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The History of Krav Maga

About the Historical connection between Krav Maga and Kapap there are certain facts which I have come to realize through my extensive research .

These facts are simple and in my eyes self evident when one agrees to look at the entire picture based on biographies, testimonials and historical documents. Many people do not like these facts and conclusions one must draw from them.

That’s too bad, pleasant or unpleasant, it is what it is.

I present them to you here with my commentary about them and the conclusions I draw from them.


They are as follows:

  1. Krav Maga as a term appears for the fisrt time in the IDF in 1948.
  2. Krav Maga and Kapap are terms used interchangeably for the same body of knowlwdge (techniques and drills) in the IDF for the entire decade 1948-1958.
  3. Judo Shimushi (Useful/Practical/applicable – Judo) was a term also used interchangeably with Krav Maga and Kapap.
  4. A manual under the title of Judo Shimushi was published in . 1947/48. The manual is dedicated to the memory of Gershon Kopler and Yehuda Markus. It attributes to them the compilation of this hand to hand combat body of knowledge, and organizing it under a methodical way of practice (I.e. systemizing it).
  5. This manual served as the main reference book for all Krav Maga/ Kapap courses in the school for physical training, where all hand to hand combat instructors were trained and Imi served from 1948 to 1964. The manual sereved as the main reference until 1960 when a hand to hand combat manual titled Krav Maga was published.
  6. The publication of the 1960 manual does not imply a change in the system or some revision. It is simply an indication that the name Krav Maga became the preferred term of use and that it was time to make a new manual reflecting the present state of Krav Maga or hand to hand combat in the IDF.
  7. Kapap was developed in Mandatory Palestine by a group of instructors during the 1930’s and 1940’s. the main body of it was organized and taught before Imi arrived in mandatory Palestine and before he joined the Palmach as an instructor.
  8. Given that Kapap and KM are one and the same until at least 1958 then one must draw the simple conclusion that Imi did not develop or invent this body of knowledge.
  9. If he did not develop it or invent it, then there is no direct connection between Bratislava and KM.
  10. Imi was a Kapap instructor in the Palmach and then a Kapa/Krav Maga instructor in the IDF.
  11. The entire structure of the Physical training branch and within it the school for physical training were staffed by a majority of Palmach veterans like Imi.
  12. The hand to hand combat curriculum logicaly was adopted in the most part from that practiced in the Palmach.
  13. Imis contribution to the selection of the techniques and how they are taught was minimal to none existent until the formation of the IDF and the school for physical training.
  14. Imi assumed the role of lead instructor over time and not from the outset. Factually the title of chief KM instructor did not exist until the second half of the 1950’s and perhaps came in only around 1960.
  15. Some KM history narratives claim Imi was brought to the IDF to revise its useless method of self defense. This is at best a gross misunderstanding of the facts and at worst a flat out distortion and lie with the purpose af aggrandizing Imi’s role. The IDF underwent a revision in 1953. As part of that revision the branch of physical training entered a process of review and revision. Commissions were set up for each discipline taught at the school, one of them being hand to hand combat. It was titled the commission for Krav Maga and Imi was appointed as its head. There were very clear guidelines with regard to the commissions task. One of them was to take the Judo Shimushi manual and pair it down for the needs of combat units boot camp trainees.
    This is the only “revision” KM underwent in the IDF before Imis retirement in 1964 and it clearly establishes that Judo Shimushi, a manual he did not write or develop was in fact the manual the IDF used for KM.
  16. Imis contribution to KM is an aggregate of his influences and adjustments made to techniques and methods of training over the years of his service in the IDF and then the fact that he took this body of knowledge into the civilian arena and started the process of adjusting it to self defense purposes.

By Noah Gross

Co founder and Chief Instructor of Armed Combat Tactics,

Krav maga historian


About Tactical Krav Maga

TKM is the next evolution in Krav Maga being a hybrid system which has drawn on not only the best of Israeli Krav Maga instructors and their systems , but also international Chief Instructor and founder for TKM Carl Halley’s extensive experience in other systems as well as his professional experience in dealing with real world violence . Commencing his training in 1980 with event security specialist and reality based Martial Arts instructor  Tom Slaven, Carl has also trained with Eyal Yanilov I.K.M.F (Krav maga), Itay Gil Protector (Krav maga), Team Nakash (Krav maga) and Lt COL Guy Meadan YAMASEC (Shooting and Suicide Terrorism Awareness).

Combined also with Carl’s 6 years in the Merchant Navy, 12 years R.A.AF(res), 30 years experience in the national and international security industry, over 35 years practicing and teaching Martial Arts, boxing ,kick boxing and Defensive Tactics has all contributed to produce a very well rounded and effective system

Carl Halley International Chief Instructor

Tactical Krav Maga