Israeli Krav Maga
Commando Krav Maga

About 20 years ago I went through Krav Maga civilian self-defense instructor class ran by late Eli Avikzar based on his KAMI (or I.K.M.F., as it known in the US) style. This class drew in a diverse group of combat sport and martial art enthusiasts ranging from under 20 to over 50 years old and from fresh high school graduate to well known public figure, like novelist and boxer Eli Luxemburg.

Eli Avikzar was a prolific fighter with strong background in Aikido and (sport) karate with some Judo expose. As he described to us (bunch of Judo, karate, wushu, and boxing instructors and coaches) what defines and differentiates his fighting style from the rest of martial arts, he said that in Aikido and Judo you will throw attacker out, in karate you’ll block him, and in KAMI you’ll beat him down to the ground, you’ll “punish” him (and he stressed the “punishment” notion). The second thing was the strong emphasis on the natural movement vs. formal (stronger than in other, more formal, martial art styles, but for me it is a questionable difference – just poor understanding or misrepresentation of Judo and Aikido may “find” non-natural movements here).

I respect Eli. I wasn’t his top student and our styles and technical preferences differ, but I learned a number of very important things from him, and I keep his book and instructor’s certificate, signed by him. However, I have problem with his definition of KAMI as it applicable to civilian self-defense outside of combat-zone-like Israeli reality: punishment, in a functional modern state, is the legal prerogative of judiciary, not of a private citizen.

But when leaving legal self-defense definition aside, in the “street situation” it may work fine only for one-on-one ( duel ) scenario. Concentration on punishment distorts attention from ultimate goal of self-defense – saving your life! As you “punishing” one attacker, you can fail a victim of the second one, that you didn’t noticed earlier because you were so busy with the first!

To be sure, things aren’t frozen and I don’t see “punishment” element in the current demonstrations of Krav Maga (I.K.M.F. style) defense against multiple attackers that leaving no place for “punishment”.

Krav Maga changing and branching in a way that any, unregulated by set of explicit rules or authoritarian leadership, martial art style will do.

The fights on the web about legitimacy of Commando Krav Maga aren’t pretty . When claims of falsified personal military and training record of Moni Aizik looks like well founded (as Shakespeare said, nothing is new under the Moon: look at SAMBO urban legend ) and offering three (3) days self-contained course is nothing but a $2K worth practical joke (not to say “scam”), his style is a thing that worth having a second look at.

For my eye, the key difference of his style is emphasis on conflict avoidance and fight break; witch is exactly what civilian self-defense is about. I see such references on other Krav Maga websites now, not affiliated with Aizik’s "Commando" version, and proliferation of those ideas is a good thing regardless who introduced them first (and I don’t know who introduced them first).

When I never attended any Moni Aizik classes or demonstrations, I would expect it, based on the web references, to be more civilian (vs. military or police) oriented version of “contact fight” (let’s not to call it Krav Maga if it makes things easier for I.K.M.F. guys, however “Krav Maga” – literally means “contact fight” in Hebrew – is not a trademark, and can’t be one, the same way as “wrestling” or “hand-to-hand combat” can’t, so he may use it in his style name).

As Michael Lukashev wrote about Nill Osnobishin (see Combat SAMBO for references), sometimes good system can be created by unlikely author without real credentials, but with understanding of the subject matter.

As for Commando Krav Maga itself – will see: if it will outlive its creator (till 120, Mr. Aizik) it’s worth its soil, if not – then not.

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