The Civilian Association claims Eli Avikzar retired from the IDF in 1987. That is not true. Eli Avikzar retired from his military career in 1981! Boaz Aviram replaced him as chief IDF Combat Fit Academy Krav Maga Instructor! It could be claimed as an editing error as they say that in 1987 he retired from the Krav Maga Association as well!
ELI AVIKZAR: born June 6th, 1947 Died May 16, 2004 at the age of 57 after battling cancer for few years...In 1976 Eli Avikzar at the age of 29 years old joined the permanent force, as Head of the Krav Maga section. He quit the IDF in 1981! Total of 7 Years in the IDF as Chief Instructor of the Krav Maga Department! If he did a 3 year mandatory service from 1965 to 1967 from age 18 to 21, took a break for 9 years and joined the permanent forces after. That scenario does not make much sense. Its possible also that he joined the IDF at age 26 which is 9 years above the mandatory drafting age. The IDF had some requirement for Military ranking for a permanent position, but they could have been bypassed.
"Eli continued to develop Krav Maga within the I.D.F. until his retirement in 1987."
"In 1987 Eli Avikzar retired from the Krav Maga Association and in 1989 founded K.A.M.I. - Israeli Krav Magen Association, with “Imi's” blessing."
Eli Avikzar immigrated to Israel from Morocco in 1963 as a boy with nothing in his pocket, except a rich background of street fights from his hometown, Casablanca. He was forced to fight local gangs who were harassing him for being Jewish in a hostile Arabic environment. Eli began training with “Imi” Lichtenfeld (Sde-Or), the founder of Krav Maga (Contact Fight) in November 1964 at his institute in Netanya, and became his principal student. In those days there were no training outfits or grades for Krav Maga, so they trained in army uniforms. In 1965 “Imi” added Judo training, as part of the Krav Maga training and distinguished teachers like Gadi Schornic and Amos Grinshpen became Eli's Judo instructors.
Eli trained twice a week, and after receiving his Orange belt in Judo and with “Imi's” consent, went to train in Tel-Aviv, where he continued practicing Judo and added Karate and Jujitsu to his training schedule. Eli would then return regularly to “Imi's” training classes and together they improved and developed counter exercises to Judo, Karate and Jujitsu.
“Imi” stuck to the motto that every person, with or without coordination, strong or weak, can perform Krav Maga exercises, by utilizing one’s own maximum force.
Until 1968 there were no grades in Krav Maga and trainee's grades were determined largely by their knowledge in Judo.
In 1968 Eli Avikzar began learning Aikido under the guidance of an Englishman named Mike and within a year became his training partner. Mike was astounded by Eli's rapid progress and offered him to go abroad for his Black belt trainings in Aikido. Following mike's recommendation, Eli left for France in 1971, passed the test and received a brown belt in Aikido. Prior to his journey, Eli received his Black Belt in Judo, in addition to the first Black Belt ever given in Krav Maga, which he received from “Imi” on the 1.5.1971. Upon his return, Eli started working as an instructor alongside “Imi” in both Netanya and Tel-Aviv training centers. In addition, they trained special army and volunteer units. In 1977 Eli went to Germany and after passing the test, received a Black Belt level in Aikido from the European Federation.
In 1974 “Imi” retired and handed Eli his Krav Maga Training Center in Netanya. In 1976 Eli joined the permanent force, as Head of the Krav Maga section. The role of Krav Maga in the army advanced greatly after his appointment. More courses were given and every P.E. instructor was obliged to learn Krav Maga and teach it. The improvement of Krav Maga in the I.D.F. was a result of the development of methods and exercises in civil life, and it became accepted and more professional, proving its efficiency in fighting units. Eli continued to develop Krav Maga within the I.D.F. until his retirement in 1987. Up to this date, Eli had trained 80,000 male soldiers and 12,000 female soldiers.
In 1978 the Krav Maga Association was established. As an active member of the Judo Association, Eli Avikzar helped to establish the professional and Rank committees in the Krav Maga Association.
In 1979 Eli appointed his first two black belts to trainees:
* Avi Avisidon
* Eyal Yanilov
A List of Eli's students is at the bottom of this page showing the Level of Black Belts awarded by him.
In 1981 Eli travelled to the U.S.A. along with “Imi” and some of his trainees for a 45-day performance tour, as part of a fund raising trip. In 1983, following that visit, the first American group arrived in Israel for a 3 week Krav Maga instructors course. In 1984 the Krav Maga Association awarded a Black belt to two American trainees, Allen Feldman and Darrin Levine. In 1985 Eli went to the U.S.A. as a representative of the Krav Maga Association, to lecture to the Department of Police, and in 1987 he returned again to the U.S.A. to give his first course to the Los-Angeles Police Department.
The many improvements Eli added to Krav Maga transformed it into a new method that was parallel to Krav Maga.
The name K.A.M.I. (Israeli Defense Battle) is attached to Eli's ideology since the method is divided into two parts: Self Defense and hand to hand combat (KAMI does not participate in any competitions). A combat fight develops if a self defense exercise does not totally neutralize the attacker. From this theory comes the name Israeli Krav Magen which means Israeli Defense Battle.
K.A.M.I. adjusts itself to the altering state of the street and to the immediate, modern, contemporary dangers. K.A.M.I. renews and improves ads and revises exercises to find solutions to a changing environment. In practice, the exercise is short and efficient and all is permitted to save lives. "Minimum Movement against Maximum Movement becomes Minimum Defense against Maximum Offense"
In 1987 Eli Avikzar retired from the Krav Maga Association and in 1989 founded K.A.M.I. - Israeli Krav Magen Association, with “Imi's” blessing.
In 1996 Eli was granted a Dan 8 grade, including a Founder Diploma, which was the first to be issued by “Imi”, and in 1999 was granted Dan 10 grade by all the esteemed and professional members in K.A.M.I., including senior pupils and P.E. Institutes in Israel.
In 1999 Eli was given worldwide recognition and the Dan 10 belt from martial arts heads from Israel and abroad, Israeli sports institutes and his senior students.
In 2004 Eli Avikzar passed away leaving his dream "Every boy and girl should know to defend themselves."
In 1971 Eli Avikzar received his first Black Belt in Krav Maga. Immi was wearing a black belt when he started to wear Gi teaching Krav Maga long before.
To be one of Imi Lichtenfeld Original Black Belts, you had to train in Civilian Krav Maga for at least 4 years!
The same applies for being one of Eli Avikzar’s Black Belts with the exception that being and IDF Krav Maga Instructor after one month intensive course in the IDF qualify you to take the test for a Blue Belt in Krav Maga, and then you have to wait a year to get tested for a Brown Belt and another year to get tested for a black belt. For a 2nd Dan and above are based on services to the association, roles, and experience and advanced training seminars and getting a Sports Coach Diploma from Wingate Institute for Physical Education specializing in Krav Maga where the Krav Maga training are the sole responsibility of the civilian association and the certification is based on letter of recommendation from the respective sports association and the theory of sports and related academic subjects teaching and testing are done by Wingate institute, and accredited Phys Ed College.
In 1974 Immi retired from teaching even Civilians Krav Maga! As the head of the first Civilian Krav Maga Association he signed diplomas for Krav Maga as the Head of the Krav Maga Association, while a hands on Instructor was required to fulfill the role of actual training and drilling students. For high ranking Dans there had to be some sort of training done by another instructor before Imi would award a black belt, or a merit of time and magnitude of teaching.
There were about 3 American Students that took the fast track of intensive 3 week training in Israel. However, they were taught hands on by a student of Eli Avikzar that never taught intensively in the IDF. Eli Avikzar was appointed the first head of Rank Committee in the Krav Maga Association and he opposed the bypassing of the Association Rules that were done by Imi on occasion to intensively promote Civilian Krav Maga around the world as a sport stripped of the lethal elements of Hand to Hand Combat.
So figure if anyone is claiming to be an IDF Krav Maga Instructor after January 27, 1983 whatever he learned was watered down through a civilian association Instructor that never taught an IDF Course or on porpoise diluted the training system to adapt to civilian demands and hazards of competition! Anyone that claims to be an IDF Krav Maga Chief Instructor before 1983 has to be Sheike Barak, Eli Avikzar and Boaz Aviram. There were other Krav Maga Instructors that taken the IDF Intensive Krav Maga Course, which very few became instructors in their units but never had the opportunity to teach the whole curriculum as usually their role was a combined combat fit(Physical Fitness) and Krav Maga…
So to teach Krav Maga in the IDF from 1976 until 1983 in the Fighting Fit /Combat Fit Academy you had to take the IDF Intensive Krav Maga Course, or be a Chief Instructor in the IDF Combat Fit Academy. You could also be a Fighting Fit Instructor/Physical Fitness course to teach limited Krav Maga techniques. You could also be a black belt from Eli Avikzar’s Civilian School but only assisting him teach scheduled units of low level Krav Maga and never the Complete Instructor Course. You would have to be at the age of above 18 in these years with minimum 4 year Civilian Krav Maga training under Eli Avikzar or at least 19 after the IDF Basic training if you joined the IDF at age 18 and then take the intensive IDF Krav Maga Course. For all those that claim teaching Krav Maga in their Special units whether Border Patrol which is not a special unit, and all the other special units who did not take the IDF Krav Maga Instructor Course, they never taught Krav Maga, but did a leisure time Martial Arts Activity in their unit.
So check the date of birth of your instructor claiming lineage and take it from there…Prior to 1948 Immi Lichtenfeld was teaching limited Hand to Hand Combat in the Israeli Underground groups. In 1948 he was elected as the IDF chief instructor of Physical Fitness and Krav Maga. At some point Sheike Barak was Base Commander of the Fighting Fit Academy and also taught Krav Maga, and later moved to teach Krav Maga in the Israeli Police.
Imi Lichtenfeld was hesitant of teaching the Intensive Lethal Krav Maga to Civilians at all times. He always valued the highest instructors as those that were in the Circle of IDF Krav Maga Instructors...This is why he chose Eli Avikzar to be the head of Rank Committee in the Civilian Krav Maga Association. When Eli Avikzar decided to leave the Association that Imi Lichtenfeld founded, Imi started giving higher ranks to other starving students that took efforts in manipulating his conscience based on their school sizes and career advancements. Some ranking were fraudulently manipulated before his death, and some were fraudulently self awarded after his death. The same phenomena might have occurred in other civilian Associations.
In the 1980 IDF Krav Maga Curriculum development was at its peak. 1983 the Original IDF Krav Maga was lost! Diluted training methods were introduced by Imi Lichtenfeld Civilian instructors…
Boaz Aviram was teaching the intensive IDF Curriculum in Civilian Life and had published two books and complete training videos to preserve the Israel Defense Forces Krav Maga Curriculum at the peak of the development of the training system before it was diluted in its origin – the IDF!