Emrich Lichtenfeld - Sde-Or
(26.5.1910 - 9.1.1998)
Emrich "Imi" Lichtenfeld (Sde-Or) the founder of Krav Maga (contact fight) was born in 1910, in Budapest, Hungary. Inspired by his father he began to practice a variety of sports activities. He excelled in swimming, gymnastics, wrestling and boxing. In 1928 he won the teenage wrestling championship in Slovakia and in 1929 he won the National Championship. In the same year he won the Slovakia National Boxing Championship as well as an International Championship in gymnastics.
In 1942 “Imi” emigrated to Israel and was drafted by Izchak Sade to the “Hagana". By 1944 “Imi” was guiding soldiers in his fields of expertise which included physical training, swimming, assault and defense with a knife and face-to-face combat using sticks (a technique taken from the English police).
“Imi's” status was established as a Physical Education teacher in charge of self-defense. After the Declaration of Independence “Imi” joined the I.D.F and carried on as Head P.E. and Krav Maga instructor. “Imi” continued to develop defense exercises for knives, firearms, spear rifle and various attacks. He incorporated exercises from Jujitsu such as grip releases. This was the birth of Krav Maga (contact fight) in the I.D.F. and “Imi’s” memorable saying "The Shortest and the Fastest way" is the best.
In time, “Imi” noticed that some of the exercises were too complicated, and could not be performed by all the soldiers, so he revised and adjusted the exercises so that every soldier could perform them after a short practice period.
“Imi” retired from the army in 1964 and went on to establish a private training center in Netanya for Krav Maga, Jujitsu and Gymnastics. In civilian life, Krav Maga had developed to new heights as civilians who were interested in Self Defense compared this method to other techniques, further stimulating the development of the method.
The methods ideology was to prevent getting injured, by "Do what you can, but don't get hurt" and by utilizing the "simplest and easiest way". According to this ideology “Imi” developed new exercises suitable for every person. In 1971 “Imi” granted the first Black Belt in Krav Maga to his loyal and talented student, Eli Avikzar, who in time continued developing Krav Maga (known today as Krav-Magen) and later founded the Israeli Krav Magen Association - K.A.M.I.
The first Dan 1 Black Belt levels issued by “Imi”