Looking at this video, it seems that Krav Maga has a lot in common with Aikido, suprisingly! A lot of the techniques demonstrated here seem to be from Aikido, and also, the keikogi is almost identical. Is this a general property of Krav Maga, or is it specific to this practitioner's style?

  • 3
    Can you expand on the particular techniques rather than linking to a video? It would help to have that descriptive text here in case that video is ever removed or if people can't access YouTube (and for whatever other reasons).
    – user15
    Commented May 14, 2012 at 14:22
  • @Matt, I see your point, but how can you describe 5 min video full of techniques? That would take few hours to describe, thousands of words, and who would ever read it? I'm afraid there's no way to answer this question but to watch the video.
    – Tomas
    Commented May 17, 2012 at 14:08
  • 1
    Then perhaps narrow your question down to a select part of the video, list them out, name the common moves, give some description of what you're asking. We've gone through this in another question, and I've explained my reasoning extensively in a meta post (see also the comments and the chat links). If anything, we can request YouTube embedding if it would benefit the community here, but the video by itself shouldn't be the question.
    – user15
    Commented May 17, 2012 at 14:23
  • No. Krav Maga actually works while Aikido is the ultimate form of Bullshido, and has absolutely zero techniques of value to teach anyone. Its highly unlikely if not impossible than an effective martial art would derive anything from aikido whatsoever.
    – TheBatman
    Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 17:04

7 Answers 7


Imrich Lichtenfeld - the founder of Krav Maga - does not appear to have any formal asian martial arts roots that I can find. His bios state that he learned wrestling and grappling from his father, and later honed his skills fighting on the street. (wikipedia, kravmaga.com). Once he immigrated to Israel he joined the para-military forces and started teaching self-defense techniques.

During that same time Aikido was being developed by Morihei Ueshiba. He based Aikido off of his years practicing Daitō-ryū, Tenjin Shin'yō-ryū, Gotōha Yagyū Shingan-ryū, and Judo. (wikipedia) He continued to refine the art throughout the duration of his life.

I watched the video. These are the techniques I felt were similar to Aikido.

  • Kotegaeshi - There were a number of examples of this
  • Iriminage - Several examples which looked very rough.
  • Nikyo - The angle was not good. It might have been nikyo.
  • Sankyo? - At one point (After the supposed nikyo) it looks like he does a sankyo against his chest.

Looking at the techniques:

  • Kotegaeshi is probably just a natural development of anyone experimenting with joint locks. There are only so many ways to bend the wrist.
  • Iriminage in this video is akin to a close line, and it doesn't have the fluidity or grace of most Aikido styles I've seen.
  • Those may be nikyo and sankyo, but again, there are only so many ways to hurt a wrist. They are probably variations on the same principles.

Because Imrich Lichtenfeld continued to evolve Krav Maga it is not impossible to say that Aikido may have eventually started to influence a few of the techniques, but there is nothing in his online biographies to suggest that. The two martial arts have very conflicting philosophies.

Krav Maga has a philosophy emphasizing threat neutralization, simultaneous defensive and offensive maneuvers, and aggression. wikipedia

Aikido is often translated as "the Way of unifying (with) life energy" or as "the Way of harmonious spirit." Ueshiba's goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury. wikipedia

  • 1
    Solid answer! Another big difference is the speed at which they are designed to be learned.
    – Btuman
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 13:45
  • Just a correction: Lichtenfeld trained at the Hercules Gymnasium, which was owned by his father, who taught self-defense. Lichtenfeld was a successful boxer, wrestler, and gymnast since his youth. He competed at national and international levels and was a champion and member of the Slovakian National Wrestling Team. He won the Slovakian Youth Wrestling Championship, and the adult championship in the light and middleweight divisions. That year, he also won the national boxing championship and an international gymnastics championship. See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imi_Lichtenfeld
    – mitro
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 12:56

There are only so many ways the body can be manipulated, off-balanced, locked, thrown, etc.

Put a bunch of students in a room and they'll argue about systemic differences.

Put a bunch of masters in a room and they know they're the same (but different).

I see an amazing number of similarities in seemingly-disparate arts.

  • 1
    I'm no master, but I know that I'm beginning to "get" a new system when I suddenly rediscover things I learned a long time ago in a dojo far, far away doing something entirely "different". Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 23:39
  • @dmckee Yep, a lot of stuff has a very similar "feel" even if there are differences of various magnitudes. I like those moments :) Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 23:47

This video you linked to isn't just Krav Maga. A lot of it is Israeli Ju Jitsu. Krav Maga is generally very static or 'rough' in it's movements, while Aikido (or at least the pieces of Aikido I have seen) is very fluent, and the fighting mechanics has an aesthetic focus.

The guy from this video (Roy Elghanyan) has another video where it's Krav Maga only, but his style is a bit different from the style I know best from the branch IKM (International Krav Maga).

In IKM you do not want to take the fight to the ground even though you train groundfighting, so Roy Elghanyan's takedowns are not to be preferred here. I should mention that IKM has a big focus on police and military training. This footage is from civilians taking a police course to get a taste of it.


That's clearly a man that has been practising a lot of martial arts, not just krav maga. There's lots of Brasilian Jujitsu in those videos, as well as typical aikido stuff (especially direct irimis, which are not found in almost every other martial art).

Summing up, it has not to be krav maga just because the video title says so.

  • Silat, taiji, kali/arnis have essentially identical moves--there's nothing unusual about taking the opponent's head to the "third point of the triangle", IMO. Unless you're talking about a different irimi nage; do you have a video reference? Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 21:50
  • Good call on practicing lots of martial arts, but I didn't see any BJJ in there. Sure there were Jujigatames, but the entries were all TJJ.
    – Robin Ashe
    Commented Aug 10, 2012 at 0:24

Krav Maga has indeed incorporated techniques from Aikido since the 1970's:

In 1968 Eli Avikzar began learning Aikido underneath the guidance of an Englishman named Mike and became his coaching partner after a year. Mike was astounded by Eli’s fast progress and allowed him to go abroad for his Black Belt training in Aikido. Following mike’s advice, Eli left for France in 1971, passed the test and received a brown belt in Aikido. Before his tour, Eli received his Black Belt in Judo, additionally to the first Black Belt ever given in Krav Maga, which he got from “Imi” in 1971. Upon his return, Eli started working alongside “Imi” in Netanya and Tel-Aviv training centers. Furthermore, they trained Soldiers and volunteer units. In 1977 Eli went to Germany and received a Black Belt level in Aikido from the European Federation.


There were two other creators of Krav Maga (beside Imi L) , who were Aikido black belts, so that's why you can see so many similarities.

Eli Avikzar and Rafi Algrisi (the two other aforementioned krav maga creators) both had black belts in aikido and judo. Elis Bio: http://www.wincol.ac.il/lp/kami-eli

Cant find any info on the internet about Rafi.

Everybody knows that Imi was a skilled boxer and wrestler, but you can clearly see that there is much more of other martial arts techniques in Krav Maga.


The aikido connection seemed natural to me. Considering that both Krav Maga and Aikido are modern "made up" martial arts and have no basis in "tradition". I was taken abak by the flow and simplicity of Krav Maga. It is like Aikido (Ho Chi Dao) in Chinese Ho = flowing with, in harmony, Chi = Chi and Dao = "the way". The flow of Krav Maga is so smooth. No extra posturing like formal Karate. The other obvious strong point of Krav Maga and Aikido is the use of leverage. An extended arm is not as strong as a move in close using the leverage and pivot of the body. Because they are "made up" by practical men well versed in grappling and wrestling it is no wonder they are similar. Chinese techniques of "Chin Na" Firm grasping are also present in Krav Maga, and revolve around the obvious limited ways of bending and exploiting holds.

  • 5
    -1: [..] Aikido are modern "made up" martial arts and have no basis in "tradition". This is utter rubbish. Aikido evolved from Daito ryu Aiki jujutsu practiced by the Takeda family of Kai Province (modern day Yamanashi Prefecture). It has many other influences due to Ueshiba learning various other martial arts during his life. Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 8:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.