be arranged for you to spar with him by someone. This forces you to be on your toes and constantly weigh your options of applying just the exact required force to win without unnecessarily inflicting great bodily injury on your "Opponents," whether by inflicting pain on a pressure point, a slap, a punch, or a kick.

It was Eli Avikzar’s advice as I started my career in the Israeli Defense Forces as a Krav Maga Instructor “don’t let anyone put you down because if it happens your career here is finished!" Think about it: You go to school to learn a profession. You read research and history learning discipline and hard work. You learn the language of your profession. You learn to solve mathematical problems and theoretical Physical Problem. You do learn intensively in college, and a lot of time you spread your horizons far way from your point of focus.

You go to your local Dojo, you take a civilian martial art that its origin is 4,000 years ago, or you go to a military organization that has one of the Dojo production that due to lack of time teaches the basics with a lot of fitness.

If you think of forty generations of instructors that were more worried about keeping their secrets from their students and teaching less, its not a surprise what happened to only three generations of Krav Maga Instructors. You train two times a week for one hour. You do warm up and stretching for 20 minutes, you practice few techniques in 20 minutes and ensure that the small kids and adults remember what the techniques suppose to look like and to name them, and you end with 20 minutes of hard exercise to make your student sweat and feel they worked hard.

When you reach brown and black belt you have to spar full contact for five minutes and exchange blows and kicks. In MMA you exchange blows kicks and arm bars from day one and learn a lot of techniques, and how to shift from one to another. It takes years to memorize these motor skills, and yet you do not learn to prioritize and do not learn simple principles that will reveal to you the secrets of fighting - Simple instructions to get from standing to defeating your partner, not from one arm bar to another.

In Pure Krav Maga you go through intensive training that instill the whole picture in your brain, through variety of interlocked training methods, that instill all the essential connections and intersections in your brain and body.

Of course it is advisable to keep training afterward and teaching is a great motivator to force you to keep up with your skills.
You are not here to have a lifetime babysitter. I teach you once and if you want you keep training yourself and keep in shape.

But after you teach for few years, Krav Maga is becoming part of you whether you keep training or even if you stop.

Imrich used to say in his 70’s that his bones might be fragile due to calcium deposits of old age, and if he punch someone he will knock him out, but probably also break his own hand…

When Imrich Lichtenfeld Krav Maga Creator retired from the IDF, he opened two Gyms in Natanya and Tel Aviv where he began teaching Civilians in a Dojo based Training System, Krav Maga.

Imrich thoughts were with all the people that suffer from threatening situations as he did himself while persecuted by the Nazi’s in his youth. However, he also battled with his loyalty to the IDF where he spent his career as the first founder and Chief Instructor of Krav Maga.

In addition, he tried to appeal to the civilian market by adopting the existing Dojo marketing system in the modern western world where the Kids would be catered to as well as adults and was fitness based and geared.

While Imrich grew up in and athletic youth culture where he honed his pugilistic skills, became a boxing, wrestling and gymnast champion, he realized he had to modify his techniques to fight blood thirsty Nazi youth groups that used to sneak on their victims by surprise and draw blood out of their victims not to get hurt themselves.

Confrontation like this would come by surprise and within few seconds it would be determined who has lost. The looser would get extra kicks to the head and ribs which would shorten his chances to live. Then when he taught his mates, he modified his years of training experience back to reality…

Since young Israel was a far safer country to Jews then emerging Nazi Europe at that time, it was safe to resort to a fitness youth activity based athletics, which were Imi’s youth passion before reality hit him in the face.

Ironically in an interview Imrich Lichtenfeld gave to People’s Magazine (on November 15 1976, “Its Called Kosher Kungfu, but Imi Lichtenfeld’s new Martial Art is a Deadly Affair”) in his Tel Aviv Krav Maga Gym Imrich said that when Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo created the sport of Judo, he had to extract the lethal element out of Jujitsu.

Truth is that the Jujitsu place where young Jigoro Kano learned Jujitsu, used to practice mostly safe throws for the after work crowd before they went to the local pub feeling winners for the night. What Jigoro Kano did, was making it a safe sport with documenting rules and extracting unsafe sparring practices. Judo made Jujitsu lose its realistic connection to hand to hand fighting.

Ironically as well, Imrich started to adopt the Japanese stripe belt ranking system that the theory behind it was translated to progressive steps on the mountain, meaning generally getting better over time.

Over time, Imrich Lichtenfeld with Eli Avikzar have developed a curriculum for the Krav Maga School (Beit Hasefer le Krav Maga).
With that curriculum you get a list of all the techniques, you need to practice until you are proficient in remembering how to do it in a sufficient speed and upon command.

In each technique you will get only one point of emphasis I repeat one point of emphasis, for example the angle of the base foot (the foot the stays on the ground when the other foot is kicking).

Then when you reach the brown belts you had to do a little sparring which amounted to an exchange of strikes and kicks and some rolling on the floor.

This is what happen to a student that comes twice a week, do the fitness drills, practice the attacks and defenses and at some point years later does a little sparring.

To really teach sparring, you need to go back and ensure that the student is applying what he learned previously to the sparring. If everything that should have been taught was applied to the sparring, the fight would have been straight forward, would have ended in few seconds with a clear advantage and understanding to all parties what had gone wrong and what were the good points.

But since the sparring in civilian Krav Maga (Imi's Dojo style of Krav Maga as opposing to his IDF original Krav Maga, developed for another 20 years by his successor Eli Avikzar) amounted to a low level exchange of punches as you see in other martial arts first time free style Randori, any serious student that wanted to make a career out of this, would have had to search ways to fill the gaps in his training.

The Dojo system was meant to keep life time paying memberships as it does today as well. Krav Maga really gave advantage to people from other Martial Arts and Fighting Sports that could really understand the simplicity and advantage of the basic Krav Maga principles with its thought process.

If you learned from an Israel Defense Forces Krav Maga Instructor (not an IDF Fitness Instructor that was trained in Krav Maga), and not a civilian Krav Maga instructor that had no experience in IDF Krav Maga, and if you had hundreds of full contact sports fights or street fights, you would realize Krav Maga is a simple step by step build up approach to train someone through the learning steps to gain the experience of the winners only in a very short time of training.

If you had that kind of experience under your belt, your past memories of 100’s of training sessions and hundreds of fights and missed partying days due to training would reflect in your brain, you would feel pity for yourself of all the time wasted and nothing much gained.

You would have felt the potency of Krav Maga in its ability to deliver in few hours lessons learned and how you wasted years of training without any conclusion over your past.
Otherwise you might think that Krav Maga is like any martial arts, a technique based system.

Let’s say you had your prior training methods from your martial arts, that might have included fitness drills of let’s say 100 men Kumite: where you end up using your intuition figuring out which one of your school member to hurt badly so you can continue in your quest and which one, not to.

Your school mates have the same thoughts in their minds to either make it look serious to the instructor, but at the same time to take it easy on you, or try to hurt you badly.

All of this experience takes place under exhaustion and stress, or maybe not since you used to jog 6 miles every day and you are used to pain in your bones, and over the years of training, you know your weak points, your strong points, and the safe rules of the game.

While an average dojo would have only few champions, which are those that learned subconsciously to perfected one or two techniques, the rest of the members would be compared to the boxing gym journey men that travel to nowhere in a lifetime.

The idea about IDF Krav Maga is to change that and give the miserable pupils more than a best chance in a two second life threatening confrontation to end the fight and stay alive. In the IDF ranks are minimal and are simplistic.

As for Krav Maga in the IDF, there was no official professional test when I was there, so to get promoted in professional ranks, which amount to nothing, you would have to take a fitness test.

I passed the fitness test to rank 9 in Fighting Fitness Sergeants course. I thought it was a cool stripe reminding of the Dan system but worn on your shoulder and this is where I got my badge idea.

For example for the infantry you would have a circle with two rifles crossed on the top embroidered in red thread on a black narrow patch followed with red stripes below.

The stripes indicated the level, of your training where 3 would be for three months of basic training and 7 for close to months of basic training. It was really based on topics learned and not the time frame.

As for my organization, I strive for quality control and do not wish to die and have lack of quality develop in my organization.

Quality translated to speedy ability of students to defend themselves and teach it to others. I give my 4 stripe instructors a free hand to award from one to three stripes to their students, and I do not give them the authority to create instructors under the name of my organization.

There is no need for them to get promoted if they do not teach. Teaching makes your skills and understanding better. The idea is that if they bring 10 students to become Instructors they are entitles to a 5 stripe master instructor, and with 10 more students that become instructors to a 6 level master instructor. The bottom line they need to repeat the five days intensive training at least few more times and be evaluated on their teaching to get to a level where they can teach the intensive original Israel Defense Force Krav Maga Course in sufficient quality.

The idea is to have an organization that provides service to many people to quickly teach them how to defend themselves in danger, not to create an organization that sells Master Diplomas Gi and red belts.

While I demand my instructors try to fit and tailor the training time to their students, I try to give my students to be instructor the most intensive training I can fit in a short one week of training at a time, since it is the most manageable maximum time to fit to a modern busy schedule.

So basically the 4 stripe instructor course give you the skills to understand, control, manage execute and apply Krav Maga principles and techniques its training methods,and basic safety in training.

And then you can teach them and not something else that comes from someone's imagination. The more service you provided to the community the better provider you become and the more experience you gain in both teaching and administration, and with organizing and taking part in least five instructor courses, you can gain an experience that is closer to a military Chief Instructor and be able to have an impeccable strive to quality control.

At that point you should be able to certify someone to become an instructor. Not that you cannot do it now, but it would not be in Pure Krav Maga.

Once I give someone Instructor Certificate, I cannot say it expire in one year. It is stupid. I do not teach knowledge that expires.
I teach something that lasts not even for a lifetime but for generations to come. Some people expire slower than others.

The stripe ranking is a modest professional ranking system that prides the wearer only and also a nice marketing tool, but certainly not a journeyman stamped passport.

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