Imrich (“Imi”) Sde-Or (Lichtenfeld), the founder of the IKMF, was born in 1910 in Budapest in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He grew up in Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital, and engaged in a wide range of sports, such as swimming, boxing, wrestling and gymnastics. He trained at a Gymnasium owned by his father, who taught self-defence. Imi excelled in wrestling both as a contestant and as a trainer, also winning several awards in these fields.
In 1944 he began training fighters in his areas of expertise: physical fitness, swimming, wrestling, use of the knife, and defences against knife attacks. Imi trained various elite army units, as well as groups of police officers. He then developed and refined his unique method for self-defence and hand-to-hand combat.Imi later began adapting and modifying Krav Maga to civilian needs. The method was formulated to suit everyone – men and women, boy or girl, who might need it to save their life or survive an attack while sustaining minimal harm, whatever the background of the attack. He trained teams of Krav Maga instructors and monitored the trainees’ progress and achievements, captivating them with his personality and imparting them with his knowledge and unique personality.
Krav Maga has spread all over the world, and is being used by security forces including the FBI, as well as in VIP protection, anti-terrorism and men, women and children of all ages.