So That One May Walk In Peace

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Self-Defense for REAL LIFE! Krav Maga is the most effective self-defense system offered today. Training is based on natural responses and reflexes so it is easily learned and implemented quickly. This system is accessible to anyone interested in learning self-defense techniques to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Defense against REAL THREATS! Krav Maga originated in Israel under battle field conditions and has been adapted to deal with threats anyone could encounter in their daily lives today. Each element of the curriculum is based on actual attacks and scenarios from around the world. Every level includes self-defense solutions and counterattacks for these scenarios

A system of REAL SOLUTIONS! Krav Maga can be practiced once or twice a week and still be extremely effective. The biggest advantage is how quickly and easily one acquires self-defense "know – how". As you advance, the scenarios become increasingly dangerous and complex while providing proven solutions. IKMF places significant emphasis on continually updating the system to ensure it is contemporary and effective. We apply several potential attack scenarios allowing you to reach a high level of proficiency, mentally and technically, in a relatively short time.

Join the Family! Learn the best and most effective fighting system available so you can walk in peace. Come train with us at West Side Krav Maga and join the large and loyal IKMF family around the world.


  • Avoid injury
  • Neutralize all threats
  • “Use whatever works”
  • Switch from defensive to offensive maneuvers quickly
  • Improvise and create weapons from almost anything
  • Strike vulnerable parts of the body and use the body’s natural reflexes

IKMF - International Krav Maga Federation

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The art of Krav Maga was created by Imi Lichtenfeld (Sde – Or). Imi was born in Bratislava to a renowned police officer and circus acrobat. As a child, Imi excelled in various sports such as wrestling and boxing and practiced several martial arts. When anti-Semite riots began to spread through his hometown, Imi and his family were forced to immigrate to Israel (Palestine at the time).

In 1948, once Israel had declared its independence, IDF's (Israeli Defense Force) officials approached Imi and requested him to develop a system of self-defense and fighting based upon his experience and work with the Special Forces units as the Hagana, Palmach and Palyam. During his 20 years of service as chief instructor of hand-to-hand combat, Imi carefully refined the methods of Krav Maga, making it the official combative training for all military personnel, Israeli police and security forces. Imi developed a doctrine enabling both fit and out-of-shape soldiers to practice it successfully. Rather than rigid movements and techniques requiring years of training, Krav Maga integrated instinctive and simple moves accessible to all.

In 1964 Imi retired from the IDF and continued teaching Krav Maga to civilians, as well as law enforcement units and military applications. Imi and several of his students founded the Krav Maga association in 1978, aiming to promote KM's unique techniques locally and throughout the world. When the teaching of Krav Maga began to spread beyond the borders of Israel, the need arose to establish an international organization. This occurred due to the fact the initial KM association existing at the time was divided and not functioning efficiently. With the result of his most loyal students and respected instructors (one of which is Avi Moyal, a current IKMF's chairman), Imi formed a new international KM federation. Now all Expert and Master Diplomas, grades and levels issued, are authorized by Imi, as well as the IKMF curriculum. Imi approved this new curriculum at the time of formation of the IKMF as well as subsequent changes made in 1997.

Since 1996 IKMF has expanded and is now the largest and most appreciated KM institution worldwide. It has successfully branched out not only in Israel but as well as in Australia, North America, South-East Asia, the Far East, most EU countries, and ex-communist countries (such as Poland, Russia and Hungary). The general structure of the organization in each country is relatively similar: A director, responsible for the growth of both the KM system and the local IKMF organization in said country, and, of course, local instructors at different grades and levels assisting him.

The IKMF trains and educates all types of trainees, with or without KM (or other martial arts backgrounds), such as civilian students and instructors, military personnel and instructors, law-enforcement officers and instructors etc.

The IKMF trains and educates civilian students and instructors (with KM and/or other martial arts backgrounds), law-enforcement officers and instructors, military personnel and instructors, as well as security and close protection officers and their instructors. All such individuals and groups are accepted into the ranks of the IKMF.

Founder of Krav Maga

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Imrich ( Imi ) Sde-Or, founder of Krav Maga, was born on May 26, 1910, to a Hungarian Jewish family in Budapest in the Austro-Hungarian Empire . He grew up in Bratislava, Slovakia's capital, with a father who provided him quite an unusual childhood. Samuel Lichtenfeld, his father, was a chief inspector on the Bratislava police force and a former circus acrobat. With his father's encouragement, Imi Sde Or engaged in a wide range of sports, such as swimming, boxing, wrestling and gymnastics also winning several awards in these fields. He trained at a gymnasium owned by his father, who taught self-defense, and excelled in wrestling both as contestant and as trainer. In the mid-thirties, Fascist and anti-Semitic groups appeared in Bratislava, threatening to harm the city's Jewish community. Imi Sde-Or led a group of former boxers and wrestlers to defend his Jewish neighborhood against the fascist gangs. This group attempted to block the anti-Semitic gangs from entering the Jewish quarter. Encountering as many "street fights" as he did, Imi quickly realized that sport had little in common with real combat and began developing a system of techniques for practical self-defense in life threatening situations.

In 1940 Imi fled the Nazi occupation of his homeland, and boarded the last immigrant ship that succeeded in escaping the Nazis' clutches. He boarded the vessel "Pencho", which shipwrecked on the Greek Dodecanese Islands, and arrived to Palestine in 1942.

Upon his arrival, Israel's early leaders recognized Imi's fighting abilities and in 1944 he began training fighters in his areas of expertise: physical fitness, swimming, wrestling, use of the knife, and defenses against knife attacks. During this period, Imi trained several elite units of the Hagana and Palmach (striking force of the Hagana and forerunner of the special units of the IDF), including the Pal-Yam, as well as groups of police officers. After the establishment of Israel in 1948 and the formation of the IDF he became Chief Instructor for Physical Fitness and Krav-Maga at the IDF School of Combat Fitness. Imi served in the IDF for about 20 years, during which time he developed and refined his unique method for self-defense and hand-to-hand combat.

In 1964, Imi Sde-Or retired from the Israeli military and began adapting and modifying Krav Maga to civilian needs. The system was formulated to suit everyone who might need it to save their life or survive an attack while sustaining minimal harm. To disseminate his method, Imi established two training centers, one in Tel Aviv and the other in Netanya. He trained teams of Krav Maga instructors who were accredited by him and the Israeli Ministry of Education. He also created the Israeli Krav Maga Association in 1978. When the teaching of Krav Maga (KM) started to spread beyond the borders of Israel, Imi saw a need to found an international organization, the International Krav Maga Federation (IKMF). Once the IKMF was formed, all Expert and Master Diplomas, grades, and levels were authorized by Imi, as well as the IKMF curriculum (Imi approved this new curriculum at the time of formation of the IKMF as well as subsequent changes made in 1997).

Throughout his last years, Imi continued to personally supervise the training of those who attained high ranks in Krav Maga, and to spend time with the instructors in Israel and abroad. Imi monitored the trainees' progress and achievements, captivating them with his personality and imparting to them his knowledge and unique personality.

Imi Sde Or, a most valued teacher and fighter, passed away on the 9th of January 1998, at the age of 88.


How much are classes?
We have a variety of training and payment plans available to meet almost any budget, and we do offer some discounts. We’d love to have you come out and try a class to give us a chance to meet you.
What should I wear to class?
Wear comfortable workout clothes and shoes. We highly recommend groin protection, and many students like to have a mouth guard for some of the drills.
Why should I learn IKMF Krav Maga?
The International Krav Maga Federation (IKMF) is the original and largest Krav Maga organization in the world. It was founded by the creator of Krav Maga and still adheres to his principles. The IKMF is the expert trainer to the top organizations Israel (the apex military, police, and security units, as well as the Ministry of Education) and many others. Every one of these organizations are partners in the feedback loop to continually improve Krav Maga (by testing it in live situations), and to share best practices with students around the world.
How long will it take to get to the next level?
In the beginning of your training, you learn the basics which build the foundation for everything else. The first level generally takes 3-6 months to master with diligent practice. Each level after that will take about 5-6 months, depending on your level of proficiency. The goal of Krav Maga is not racing through tests; the goal is learning to save your life. You will most likely leave the first class with something that could save your life!
I have years of martial arts experience. Can I join the advanced class?
Everyone starts at the beginning. Due to the unique nature of KM, techniques that you have known for years may be slightly different. Even a punch is very specific to KM. Starting at the beginning will build the strong foundation that will enable you to advance through the system knowing that you are learning and absorbing what is being taught.
Do you use a belt system?
No, we use a patch system. At every test, upon passing, you will receive a patch for the level that you test and a diploma. Your patch is worn on your training pants to signify where you are in your training. There are 18 levels in KM: Practitioner 1-5, Graduate 1-5, Expert 1-5 and Master 1-3.
Do we wear a Gi?
No, but official IKMF uniform pants and shirt are required before you can test.
Am I too old?
Krav Maga is for people 4-99! You are never too old to learn to defend yourself.
I'm overweight/ out of shape/ have injuries, can I do it?
While Krav Maga is definitely a good work-out, don't let that intimidate you! All of the exercises that we do in class are modifiable. If push-ups are too much, drop to your knees. If running hurts your knees, walk (fast). Let your instructor know of your perceived limitations, and they will offer you modifications. Krav Maga WILL help you get in great physical and cardio shape! And of course, as with all vigorous activity, you should check with your medical provider before beginning.
I have a gun. Why do I need Krav Maga?
Krav Maga is not a replacement for a firearm; it is a supplement. What if you can't draw? The attack is too close? Your firearm malfunctions? Someone takes it away? You’re in a crowd? With Krav Maga, you become the weapon. Don't limit yourself and your chances of survival by relying solely on one tool.
Can I take classes if I'm physically challenged?
Whether you are deaf, blind, in a wheel chair, or missing limbs, it is very important that you learn how to protect yourself. You specific situation will be taken into account when training so you get the most out of class.
I'm too skinny/ not strong/ not a fighter?
All the more reason to learn how to defend yourself! If you are a little person, you are a BIG target. Attackers are more likely to choose someone they are certain they can overpower. Show them that you are not as helpless as they may think!
I took Krav Maga from XXX organization/ trained through DVDs/ took online classes, can I train with you?
We would be happy to have you train with us. We have experience with many of the other organizations that are out there and chose to affiliate with the IKMF because it is the source of Krav Maga and the best organization for learning Krav Maga. DVDs and online classes are used for informational purposes, either to reinforce what you have learned in class or because you are too far away to physically be in a class. Training from DVDs or online is NOT acceptable for testing; you must have time on the mat.
Do you train terrorists?
NO! We are the "good guys" teaching good people how to walk in peace. This system of defensive tactics is from Israel, one of the most peaceful nations and one of our strongest allies, but also the one that has to fight to secure their land. They know how to defend themselves, and they have passed that knowledge to us.
Do you have other questions? Email us!