Friday, May 30, 2014
The IDF’s Best of the Best: Krav Maga Competition
The IDF’s most elite soldiers battled it out to see who is the best of the best in Krav Maga.
The IDF’s top units – including Sayeret Matkal, Duvdevan and Shayetet 13 – each chose their top fighters to battle against each other in the second annual Krav Maga competition, which took place at the IDF’s School for Combat Fitness in Netanya.
The competition had three weight classes. The first place winners this year were Duvdevan in the light weight class, Unit 504 in middle weight, and Duvdevan in the heavyweight category.
However, the most overall wins went to the Maglan Unit.
During the competition, some fighters exhibited styles from different forms of martial arts, including Muay Thai and Judo.
“Some people who practice Krav Maga have practiced other fighting style like Judo and boxing before coming to the army, so sometimes it shows in their fighting,” said Maj. Yaron Minister, who oversees training Krav Maga throughout the IDF. However, according to Maj. Minister, some soldiers begin learning Krav Maga without any previous background.
“Krav Maga is an Israeli form of self defense that’s self encompassing. It’s a system that provides solutions for immediate problems. It has no rules, except to move from a trapped position to a position of control: this could mean disabling your opponent, or escape.”
“We are trying to create a buzz about Krav Maga,” said Maj. Minister. “We are trying to embed it into the army as a way of life for a fighter.”
“What we do today with the elite units,” added Maj. Minister “will tomorrow be incorporated into regular units.”
One of the biggest concerns in the IDF is the kidnapping of soldiers. In fact, the military police have taken to staging mock-kidnappings to catch soldiers illegally hitchhiking on the roads.
Therefore, Krav Maga training has already started spreading to units around the IDF, where before it seemed less necessary. For example, in 2012, officer cadets of the Armored Corps held a exercise that was both unique and irregular, as it was the first time in history when so much emphasis was placed on Krav Maga for Armored commanders.
Ordinarily, the armored brigade would have no need for Krav Maga training, yet this perception changed after capture of Gilad Shalit, who was himself in an armored unit.