'Krav-Maga' is a term in Hebrew, composed of two words; 'Krav', which means 'Combat', and 'Maga', which means 'Contact'. So, the literal translation of the term 'Krav-Maga' is 'Contact-Combat'.
This term is widely used to describe Israeli authentic combat systems, when actually, there is more than one way to look at it. Most people think there is only one 'Krav-Maga', but the truth is different.
Looking at the term 'Krav-Maga' purely from a linguistic point of view, suggests, that all 'contact regimens' may be counted under the term Krav-Maga. Judo, Jujitsu, and Karate are all forms of contact combats, and as such may fall under the semantic category of Krav-Maga, or in plural 'Kravot-Maga'. Therefore, instructors may claim they teach Krav-Maga, when actually they teach karate, or any other variation of ' Contact-Combat'.
When looking at the term 'Krav-Maga' from a professional point of view, we can note that Krav-Maga has distinctive characteristic: techniques, principles, teaching method and, set-of-mind, which differ it from other 'contact combat' disciplines.
Krav-Maga distinctive techniques
Krav-Maga techniques are characterized by their simplicity, they should be easy to learn and perform, and, be based on 'Reflexive reaction' (actually the original term was 'unconscious reaction'), such as the 360º unique defenses.
Because Krav-Maga is targeted for real situations, specific 'Bear-hugs', chokes and wrist grab releases/escapes are performed, in addition to characteristic gun, knife and baton disarms.
Krav-Maga distinctive teaching method:
Because the primary goal, of Krav-Maga is to be an effective hand-to-hand combat-tool, which can be learned and executed effectively, in minimal time. A specific 'Breakdown teaching method' was formed.
Krav-Maga set of mind
Krav Maga has a full scale philosophy of how to conduct training sessions in "real conditions" without compromising the safety of the practitioners.
Krav-Maga as a combat system, follows an organized and clear set of principles.
Following the above, it becomes clearer to note, that some people consider Krav-Maga as a generic name or title for many combat discipline, while others looks at Krav-Maga as an established specific combat system.
Actually, there are three ways to train in Krav-Maga, as a self-defense method, as a combat doctrine for security personal, and lastly, as a martial art.
Important distinction must be made that not all martial arts, self-defense or reality-based-fighting methods, who use the derivative 'Krav' in their name, or claim they teach Krav-Maga may be regarded professionally as Krav-Maga disciplines/schools. Simply because they do not necessarily follow Krav-Maga distinctive characteristics and principles. Only after evaluating a given syllabus, according to Krav-Maga unique characteristics, an official confirmation that a specific style/school teaches authentic Krav-Maga can be granted.