It’s been more than 75 years since Krav Maga was created by Imi Lichtenfeld and since it became a worldwide hit in the late 1990s, there have been countless instructors and associations that teach this Israeli self-defense technique to people from all walks of life.
So much so that there is probably one organized body of Krav Maga practitioners in over 150 countries worldwide!
We know for a fact that Krav Maga teaches its students to become self-reliant and improvise whenever necessary in order to sharpen their skills.
So it begs the question; which Krav Maga organization is the best, and which one should you train with?
Also check out: the best shoes for Krav Maga
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Concise Krav Maga Background
- 2 The Best Krav Maga Organizations Worldwide
Concise Krav Maga Background
Krav Maga is a combination of more than 6 diffirent martial arts discipline developed by Imi Lichtenfeld and was originally intended for the Israel Defense Force or IDF.
After 40 something years the martial arts technique gained notoreity in North America and from there it spread worldwide.
The principles of Krav Maga are:
- Neutralize the threat
- Keep it simple
- Simultaneous defense and attack
- Retzev (continuous motion in Hebrew)
- If the opportunity to avoid the fight presents itself to you, then grab it
- Attack to inflict damage, not pain
- Aim low
- Don’t stop until they drop
- Train, train, train and then train some more
Krav Maga is so dangerous that no mixed martial arts or inter martial arts sports organizations has ever allowed it in their sports games!
Militaries and law enforcement agencies across the world have included the Israeli fighting style in their combat training because they have recognized it as lethal and very effective.
Kung Fu is still far more effective than Krav Maga as this particular Chinese martial arts technique has over 72 individual fighting styles whereas Krav Maga only has less than 10.
However, Krav Maga is very practical and relatively easy to learn compared to Kung Fu.
You can be a master in Krav Maga in as little as 6 months, but it takes 20 years to master a third of the 72 fighting styles of Kung Fu. Can Krav Maga be self taught, or do you need to join an organization?
With growing interest in the fighting style you can also expect some number of Krav Maga organizations popping up on just about every continent of the world.
However, the goal of these organizations is not to hold sports events and give titles and prizes to the fighters like in other martial arts.
No, the goal is to share their knowledge and skills on how to become a more efficient Krav Maga practitioner, so that one can protect himself or herself as well as be sufficiently able to protect others around them.
The Best Krav Maga Organizations Worldwide
Global Krav Maga Associations:
- Krav Maga Global – KMG was founded by Eyal Yanilov, an Israeli Krav Maga instructor and currently Chief Instructor of Krav Maga Global. He is among the first students of the creator of Krav Maga itself, Imi Lichtenfeld and is one of the few to have achieved the Master Level 3 rank in the martial arts. KMG is an international organization that teaches and proliferates the knowledge of Krav Maga to civilians, police, military and security personnel. Their branches are located in North America, The Caribbean, and Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, the Far East and Asia as well as Australia and New Zealand. Their training courses include general instructors course, SWAT instructors course, military instructors course, boardroom warriors, kids instructors course, women instructors course, mental conditioning instructors course, VIP protection course, law enforcement instructors course, safe transportation instructors course, and more!
- International Krav Maga Federation – The IKMF rivals the Krav Maga Global in terms of worldwide reach as it too has lots of training schools, courses, categories, trainers and year-round events. Avi Moyal who has a Master Level 2 rank in the martial arts is currently the chairman and head instructor of IKMF. He has dozens of expert level trainers as well to assist him in training the students and new recruits. The IKMF training categories include civilian, women, kids, VIP protection, law enforcement, military, and adaptive krav maga.
- Krav Maga Alliance (US HQ) – The difference between KMA and other Krav Maga organizations is that they tie-up with already existing KM schools by inviting them to become an affiliate with them, instead of creating training centers on different parts of the world. This allows them to grow their connections more and more in less time and be able to reach many people and inspire them to learn Krav Maga. The KMA was created by John Whitman, a sixth-degree black belt in Krav Maga. John is also the former president of Krav Maga Worldwide. KMA has only 2 types of training and those are the instructor certification training and the StrikeFit® certification which is a more advanced type of training.
- BUKAN School of Krav-Maga – The BUKAN School of Krav Maga was founded by Imi Lichtenfeld himself. Imi opened two gyms: one in the city of Netanya and the other in the city of Tel-Aviv. The academy in Tel-Aviv passed into Yaron’s hands in 1977. Yaron Lichtenstein is one of the only 10 students that Imi ever taught back in his day and is also one of the few Krav Maga practitioners to receive the Master Level 3 rank granted by the Supreme Master himself, Imi Lichtenfeld. In the BUKAN School of Krav Maga, you can learn basic and advanced Krav Maga just like how Imi taught it some 40+ years ago.
United States & Canada Krav Maga Organizations:
- United States Krav Maga Association – The USKMA offers Instructor Certification training several times per year in their affiliate gyms across the country, and they also have the option to travel to your gym. They also teach you how to successfully run a Krav Maga business.
- Israeli Krav Maga (Gidon Fighting System) (US HQ) – This organization which is also based in the United States follows the fighting style of the current head of the IKMA as Imi Lichtenfeld’s appointed successor and President, 10th – degree black belt Grandmaster Haim Gidon.
- Krav Maga Association of America – This organization is community focused and their programs include women’s empowerment, anti-bullying and safe program.
- Krav Maga Worldwide – Based also in America KMW has over 150 training centers all over the world and their primary programs include self-defense, fitness, fighting, Krav Maga for kids and Krav for women.
- Krav Maga Federation – Headed by Master Alain Cohen this organization is a proud follower of the teachings of Imi Lichtenfeld himself. The KMF offers instructor certification program as well as various law enforcement training programs.
- Krav Maga Institute (US HQ) – KMI like most Krav Maga organizations offers instructor certification training as well as professional tactical law enforcement and security services training. Their founder, Danny Zelig, has over 30 years of experience practicing and teaching Krav Maga and was once a member of the IDF.
- American Krav Maga Federation – This institution provides instructor certification programs as well as law enforcement and military programs. They have 7 Krav Maga schools located across the mainland United States including one in Hawaii.
- Atlas Krav Maga – This Krav Maga organization has trained Hollywood actors and stunt men and women, law enforcement agencies and military personnel. They operate in the East Coast United States and they work with top instructors in the U.S., Israel and other countries in order to stay updated with new training techniques and further develop their fighting style. AKM top instructor Molotov Mitchell holds the record for the fastest gun disarmament and he’ll teach you to get as close to that level of efficiency as possible. But it is entirely up to you and your willpower if you want to do better than him, also they won’t discourage you from doing so. In fact, they would want their students to excel their master so that they could teach others to do the same!
Central & South America Krav Maga Organizations:
- South American Federation of Krav Maga (Brazil) – The SAFKM as it seems is the only known Krav Maga organization operating in South America and may actually be the unifying institution where all South America-based KM schools get accreditation from. The man in charge of this association is a first generation student of the founder of Krav Maga himself – Imi Lichtenfeld; and his name is Kobi Lichtenstein, a Guinness world record holder for holding the largest self-defense class on May 22, 2010 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Much like all other KM organizations SAFKM trains civilians, but they also have a specialized self-defense training for people working in the military and police.
European Krav Maga Organizations:
- Krav Maga Street Defence (Germany) – One of the many Krav Maga institutions in Europe, Krav Maga Street Defence is based in Germany and is headed by Michael Rüppel. Coach Ruppel is an israeli black belt 6th degree was working in the security sector since 1992 and has a lot of experience in protecting people. He has been in the security detail of famous people like Gerhard Schröder, Dr. Ben Weider, Jean-Claude van Damme and dozens of other wealthy business owners and celebrities. KMSD has over a dozen training venues across Germany and they offer courses such as KM instructor course, women self defense, cross training, strong & safe kids, personnel training authorities training and the run-hide-fight ultimate survival course.
- British Krav Maga Association (UK) – The UK-based British Krav Maga Association or BKMA is the center-point of all Krav Maga schools and gyms in all of United Kingdom. The Krav Maga instructors that leads the BKMA are Mike Potter (19 years experience in different martial arts), Paul Grey (12 years experience in Krav Maga) and Rob Cook (21 years experience in Krav Maga). Their courses include instructor certification course, juniors’ course, military, police and security personnel’s course as well as Krav Maga for regular folks. You can sign up for any course you desire right on their homepage also.
- European Federation of Krav-Maga (France and UK) – The EFKM has two headquarters in Europe, one in France and one in London, UK but they are the same entity nonetheless. Richard Douieb is the founder and CEO of the EFKM and is one of Imi Lichtenfeld’s students between the years of 1974 and 1976. They have various KM courses including Kid Technical Program, adult technical program, and military instructor levels 1 and 2. If you’re in France or elsewhere in Europe and want to train in Krav Maga, then visit their website https://www.krav-maga.net/en/ and sign up for any training course you desire.
- Institute of Krav Maga Scotland (Scotland – SEE ALSO: Krav Maga Global) – A branch of Krav Maga Global in Scotland.
- Tactical Defense Krav Maga (Netherlands – SEE ALSO International Krav Maga Federation) – An International Krav Maga Federation certified school in the Netherlands. They have top notched instructors led by Yotim Nir and Jeroen Meyer under the guidance of Grandmaster Eyal Yanilov. Their classes include Krav Maga for adults and kids, training investigators and security officers, women (stay-away), in company training and more!
- Krav Maga Self Protect (Switzerland) – Based in Switzerland, this Krav Maga association is well-known in Central Europe and has several training facilities across the country as well as lots of Krav Maga courses for people from all walks of life. Among their favorite courses are the Krav Maga Self Protect, KM Women Protect, KM Junior Protect, KM Instructor Training and Security and Protect.
- United Krav Maga World Organization (Poland) – This Polish Krav Maga organization is every bit as good as the other KM associations in Europe and for a good reason too! The head instructor for this organization is Master Tomasz Adamczyk who has over 20 years experience in the martial arts and also has a military background. He is not only a Krav Maga instructor, a knife fighting coach but also a certified paramedic. This means that he’ll teach you to not only hurt the aggressors in the fight, but also help those innocent people that he’s hurt by providing first aid.
Middle Eastern Krav Maga Organizations:
- Israeli Krav Maga Association (IKMA) Gidon System (IS HQ) – This Israel-based Krav Maga association abbreviated as IKMA uses the Gidon System of fighting which had originated from Grandmaster Haim Gidon, who is a tenth dan black belt in the fighting style and is also the head of the association. While Krav Maga associations like the IKMA seems to add to the already numerous KM schools, gyms and other associations it accepts students from any part of the world who is currently living near or in Israel and is interested to learn the self-defense technique.
- Israeli Krav International (IS HQ also Global) – Another Krav Maga organization located in Israel is the Israeli Krav International or IKI. It is founded by the Grandmaster Moshe Katz who has over 30 years experience in martial arts and is certified by Israel’s national Martial Arts certification board, Wingate. IKI has the Tour and Train Program that includes Anti-Terrorism course, one Tour and Train T-shirt, one IKI Krav Maga T-shirt, box set – two full-length Krav Maga training DVD’s.
- Krav Maga Middle East (Dubai) – The KMME offers courses such as private training, specialized training for professionals, instructor courses, fitness training, group classes and events & workshops. They have an international team of highly trained Krav Maga instructors all of whom have military backgrounds. At KMME they practice a style of Krav Maga called KAPAP (Krav Panim el Panim), which prepares practitioners for hand-to- hand combat. KAPAP is exclusively used for military, law enforcement and private security training, so this is a rare opportunity for you if you want to train with them and gain skills not normally taught in most Krav Maga schools.
Asian & Pacific Krav Maga Associations:
- Krav Maga Global Australia & New Zealand (SEE ALSO: Krav Maga Global) – A branch of Krav Maga Global in Australia and New Zealand.
- Krav Maga Philippines (SEE ALSO: Krav Maga Global) – A branch of Krav Maga Global in The Philippines.
African Krav Maga Organizations:
- True Survival Krav Maga (South Africa) – according to their site the style of Krav Maga that they’re practicing is more advanced than most styles being taught today. They call it “Kalah” and it is the result of a combination of the original, refined form of special forces Krav Maga and the realistically effective, battle-tested form developed by Idan Abolnik. The training is supposed to provide realistic fighting scenarios, it is intense and it is comprehensive so that practitioners can vary their approach as each situation is unique. Their training courses include the Kalah, true anti-rape, true civilian tactical and others. TSKM have the best instructors who are also world class KM masters and they’ll teach you to become the best version of yourself.
Check out my extensive guide on Krav Maga training equipment with everything you’ll need for your sparring sessions.