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Imi Lichtenfeld

Early years in Europe

Imi Lichtenfeld (Sde-Or) 1910-1998, was a boxing and wrestling champion, born in Budapest, and raised in Bratislava. Around the mid 30’s Imi lead a group of young Jews to protect Jewish neighborhoods from anti Semitic attacks. In those years Imi fought many street fights and gained lots of practical fighting experience.

In 1942 Imi arrived to Israel and was recruited to the ‘Palmach’ as a swimming and hand-to-hand combat instructor.

Imi in the IDF

In 1948, as the state of Israel was established along with the I.D.F, Imi was recruited to the Israeli Army as a physical coaching and combat instructor.

After 1960 Krav-Maga Section was created in the I.D.F and Imi became the leading figure of Krav-Maga within the I.D.F.

Creation of Civilian Krav-Maga

Imi retired from the army in 1964 and devoted most of his attention to the formation and teaching Krav-Maga for civilians.

In 1971, the first civilian Krav-Maga instructor’s course, was held in Imi’s training club in Netanya. The course was held under the auspice of Wingate Institute, the Nat Holman School for coaches and instructors. Imi was the course coordinator, and the students studied anatomy, physiology, first aid and Krav-Maga. The course was held on August 8-28, 1971.

Over time, Imi developed more techniques, implemented the Judo belt system into his Krav-Maga style, and created a new concept, Krav-Maga as a civilian martial art.


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