The Differences Between Krav Maga Organizations

One of the most common questions we get is – what is the difference between the various forms of Krav Maga in NYC? Which is the best and which should I choose? In the New York City region alone there is the IKMF, IKMA, KMF and Commando Krav Maga, to name a few.

It must be confusing for a beginner when they start looking into the various forms of self defense systems and martial arts and find there are at least half a dozen different organizations that all claim to be the authentic, Krav Maga is no exception.

In NYC alone there are now at least 6 separate Krav Maga organizations.  We thought it would be helpful to provide a run down on a few of the options available out there and try and cut through some of the politics.

The first thing to say is that the NYC region has a number of very good Krav Maga schools and instructors.  We are lucky to have access to some of the best organizations and instructors Krav Maga has to offer.

Since the Krav Maga’s founding father, Imi Lichtenfeld, passed away in 1998, the Krav Maga world has split into various organizations that have each developed their methods along different lines. Here is a run down on some of the biggest and best (the great and the good) Krav Maga organizations in the New York region at the moment.

The Israeli Krav Maga Association (IKMA). The IKMA is the oldest Krav Maga organization in the world founded by Imi Lichtenfeld.  It was created to promote Krav Maga within Israel and remains in existence in Israel and in the USA. The IKMA is headed by one of Imi’s original students, Haim Giddon.  In the USA, it is led by David Kahn. The IKMA’s techniques were developed in Israel and are taught to the New Jersey Police Department, among others. The IKMA is a reputable organization that provides a high standard of training.  They are based out of Hamilton, New Jersey and they have recently opened a school in NYC.

The International Krav Maga Federation (IKMF).  When the IKMA became divided during Imi’s later years, due to disagreements amongst some of the higher graded instructors and Krav Maga started to spread beyond the borders of Israel, some of Imi’s most loyal and respected students and instructors, including Eyal Yanilov, Avi Moyal, Gabi Noah, and Eli Ben-Ami formed the IKMF with Imi’s blessing. The IKMF is a non-profit Israeli organization that was founded in 1996 and it is reputedly the biggest Israeli Krav Maga organization in the world (although, the IKMF has only recently arrived in the USA). The IKMF is now headed by another of Imi’s original students, Avi Moyal. In the USA, the IKMF instructor team is led by Tamir Gilad. Like the IKMA and KMF, the IKMF’s techniques have been developed in Israel over the years by teaching Israeli Defense Forces including special forces units and law enforcement professionals. One of the IKMF’s head instructors, Eyal Yanilov, broke ranks with the IKMF and formed Krav Maga Global (KMG) recently. The techniques and training methods taught by KMG instructors therefore very closely resemble those of the IKMF. Both the IKMF and KMG are reputable organizations that provide a high standard of training. There is an IKMF school in New York (NYC).  There aren’t currently any KMG schools in the New York region.

Krav Maga Federation (KMF).  The KMF has been in New York the longest of all the above organizations.  The KMF is currently led by another of Imi’s original students, Haim Zut in Israel. In the US, the KMF is led by Rhon Mizrahi.  The KMF’s philosophy follows the original guidelines, techniques and principles set forth by Imi Lictenfeld, without alteration. For instance, they have retained Imi’s belt system whereby material and techniques separate ranks of students. KMF is a reputable organization that provides a high standard of training. The KMF have a number of schools in New York City.

Krav Maga Academy and Krav Maga Crash are two other solid options available in the NYC region but they are much younger organizations.

There are differences in the techniques and teaching methods employed by the various organizations in New York. The only way of deciding which is for you is to try them and decide for yourself. Most students base their decisions on cost, convenience and the relationship with their instructors. We do not think any are worse or better than the other, they all provide excellent training, they are just different. If you stick to one of the organizations noted above, you can’t go far wrong. Choose a school that you can see yourself training at for a long time so make it convenient, cost effective and make sure you have a good relationship with your instructor.





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