Imi Sde-Or (Lichtenfeld)
Founder and creator of Krav Maga
Imi Sde-Or (formerly, Imrich Lichtenfeld), founder of Krav Maga, was born in 1910 in Hungary and grew up in Bratislava, Slovakia. In a home where sports, law and Central European education were equally respected and encouraged, it was no surprise when Imi became an award-winning athlete, wrestler and boxer.
In the mid-1930s, however, Imi felt he had to take his fighting skills to the streets to protect Jewish neighborhoods from the growing numbers of fascist and anti-Semitic thugs who swarmed in Bratislava at the time. Having become a thorn in the side of the equally anti-Semitic local authorities, Imi left his home, family and friends in 1940 on the last refugee ship to escape Europe and the tightening Nazi noose.
After making his way to Palestine, Imi was quickly welcomed into Israel’s pre-state Hagana military organization. With his hard-won experience and skills as a fighter, Imi instructed Hagana troops in the practical lessons of hand-to-hand combat he had internalized and ultimately systematized. In 1948, when the State of Israel was founded, Imi became the Israel Defense Force’s first Chief Instructor for Physical Fitness and Krav Maga. He served his country in uniform for 20 years, during which he further developed and refined his unique self-defense and combat system.
After retiring from the army, Imi felt that Krav Maga could and should be adapted to meet the self-defense needs of civilians – men, women and children. Starting with just two training centers in Israel, within a decade his closest assistant – Eyal Yanilov, had established Krav Maga schools around the world through which he could share Imi’s self-defense methods, values and philosophy. No matter how, where and whom he taught, Imi always took great care to promote his universal principles: respect for one’s fellow, avoidance of undue or unjustified use of force, modesty, peace-loving conduct, and strict adherence to fair play.
Until his very last days, at over eighty-seven years of age, Imi continued to develop Krav Maga techniques, concepts and instructional methods with the devoted assistance of his closest student, Eyal Yanilov.
Recruited by Grandmaster Imi Sde-Or to train Krav Maga instructors and high-level students, Eyal eventually became the Grandmaster’s closest student and assistant. He is the only individual to whom Imi personally awarded both the Founder’s Diploma of Excellence and the then-unprecedented rank of Expert Level 8 – the highest rank in Krav Maga.
Together, Imi and Eyal wrote a series of books laying out the principles of the Krav Maga system in an accessible format, aimed at the civilian sector. Soon after, as head of the Israeli Krav Maga Association’s professional committee, Eyal created a new curriculum for Krav Maga, and transformed it into an organized, formal system built on principles of action and unique instructional methods. Alongside efforts to spread the discipline of Krav Maga among the general public, Eyal was also training anti-terrorist units in Israel according to the principles of combat as expressed in Krav Maga.
Eventually, Eyal traveled abroad and began to teach the system in many countries around the world. In the United States and Europe, Eyal taught Krav Maga to special military and law enforcement units, as well as to civilians. In order to manage the challenge of making Krav Maga truly international, Eyal founded an international Krav Maga federation and served as its president, under the tutelage and with the support of Grandmaster Imi. In practice, Eyal has personally trained all of the world’s first-generation Krav Maga instructors.
Since Imi’s death in 1998, Eyal has taken upon himself the responsibility of leading the continuing development of Krav Maga. On 2010 he established KMG – Krav Maga Global. Eyal continues to train instructors and staff all over the world, and has created a global infrastructure for disseminating the system. At present, under Eyal’s personal supervision, a team of elite instructors – The KMG Global Team – is bringing Krav Maga to a wide and growing array of countries.
In addition to the many civilians training in Krav Maga centers, military and police special forces from around the world have adopted Krav Maga – as taught by Eyal and his team – as their preferred combat fighting system.
While harnessing decades of practical experience from around the world, Eyal Yanilov’s Krav Maga Global is proud to preserve and promote the authentic mental, moral and professional path outlined by Krav Maga’s founder, Imi Sde-Or.
He began teaching Krav Maga and then became an IKMF instuctor in 1999.
With a psychotherapist training, Serge Bridoux is a passionate and perfectionist individual who has a special interest in various disciplines such as nutrition, diet, physiology, personal coaching, teaching and philosophy. He also has interest in other sports like athletics and horse riding.
His expertise in the field of Krav Maga is the result of many personal training combined with extensive research. His disciplined life, sense of pedagogy, as well as his knowledge of the human being make him a full instructor. He is certified by Eyal Yanilov (founder of KMG) and he is now chief instructor for Belgium and the Grand-Duché of Luxembourg.