The Founder of Krav Maga - Imi Lichtenfeld

Jonathan Randall

Senior Master
MTS Alumni
Jan 26, 2005
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Thougts or observations on the founder of Krav Maga, Imi Lichtenfeld? In what way would the founder's background as well as the needs of early Israel have influenced the development of KM?
Imi Lichtenfeld
The beginning of the system that would become Krav Maga in Israel was developed in Hungary and Czechoslovakia in the 1930s by Imi Lichtenfeld, also known as Imi Sde-Or. (Sde-Or - "Light Field" - is a calque of his surname into Hebrew.) He first taught his fighting system in Bratislava in order to help protect the Jewish community from Nazi militias. Upon arriving in the British Mandate of Palestine prior to the establishment of the Jewish state, Imi began teaching hand-to-hand combat to the Haganah, the Jewish underground army. With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Imi became the Chief Instructor of Physical Fitness and Krav Maga at the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) School of Combat Fitness. He served in the IDF for about 20 years, during which time he continued to develop and refine his hand-to-hand combat method. He died in January 1998 in Netanya, Israel.[2]

Article (Bio) on IKMF Website:

NOTE: This is a non-political thread. Arguments either for or against Israeli policies should go as separate threads in the Study and not here.


White Belt
Jul 26, 2013
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Some quotes from Imi :
"You must be sogood... that you don't need to kill"
"One not need makepeace with friends, only with enemies"
"A strong man hasmany friends"
"People respectpower, and it comes in many forms, Krav Maga is power, and people will respectyou for knowing it"
"Don’t expect yourenemies to ever love you, or even like you, only respect you"
"So that one maywalk in peace........"(the reason for learning IKM)