The origins of Krav Maga can be traced back to one man, Imi Lichtenfeld. Born in 1910 Budapest, raised in Bratislava, Slovakia, where Lichtenfeld spent his youth in his father’s gym. After competing at national and international levels as an accomplished boxer, wrestler, and gymnast Lichtenfeld used his experience to defend Jewish neighborhoods during the anti-semitic riots in the 1930’s of Bratislava. During World War I, he fled the Nazi Occupation of his homeland to Palestine where he joined the Haganah, a paramilitary group within the Jewish community to dedicate his life defending the independent state of Israel. Litchenfeld built a mass following in key armed forces divisions such as; special unit leaders, police, and politicians. Thus Krav Maga was born, becoming the primary combat and defense style of the Israeli military system.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Originating in the early 1900’s of Japan, diplomat Mitsuyo Maeda took his expertise in Jiu-Jitsu to South America. Maeda trained in Judo which was also called Kano Jiu Jitsu, later depicted the name Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The martial art uses levers, torsions, and pressure to force an opponent to the ground and dominate. Maeda incorporated his innovative techniques with classical Jiu Jitsu which gained immense popularity for youth and women self-defense in Brazil. His key innovation was creating unfamiliar phases that led to victory for individuals defending themselves against a larger opponent. After Maeda’s death in 1941, Jiu-Jitsu was further refined by Brazilian fighters which led to adaptation of the martial art itself. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was unknown to the outside world until the early 1990’s, which has now become an international martial art competition, incorporated into professional sports such as MMA, and defense for select armed forces around the world.
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