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Krav Maga Is the New Tae Kwan Do

IDF martial art gains popularity

Marc Tracy
August 02, 2010
Trading Karate Kicks for Martial Arts(NYT)
Trading Karate Kicks for Martial Arts(NYT)

Trend! American children—Jewish and not—are taking Krav Maga classes. The official martial art of the Israel Defense Forces (though it actually originated in the Jewish quarter of 1930s Bratislava, which faced fascist and then Nazi intimidation), it has spread from various regional police departments to Hollywood (Ashton Kutcher recently studied it for a role) to, finally, suburbia.

A year ago, Lee Smith reported on Krav Maga for Tablet Magazine:

Where most martial arts take years of training to become proficient, Krav Maga, which translates as contact combat, was suited to the exigencies of a growing community of non-professional soldiers that needed to learn how to protect itself and fight in a hurry. Its emphasis is less on form than efficiency, and it instills a spirit of heightened aggressiveness, where practitioners are taught to attack and defend at the same time and use any available object as a weapon.

“This is not to be used if someone takes your parking space at the mall,” cautions one instructor. Well, perhaps unless said mall is in Massapequa.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.