History of Krav Maga

Imi_PicThe Krav Maga Story

The seeds of the unique Krav Maga Self Defense System were planted back in the late 1930’s in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia by a young man named Imi Lichtenfeld. Imi was a natural athlete, holding European championship titles in a variety of sports, including boxing, wrestling, and gymnastics. It was from his father, however, a famous and highly respected police detective and trainer, that Imi learned street fighting skills that he would use to save his own life and those of his neighbors on the rough streets of Eastern Europe.

Prior to World War II, Imi was fortunate enough to escape from Eastern Europe. He arrived in the Middle East and began fighting for the independence of Israel. Shortly after the formation of the fledgling State, Imi was handpicked by the government to create a practical, highly effective self defense and hand to hand combat system for the military. Keenly aware of the differences between sports competition and street survival, Imi developed the Krav Maga System, which was initially taught only to the Israeli Defense Forces, National Police, and Secret Service. Because of its incredible effectiveness, Krav Maga has since spread to the civilian population and is now taught throughout Europe, Scandinavia, Canada, Japan and the United States.

pic_hist__02Krav Maga… Combat for a modern world

Krav Maga is the official self defense and fighting system of the Israeli Defense Forces and U.S. law enforcement agencies. This wholly unique and original method was developed and refined during years of conflict. Krav Maga emphasizes easy-to-learn techniques that have been battle-tested in real, life threatening confrontations. There is nothing flashy about the system.

This street-oriented self defense program is favored by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies across the United States. While experienced fighters and law enforcement officers have consistently praised its highly practical applications, the system also has a broad-based appeal because of its simple, no-nonsense approach to personal safety. The system is characterized by a logical and coherent approach to self defense that enables one to achieve a relatively high level of proficiency within a short period of instruction. In fact, Krav Maga is the ideal self defense system
for men, women, and children of all ages and physical abilities.

According to medical doctors, chiropractors, and fitness experts, Krav Maga training provides a tremendous full-body workout. Krav Maga can help increase one’s stamina, flexibility, upper-body strength and lower-body strength.

Krav Maga’s History in The United States & Darren Levine

Darren Levine is the U.S. Chief Instructor of Krav Maga Worldwide, Inc. and Chairman of the Krav Maga Association of America, Inc., the official nonprofit governing entity of Krav Maga in the United States dedicated to educating the pic_hist__03civilian public and law enforcement agencies about Krav Maga. He holds a 6th degree black belt in Krav Maga, making him one of the highest ranked Krav Maga belt holders in the world and the highest ranked Krav Maga instructor in the United States.

Darren brought Krav Maga to the United States from Israel in 1981 after he participated in the first International Krav Maga Instructor’s Course offered to candidates from outside Israel. The course was sponsored by the Israeli Ministry of Education and supervised by Grandmaster Imi Litchtenfeld. Darren obtained a Full Instructor’s Degree from the Wingate Institute of Physical Education and Sport (Netanya, Israel) in 1984, and for the past 18 years, has trained not only with Imi, but also with other leading Krav Maga civilian and military instructors. Darren holds one of only two Founder’s Diplomas in existence for Krav Maga, presented to him by Imi for his extraordinary contributions to the Krav Maga system.

pic_hist__04Since 1981, Darren Levine and his incredible staff of certified instructors have met overwhelming success in bringing the Krav Maga self defense system and all of its benefits to thousands of civilian adults and children
throughout the country. Highly acclaimed courses in Krav Maga have also been taught to the men and women of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and select units of the military. This training has been enthusiastically embraced as the most unique and highly practical system of self defense and fighting tactics.

The largest of all Krav Maga programs established outside of the State of Israel was originally housed at Heschel Day School (Northridge, CA) and the University of Judaism (Bel Air, CA). Literally thousands of individuals have participated in these programs which were in existence for more than ten years. As the programs grew, the number of students in each class was staggering and the facilities simply could not accommodate the student population. The overwhelming enrollments at these programs were generated primarily by the word-of-mouth attestations of class participants, and were not due to any formal advertising campaign. The incredible popularity of Krav Maga children’s classes, adult classes, and especially the instruction of American law enforcement generated the need for the establishment of a full-time facility dedicated to the instruction of Krav Maga.

In addition, Darren serves as a Deputy District Attorney for the County of Los Angeles’spic_hist__05
C.A.P.O.S. Division, a special unit dedicated to prosecuting violent crimes committed against peace officers.

pic_hist__06The Krav Maga National Training Center

February 1997, the Krav Maga system enjoyed a truly historical event – the opening of the Krav Maga National Training Center in West Los Angeles. The 6,000 square foot facility is staffed by the highest qualified Krav Maga and fitness instructors in the United States. The community response to the Center has been tremendous. Over 1,600 students are training on a weekly basis, with 80 to 100 new members joining each month. As with the Heschel Day School and University of Judaism programs, the success of the Center is largely attributed to two main factors: 1) the incredible support from members training at the Center, and 2) acknowledgment by both local
and national media that the instructional self defense and fitness classes offered at the Center are among the hottest and most unique exercise and personal safety programs in the country.

The Mid-South Krav Maga Training Centers -


January 2004, the Krav Maga system expanded with the opening of the first Krav Maga Training Center in Memphis specifically in the Bartlett/Wolf Chase area with a one training floor in a 3,000 sq ft. retail space. The center grew from 7 students to over 200 in the first two years. In May 2006 Mid-South Krav Maga expanded with the opening the Mid-Town/East Memphis location with one training floor in a 1,882 sq ft. premier shopping center. In January 2007 the Mid-Town location expanded to provide a PREMIER Krav Maga training facility providing a 3,000 sq ft. fully equipped and upscale facility with a large lobby, pro-shop space and a very high end padded training floor. The Memphis location is now our flagship center and is a model for all future locations as Mid-South Krav Maga expands throughout the area.


In April 2008 Mid-South Krav Maga started an exciting new era as we expanded into the Nashville area. We have started with classes in two locations including FIT-Nashville in downtown Nashville and at the Cool Springs YMCA in the Brentwood/ Franklin area. A full retail center offering our extensive schedule will be opened in Nashville as soon as possible.

Mid-South Krav Maga Lead Instructor

pic_hist__08Patrick Terry is the Lead Krav Maga Instructor and Owner of Mid South Krav Maga. Patrick has been active in martial arts for over 21 years. He is a certified instructor within the Krav Maga Worldwide system and in the Force Training Division (Law Enforcement Only) as well as a KM-X Youth Instructor. Patrick’s martial arts history includes a 4th degree Black Belt in traditional karate and extensive cross-training in several other martial art disciplines. Patrick is involved in the KMW’s special Train the Trainer Program enabling the unique honor of training and evaluating future KM instructors. Patrick maintains a law enforcement commission as a Reserve Officer currently at the Gallatin Police Department. He regularly works in the field and teaches Defense Tactics to agencies throughout the Mid-South at both the officer and at the instructor level. Patrick has served as a Reserve Sergeant Deputy Sheriff with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office in multiple divisions including Patrol, the Gang Unit and Street Crimes. Patrick also has an extensive professional resume including a MBA from Christian Brothers University and a 16 year technology consulting career.