Krav Maga (Hebrew קרב מגע: “contact combat”) is a self defense and military hand-to-hand combat system developed in Israel. It came to prominence following its adoption by various Israeli Security Forces and is now used by military and law enforcement personnel, as well as civilians, around the world. The Krav Maga taught in civilian self defence classes is more often a simplified version that emphasizes personal self-defense.
The generic name in Hebrew means “close combat.” The word maga (מגע) means “contact” and the word krav (קרב) means “combat,” but the literal translation “contact combat” could be confused with “full contact” martial arts, such as “full contact karate.” English speakers often shorten the term to Krav.
In Krav Maga, there are no hard-and-fast rules. It is not a sport, and there are no competitions. All the techniques focus on maximum efficiency in real-life conditions. Krav Maga generally assumes a no quarter situation; the attacks and defenses are intended to inflict the most pain possible on the opponent in the least amount of time. Groin strikes, headbutts, and other efficient and potentially brutal attacks are emphasized.