Home Forums Krav Maga Worldwide Forums General KM Related Topics Krav Maga and WWII hand to hand combat

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
  • #30066

    Recently, I had a discussion with a good friend of mine. We were talking about Krav Maga and WW II hand to hand combat. (Fairbairn, Sykes, and Applegate)

    From what we know, The British were very serious about employing hand to hand combat against the Nazis then once the war was over then with the founding of Israel, the British and Americans taught WWII hand to hand combat to the Israelis,

    Did Imi Litchenfield also learn from these three men’s methods of WWII hand to hand combat (Fairbairn, Sykes, and Applegate)

    I thought some of the Krav Maga seemed similiar to WWII hand to hand combat.


    I am surprised nobody has responded yet. 😯

    I just am curious if Imi Litchenfield trained in WW II hand to hand combat before coming to make his own system, Krav Maga what it is today please ?

    Did Imi Litchenfield also by any chance know who Fairbairn, Sykes, and Applegate were, please ? Thank you very much.


    Hey, sorry I missed this question! It’s come up in the past.

    As far as I know, guys like Fairbairn, etc. didn’t have any influence. It is certainly possible — the British Mandate was in effect when Imi immigrated. But I’ve never heard it mentioned by anyone at all. Imi certainly never said it to Darren. Most of Imi’s influence came from his experiences in Bratislava and with the Haganah.


    Thank you John, I figured there might be about 50-50 chance that Imi Litchenfield might have come across WW II hand to hand combat but then he may not have come across WW II hand to hand combat.

    If he did come across WW II hand to hand combat at that time, it may have been because he was watching the British army train daily in hand to hand combat and the British may have invitied him to train with them. There is no known mention of this.

    Also, the British did not exactly treat the jewish holocaust survivors and the jewish immigrants that great when Israel was being founded. I think the British had a double standard policy towards the Israelis when the British Manadate was still strongly enforced. I think it had more to do with population control amongst many another issues, at that time.

    Yes, you are right, most of Imi’s influence came from his experiences in Bratislava and with the Haganah.


    The Haganah were trained by yhe British to fight the Nazi’s. They were trained to fight a commando war. Early Israeli martail arts would have been influenced bt the FAS system., because it was the British commando system. WWII combatives instuctors I’ve talked to online like krav cause they see the influence.

    So there is more than a 50/50 chance Imi came accross it and A higher probability that it was an influence.

    Military martial arts are never the work of one man, because militaries don’t work that way.


    Re: Krav Maga and WWII hand to hand combat

    If Imi served with free Czechoslovakian forces in WW2 against the Germans in Africa, wouldn’t he have had hand to hand combat training from British army trainers? What was the general British training then, based on Commando training?


    Re: Krav Maga and WWII hand to hand combat

    US Army H2H manual here: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/3-25-150/index.html

    and the Marine Corps Martial Arts manual here:



    Re: Krav Maga and WWII hand to hand combat

    Hi All

    As a bit of a Fairbairn-Sykes-Applegate aficionado this is a subject that’s always been very interesting to me. I’ve studied the issue for quite some time. Obviously in view of the length of time since the events in question it’s difficult to get objective answers and a lot of the information is conflicting.

    From what i can gather however it’s fairly clear that a number of Jewish soldiers (either having managed to get away from the Nazis or even having come from the Mandate) did end up fighting in the British forces. An official Jewish Brigade was formed in 1944 but there’s no doubt many a Jewish person fought under the flag well before that.

    These groups were certainly exposed to the Camp X style training and individuals may even have attended; especially the ‘commando’ type units that ended up being sent to fight in the Balkans.

    Many of these chaps found their way back to the Mandate after the War. They are likely to have formed the core of the Haganah (and possibly Irgun and the Stern Group as well) so it’s likely they brought what they had learnt with them. That is likely to have come to Imi’s attention. Practical chap that he was he may well have incorporated some of the methodology into KM. Remember that the British would have called the techniques CQC/B so in Hebrew this is likely to have come out as KM or KAPAP in any event without necessarily intending to refer to a particular system. There is also likely to have been a great deal of overlap because of the parallel evolution of the systems. Both Imi and Fairbairn had the same goal when it all comes down to it.

    The more speculative/controversial elements suggest that IMI may have actually served in a British trained Palmach unit and/or even served with the British during the 45-48 period. I can see the first possibility perhaps but the second seems unlikely in view of IMI’s well know patriotism, unless of course he just wanted to get the inside dope and was doing a bit of intelligence gathering.

    The Haganah however were well known for snaffling British kit (as they would otherwise have been left practically unarmed) and they may well have studied how the British troops were trained just for practical Sun Szu ‘know your enemy’ reasons. If they thought the British methods (in any area of combat) had anything to offer they would no doubt have considered adopting it.

    I also met some guys from the Wingate and they told me that there are quite a few old copies of ‘Get Tough’ and similar in their archives. They may just have been pulling my leg though.

    I’d love to get to the bottom of all this. Even if it turns out there is a F-S-A influence in KM that does not in any way detract from Imi’s considerable achievements. He took ideas from many styles, both Western and Eastern, it’s getting mix right that’s the skill. I know my way around the ingredients isle of many local food shops but i can’t cook for jack.


    Re: Krav Maga and WWII hand to hand combat

    Interesting question, interesting thread.
    I’ve been wondering about that question for quite some time now, because I’m both a KM AND Combatives aficionado.

    I don’t know about the influence the Fairbain/Sykes/Applegate system had on KM, but I know two things for sure:

    A) There’s common combatives between the WWII Combatives and the KM curriculum, e.g. chops, axe hands, tiger claws, etc…

    B) Imi was a Palmach instructor. Some of the Haganah fighters have been trained by the Brits, including vets from the Jewish Brigade who later immigrated to Israel (the land).

    I think that we can’t see, or can’t see anymore the influence WWII Combatives had on KM for a very simple reason: the current KM system, no matter through which organization it is taught, is mostly aimed to the civilians, so it emphasizes on the experience Imi had on the streets, while obviously, the WWII Combatives are a military system.

    But the historical aspect is one thing -and as an history fan I find that fascinating-, the tactical one is another.

    What I see is that KM and Combatives perfectly fit together.
    IMHO including some Combatives aspects in a KM curriculum can’t be anything but great.
    But thus being said, I’m no KM nor Combatives instructor.

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Get Training!


For more information call now at


or fill out the form below: