By Sumiitra Yiohan Sooriaarratchi
I have recently discovered this interesting self-defense technique from Israel – Krav Maga (Contact Combat in Hebrew). Created by Imi Lichtenfeld during the 1930’s in Czechoslovakia; initially to defend the Jewish quarter of Bratislava against fascist thugs. It has been adopted by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and other militaries around the world. Krav Maga defers from other martial arts in that it is not an art; it has only one purpose – to stay alive.
From what I’ve researched so far, Krav Maga teaches a practical approach to self defense, physical and mental training. This includes raising awareness of your surroundings, alertness and ability to react in any given situation.
I’m on a journey to learn this form of self defense and have been doing some research on the best place to learn it in Southeast Asia. The martial arts classes / schools advertised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (like one in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur) didn’t sound convincing at all from what is written on their web sites (one reason why Krav Maga may not be popular in Malaysia is that Malaysia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel and therefore Israelis are not allowed to enter Malaysia). The write-up on the instructors didn’t show any solid background or experience in Krav Maga even though the academy claims to teach Krav Maga. Furthermore, I got the impression that the martial arts classes in Malaysia (especially Kuala Lumpur and its suburbs) are money making business ventures (run by both foreigners and locals) that charge exorbitant prices and target the middle to upper class customers, yuppies (young urban professionals) and people trying to lose weight – don’t trust these Malaysian con jobs.
Singapore was my next choice and yet again I didn’t find anything very impressive.
Finally, I found something worth exploring in Bangkok, Thailand – Siam Krav Maga. Now this appears to have qualified teachers with years of experience and the prices are cheaper than the classes in Malaysia. I will update you as soon as more details become available