The Krav Maga

Krav Maga is simple and effective. It has been adopted by all the Israeli armed forces, a number of American police units, FBI agents, and French police in the GIGN and RAID elite units.


“Krav Maga” is Hebrew for “close combat”; it can be divided into two parts.

  • Self-defence is its basic framework, and includes a variety of techniques aimed at enabling those who know how to use it to defend themselves against attack, avoid injury, and overcome an assailant. This part of Krav Maga includes moves to counter a wide range of attacks, whether armed or not, in different basic positions: standing, seated, lying down, etc.
  • Hand-to-hand combat is a more advanced stage of Krav Maga; it teaches how to neutralise an adversary quickly and efficiently. It combines elements relating to actual combat: tactics, feinting, combining different attacks, the psychological aspect of combat, etc, all covered in the exercises to develop ability to manage dangerous situations of physical confrontation.

What makes Krav Maga worthwhile?

It began in a historical context in which knowing how to defend oneself was important. Imi Lichtenfeld wanted to devise a method that was realistic, and had occasion to test his discoveries over the years. That is what makes Krav Maga a modern and realistic form of self-defence: it features a coherent, logical way of thinking that allows natural, practical, easy techniques based on relatively simple movements of the human body. 

Obviously, the desire for realism in this discipline does not allow the creation of rules for the sport, or competitions, which would limit it to the constraints of the rules. It does however constitute a perfect method of self-defence for coping with serious danger.


Distance and Time

Simple movements are short and as a result are not tiring. There are two good reasons for simple movements. Firstly, they make it possible to retain a maximum level of physical freshness during a fight. Secondly, because a simple movement is short, the distance is not so far, so it is automatically faster.

A sport

Although there are no limitations in Krav Maga, the rules of safety are nevertheless observed, so that practitioners can engage in Krav Maga without danger and achieve a high level while at the same time trying to ensure that no movements and no attacks remain a mystery for us.

In Krav Maga, effectiveness and efficiency is considered more important that the aesthetic aspect. In our teaching, we try to train good practitioners who will only use their self-defence skills they have learned if it is absolutely necessary. During classes, practitioners wear a sports outfit specific to Krav Maga and protective equipment, abiding by the elementary rules of safety.

At the FEKM, each grade is validated after a required amount of work and after a genuine, demanding examination.

The notion of legitimate self-defence

For self-defence to be legitimate, it must meet the following three criteria:

It must be a necessary riposte: If there is no other possible alternative (including running away).

It must correspond to an imperious necessity: If the victim does not have time to call the police, for example.

It must be proportionate to the attack: A violent response is only justified as immediate defence. Riposting as the attacker is moving away or using violence to prevent a future or uncertain aggression is not legitimate as self-defence. Because Krav Maga is a form of self-defence, it falls within the framework of the law; instructors must be aware of this, and must instruct their pupils accordingly.

In France, the governing legal text is contained in Articles 122-5 to 122-6 of the Penal Code.

Krav Maga in France since 1987

In 1987, Richard Douieb pioneered Krav Maga and opened the first school in France and in Europe, at the request of Imi Lichtenfeld.

The school quickly became successful and in 1997, with a desire for structured expansion and keen to preserve the founding principles of Krav Maga, Richard Douieb created the FEKM (Fédération Européenne de Krav Maga – European Federation of Krav Maga). Krav Maga was quickly adopted by a number of elite police intervention groups in France, including the GIGN and more recently the RAID.

Today, the FEKM and Krav Maga occupy a place of their own in the French sports environment; every year, many people try it out and choose the FEKM partly because it offers guarantees of quality, but also because of the legitimacy of Richard Douieb as the Federation’s President.

The FEKM has now become the world’s largest Krav Maga federation. It is currently the best structured federation and has the largest number of registered members.