I try to imagine what it would have been like for Imi Lichtenfeld when rioting and looting was breaking out and his friends and neighbours were getting beaten with staves and stabbed with knives by rioting fascists who in their disappointment and fear at the economic and national aspirations wished to be part of Nazi Germany. Police response no doubt would have been given grudgingly, slow and ineffective and undoubtedly there may have been a substantial minority of officers sympathetic to the Nazi movement. Urban street violence is what gave birth to Krav Maga as Jews increasingly began to rely on their own cells to police their neighbourhoods.
There were boxers, wrestlers and athletes using the most direct and efficient methods to take out attackers and threats incorporating everything from weapons and multiple attackers, to tactical use of sticks and blades. Elsewhere during that time period a couple of revolutionary thinkers by the names of William Ewart Fairbairn and Eric Anthony Sykes were policing Shanghai; a city which at that time was a hotbed of Triad activity, where murders were a nightly occurrence. They discovered that some of their more capable men who were excellent athletes and shooters were getting killed on duty almost on their very first days working in Shanghai.
They discovered that simply knowing how to shoot well at a target down the range was not sufficient when dealing with the level of threat encountered in the kind of police work they were undertaking. The two men revolutionized the tactical use of firearms in urban and house to house environments. Their methods to this day are used to train counter-terrorist and SWAT units. They created many important contributions to modern day military hand to hand methodologies as well as invented the famous commando dagger. They worked with intelligence agencies training agents in silent sentry termination methods for use in Nazi occupied Europe.
I think it would be unrealistic to assume that Imi Lichtenfeld did not have at least some exposure to Fairburn and Sykes combatives when training various commando units in the British Mandate. However Krav Maga to me is totally synonymous with Israel where warfare can be dirty and unexpected probably more so than even that waged by underground units in war-torn Europe at the time. Brutal military efficiency is the corner-stone principle of Krav Maga. Some call the system controversial, but that’s only because it is taken out of context. It should never be controversial to use full contact training, learn to defend oneself under pressure and test the techniques under realistic settings. That way the step from the training hall to the street is not a big one.
The main thing is to gain the enlightenment in knowing who you are, have an awareness of how you react under pressure and when faced with adversity. Many people want a ripped sinewy physique, but the mental physique is more important. Its how the grey matter processes information and discerns itself in the critical split seconds which could make the difference between prevailing or being a victim. To me Krav Maga is the embodiment of progress and evolution in close quarter combat and self defence.