Most people think the shortest book in the world would be a book on famous Jewish athletes. Fuck that. Imi Lichtenfeld was not only an accomplished athlete, he came up with one of the most ripshit-badass martial arts styles in the world, Krav Maga, which should be Hebrew for "I'm going to fuck you up so bad your grandsons are gonna be born without ballsacks." (really it means 'close combat')
Born in 1910, Lichtenfeld grew up in the town of Bratislava in what was once the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His dad had joined the circus when he was 13 (yeah, the motherfucker ran away to the goddamn circus), where he learned about martial arts, wrestling, gymnastics, fire-eating, weightlifting, and how to properly pound a hot Central European contortionist. After dedicating 20 to years mastering the ninja-like arts of Ultimate Badassery, all of these lessons were then passed on to his son Imi, who we're focusing on today.
At his dad's encouragement, Lichtenfeld got into a wide variety of sports and worked his ass off to be a champion boxer, wrestler, and gymnast (you kind of have to be a gymnast to have 1337 N1NJ4 5K177zorz) in the late 1920s and early 30s. Unfortunately, being a Jew in Central Europe during this time was fucking hazardous to one's health, because Adolf Goddamned Hitler was throwing his nuts around like he owned the place. This convinced a bunch of other Aryan anti-Semite assholes to start trying to stomp nuts in Jewish neighborhoods just to be total dicks. Being a natural badass, Lichtenfeld got a bunch of his boxing and wrestling buddies together to convince these Teutonic fuckwads that it was ill-advised to fuck with the Chosen People of God Almighty. Shit, you’d think someone would pick up a history book one day and take a look at what happens to people who fuck with the Jews - the Persians, Babylonians, Romans, Assyrians, Philistines, Midianites, and Egyptians all got a taste, and look what happened to them - but the Nazis decided to give it a good honest college try anyway. Well while in the process of suplexing jackasses through tables and laying out motherfuckers with his massive right hook, Lichtenfeld noticed that even though his combat skills were fucking awesome, boxing and wrestling weren't the Supreme Embodiment of Ultimate Asskicking because they relied on stupid shit, like rules. In order to optimize his face-destroying potential, he came up with the concept of Krav Maga, a badass fucking martial art that consists of four basic principles:
- Do as much damage in as little time as possible.
- Change from defending to attacking as quickly as possible (including simultaneously).
- Use items around you as weapons.
- Be aware of everything that is happening around you.
You don’t see anything in those principles about love for other people, meditating on your navel to become one with the universe or flowing like water. No, the main focus is: "GET SUPER-FUCKING PISSED AND SMACK THAT DOUCHEBAG IN THE HEAD WITH A BRICK." This isn't a hobby or a sport; It's a tool to help you maim, cripple, and destroy your enemies.
Krav Maga is based on the assumption of No Quarter, meaning that you have to assume that your enemy is trying to kill you. Your objective is to control the situation, neutralize your enemy by kicking him in the balls until he coughs up his prostate, break every major joint on his body, and escape. There are no holds barred, no illegal strikes, and no such thing as excessive force. Students are trained in techniques to defend against knife attacks, guns, shotguns, and hostage situations. Fuck, they even have an entire series of maneuvers designed to take out a motherfucker who is jamming an assault rifle in your face. This fighting style does not screw around.
Anyway, with all this shit going down in his neighborhood Lichtenfeld went underground and started fucking up Anti-Semites whenever he got the chance (It's important to note that not all non-Jews living in Central Europe were anti-Semitic. Most people are pretty content to live their lives without fucking with anyone else as long as they are not fucked with themselves), but since the Nazis were running Central Europe at the time, and Indiana Jones wasn’t about to go kick Hitler in the dick, Lichtenfeld eventually caught the last ship out of Eastern Europe. Oh, and during his two-year voyage to British Palestine one of Imi's friends fell overboard in the middle of a storm, so Lichtenfeld unhesitantly jumped in the freezing cold fucking water and pulled the dude to safety.
Naturally, once he was in Palestine Lichtenfeld wanted to help out with kicking some Nazi ass, so he flexed his pecs, grabbed a rifle and went to go fight with the Jewish forces serving under the British. This dude was such a badass that he was teaching hand-to-hand combat to the already British commando-trained Palmach, a secret underground core of supreme assbeaters that would eventually become the Israeli Special Forces. After the Nazis got their asses handed to them by the Allied Forces of Sheer Baddassiosity, the Brits decided they didn't want to get between the Jews and Palestinians who were fighting for a piece of land about the size of New Jersey so they packed their shit and left in 1947. That was promptly followed by an Israeli-Arab war for independence and the eventual establishment of the State of Israel. In 1948, Imi Lichtenfeld was named Chief Asskicking Instructor for the entire Israeli military, mostly because he was a hardcore motherfucker who could teach most people to fight their way out of being buried alive. He taught the badass IDF forces 20 years before retiring from military service and teaching Krav Maga to the general public.
Lichtenfeld wasn't just a badass just because he could pimp-slap Hitler and make him ask for seconds. He wasn't even a badass just because he fought in a bunch of wars, liberated his people, fought the Nazis, and defended his neighbors against hate-filled street gangs by kneeing his foes in the solar plexus until they barfed. Imi Lichtenfeld was a badass because he played Mr. Miyagi to an entire nation, spending 30 years teaching people how to reach down some asshole's throat and pull out a hand clenching an inverted nutsack. He's a badass because he adapted a fighting style to fit his peoples' needs, innovated the Supreme Art of the Beat Down in ways that others could only attempt to emulate, and had a really cool mustache.
YouTube: Knife to the Throat Defense
YouTube: Gun to the Head while Kneeling Defense