Welcome to Federation of Israeli Martial Arts

FIMA is a non-political, governing, unifying and certifying body that supports and promotes
ALL styles of Israeli Martial Arts and self-defense.

Welcome to Federation of Israeli Martial Arts

FIMA is a non-political, governing, unifying and certifying body that supports and promotes
ALL styles of Israeli Martial Arts and self-defense.

Our mission

1) To educate civilians, military, security and law enforcement personnel around the world in Israeli Martial Arts and to provide a forum by which ideas and techniques may be exchanged for the benefit of all. 

2) To unify all practitioners of Israeli Martial Arts under one umbrella whereby we can work together focusing on our common principles and philosophies while benefiting in productive ways from our differences.

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With the recent terrorist activities brought to light in the last few years and the number of deadly weapon assaults at an all-time high, civilians, law enforcement, and even the military are now more than ever vulnerable to random acts of violence. Personal safety and security cannot be assumed. Aggravated assault, armed burglary, rape, kidnapping, home intrusion, carjacking, murder, terrorism as well as random acts of violence are on the rise. Solidifying the need for practical, realistic self-protection. There are no better systems for this in the world than Israeli martial arts and self-defense tactics.

There has been an explosion in the number of Israeli systems and styles. The terms Israeli Defense and Krav Maga have become commonplace and attract a great deal of attention. With the increased appeal of Israeli systems, there has been far too much time spent arguing over who is the rightful heir, who has a claim to “original” systems and trying to get “a piece of the pie” - the martial art and self-defense market.

FIMA was formed specifically to rise above this conflict for the purpose of sharing commonalities, enhancing education, providing networking opportunities, and analyzing techniques and tactics from various styles in a non-partisan and non-biased way for the benefit of all Israeli martial arts practitioners.

Benefits of FIMA Membership

  • Free ID Membership Card, Logo Patch, Official Membership Certificate, FIMA t-shirt
  • Members can attend one free class in any FIMA school around the world when they visit (must present your FIMA ID card).
  • Network with the largest worldwide group of Israeli Martial Arts practitioners.
  • Exposure to a wide variety of Israeli martial arts and self-defense styles.
  • Eligibility for recognition of current rank, belt, or instructor certification. Submission of application and appropriate documentation from a recognized Israeli Martial Arts organization required.
  • Participation in FIMA-sanctioned seminars/workshops to attain rank levels or instructor certification.
  • Access to members-only section of the FIMA website for FIMA BREAKDOWN (weekly videos featuring specific IMA techniques to provide continuing education), and other members only information.
  • Discounts for FIMA merchandise - 5% for 3 yr Members and 10% for LIFETIME members
  • Priority admission for FIMA-sponsored workshops and seminars.
  • Online learning through our future FIMA university.

Types of Memberships

FiMA MEMBERSHIP

To become a member, select the JOIN NOW button below to complete the application online.  The ability to apply as an Instructor is on the Membership application.
You will then be directed to the payment section to complete membership process.

3 year memberships are $125 including the above items.  We offer lifetime memberships, payment options,  as well as a monthly subscription of $4.99.  Details are on the checkout page once you submit your application below.

INSTRUCTOR

Following completion of a certified instructor training course in any officially-recognized Israeli martial art, FIMA members in good standing are eligible to apply for FIMA Instructor Recognition or FIMA Instructor Certification. Requires submission of proper documentation and approval of FIMA directors. 

The Israeli Advantage

  • Traditional martial arts schools have lost the actual application of many techniques. Fundamental to Israeli martial arts and self-defense styles are the actual applications.
  • Traditional martial arts, in general, rely on consistency; teaching the same techniques over decades or even centuries. Israeli martial arts are continually modified to address the need for new and evolved techniques, the ever-changing world and novel attack strategies and tactics.
  • Not for sport or competition – Israeli MMA being the application and exception.
  • Continuously and realistically tested.
  • Focus on essential movements.
  • Instinctive – when possible.
  • Simplicity.
  • Utility of movement.
  • Adaptability - continuous evolving.
  • Effectiveness.
  • Emphasize teaching of principles over techniques.
  • Priority on physical conditioning.
  • Success less dependent on practitioner’s strength.
  • Focus on mental toughness and preparedness – stress training.
  • Psychologic and verbal de-escalation techniques.
  • Instructors have experience in security, law enforcement and/or military – serving or teaching.
  • Weapon training restricted to those commonly used on the street: sticks, knives, firearms, explosives, etc
  • Weapon training in how to effectively use – not just disarming techniques.
  • All aspects of a realistic fight – armed and unarmed addressed.
  • Multifaceted such that success not dependent on expertise in any one tactic such as punches, kicks, throws, grappling.
  • Hybrid systems borrowing from multiple systems such as judo, jiujitsu, wrestling, muay thai, aikido, karate, escrima, kung fu, Brazilian jiu jitsu, etc.
  • Simultaneous defense and attack
  • Continuous defense/attacks (retzev) until an attacker is neutralized.
  • Striking focus is against resistance – body or bag rather than in the air.
  • Use of improvisational weapons and weapons of opportunity – no rules.
  • No point sparring. Sparring is performed with realism as focus to neutralize attacker and develop fight strategy.
  • Self-defense strategies/techniques merged with Close Quarters Combat systems – prepares for self-protection whether surprised in an attack or behind enemy lines.

The Israeli Advantage

  • Traditional martial arts schools have lost the actual application of many techniques. Fundamental to Israeli martial arts and self-defense styles are the actual applications.
  • Traditional martial arts, in general, rely on consistency; teaching the same techniques over decades or even centuries. Israeli martial arts are continually modified to address the need for new and evolved techniques, the ever-changing world and novel attack strategies and tactics.
  • Not for sport or competition – Israeli MMA being the application and exception.
  • Continuously and realistically tested.
  • Focus on essential movements.
  • Instinctive – when possible.
  • Simplicity.
  • Utility of movement.
  • Adaptability - continuous evolving.
  • Effectiveness.
  • Emphasize teaching of principles over techniques.
  • Priority on physical conditioning.
  • Success less dependent on practitioner’s strength.
  • Focus on mental toughness and preparedness – stress training.
  • Psychologic and verbal de-escalation techniques.
  • Instructors have experience in security, law enforcement and/or military – serving or teaching.
  • Weapon training restricted to those commonly used on the street: sticks, knives, firearms, explosives, etc
  • Weapon training in how to effectively use – not just disarming techniques.
  • All aspects of a realistic fight – armed and unarmed addressed.
  • Multifaceted such that success not dependent on expertise in any one tactic such as punches, kicks, throws, grappling.
  • Hybrid systems borrowing from multiple systems such as judo, jiujitsu, wrestling, muay thai, aikido, karate, escrima, kung fu, Brazilian jiu jitsu, etc.
  • Simultaneous defense and attack
  • Continuous defense/attacks (retzev) until an attacker is neutralized.
  • Striking focus is against resistance – body or bag rather than in the air.
  • Use of improvisational weapons and weapons of opportunity – no rules.
  • No point sparring. Sparring is performed with realism as focus to neutralize attacker and develop fight strategy.
  • Self-defense strategies/techniques merged with Close Quarters Combat systems – prepares for self-protection whether surprised in an attack or behind enemy lines.

Israeli Martial Art Styles

See History of Israeli defense. In Hebrew Krav Maga means Contact-Combat. It is a military self-defense and fighting system developed for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Krav Maga grew out of Kapap – the original self-defense system in Israel. The terms were used interchangeably for several years and by the 1960’s Krav Maga became its own system. Hungarian-born Israeli martial artist Imi Lichtenfeld greatly contributed to Krav Maga when he was a Kapap instructor and then became head of the Krav Maga division. When he retired, Imi established the first civilian school of Krav Maga. Krav focuses on real-world situations, practicality, efficiency, and instinct. It was initially a blended system of boxing, wrestling, Jiu Jitsu, Judo and Karate. The emphasis in Krav Maga is a philosophy of aggression, simultaneous defense and offense and continuous movements until the opponent is unable to continue. The other facet of Krav Maga that makes it different from most martial arts is its emphasis on simplicity of movement and that it is easy to teach and quick to learn. There are many organizations, associations and federations. Most have similar techniques.

South African born, 9th Dan Black Belt, Dr. Dennis Hanover emigrated to Israel in 1960. He was a specialist in several traditional martial arts including Judo, Jiujitsu, and Kyukoshinkai Karate (under founder Mas Oyama). Hanover developed Hisardut (Survival) as a blended system applying them to real-life threats and challenges. He taught Israeli Special Forces units a more advanced close combat method than the Krav Maga program taught to regular IDF troops. Several elite Israeli military units have been trained in Hisardut including Reconnaissance Unit (Sayeret Matkal), Naval Commandos (Shayetet 13), Anti-terrorist Unit (Yamom) and border patrol riot suppression teams (Mishmar Hagvul). In Israel, civilian Hisardut programs have are named Dennis Hisardut. There are a growing number of Hisardut organizations, associations and styles.

Kapap - first CQB training and combat doctrine introduced in Israeli history, made up of a combination of several fighting styles such as boxing, judo, jujitsu, combat with knife, gun and rifle. The emphasis is put on fighting empty handed against each of these weapons, and weapon against weapon. Kapap is suitable for all fighting fields and enables the warrior to overcome any kind of fighting and prepares him to almost any possible situation. Kapap slowly evolved into Krav Maga. Mid 1960s, the term Kapap mostly disappeared from common usage. Kapap is not a sport nor is it competitive; it is also not a martial art but a great mean of self-defense. The Kapap warrior is a fast, precise and lethal fighting machine. Kapap is made suitable to different levels of the learners: children, teenagers, adults, policemen, soldiers, security and armed forces personnel and bodyguards.

A Kapap person is prepared for any situation against any kind of weapon. He will know how to defend himself and his surroundings against any form of attack which puts him or his environment in danger. He will be able to operate, shall the need arise, with excellent skills, different kinds of weapons and firearms. A Kapap warrior knows he will never compete, never receive a medal or trophy when he overcomes an opponent. However, he will gain his life which is the true reward.

Strategies and techniques for disarming along with proper use of weapons, infiltration and sabotage tactics are incorporated. In 1999 Kapap started being taught in an organized manner. Many martial arts lost their fighting effectiveness and became soft in order to meet the needs of sports competitions. Kapap came back in light of the terrible security situation and street crime which created the need for real self-defense techniques.

Former Haganah and IDF instructor Haviv Galisko started teaching modern Kapap in Israel in 1999. The late Haviv Galisko was born and raised in Jerusalem. Haviv was a member of the Hagana one of the "defenders" and road openers of the city of Jerusalem. A soldier in the Moriah regiment, he fought and was wounded twice during the "Kattamon" and the "St. Simon" monastery battles. Haviv was one of the first Kapap instructors in the "Hagana". He learned the secrets of the art of defense from a British sergeant as well as from his brother Moshe who served as a brigade soldier who fought in Greece, Italy and Libya and died during the inroad to Jerusalem. Haviv Galisko became a Kapap trainer for the Hagana and then for the IDF after Israel became a state. After being wounded, Haviv went on training Kapap at the the YMCA in Jerusalem. He then moved to Be'er Sheva where he continued to teach his firstborn Moshe-Hai Galisko. In 1972, he helped his son Moshe open the first Kapap and Karate Training Club. From 1979 to 1981, Moshe taught Kapap in the city of Yamit in the Gaza Strip. From 1987 until the day he passed away (2005), Haviv helped his son run the Center for Martial Arts in Isael and begin to establish a presence for Kapap around the world. Today GM Moshe Galisko is the President of the International Kapap Association and the FIMA International Director for Kapap.

Kapap instructors in Israel today train Israel Defense Forces, in addition to specialized armed forces units such as the Yamam and Shabak as well as various elite units. Today Kapap is taught in over 32 countries and enjoys a wide following.

LOTAR - acronym for the Israeli counter-terrorist school Lochama B”Terror – Combating terrorism. Includes hand-to-hand combat systems related to Krav Maga and Kapap. Not a specific martial art but rather a general term describing the means, tactics and strategies that the Israeli government uses to combat terrorism. This includes stress training, improvised weapons, knives, sticks, guns, explosives, infiltration, and sabotage. The Israeli special police unit known as Yamam (established in 1974) deals with terrorism and criminal violence and has been referred to as Lotar – unit that fights terror. Like other Israeli self-defense styles, Lotar is based on instinctive tactics utilizing real-life situations as its foundation. Historically, Lotar, like Krav Maga, was a replacement in some branches of the Israeli military and police for the original Kapap training. Today, Lotar is marketed outside of Israeli as a martial arts style and over the past several years, a few branches and Lotar organizations have started to appear in the USA and Europe.

The modern Israeli martial art of Haganah is different and distinct from the original name of the Israeli Defense Forces. It was created in the United States by Israeli Special Forces Commando – Golani Brigade, Mike Lee Kanarek. Like all Israeli styles, Haganah is a hybrid Israeli Martial Art, mostly an equal blend of Krav Maga self-defense techniques and Hisardut fighting techniques. Haganah adds Lotar techniques used by Israeli Special Forces and functional Combat Sports Martial Arts practiced in the US. Kanarek was trained in Hisardut by FIMA co-founder Moti Horenstein and Shihan Miki Erez, both of whom trained directly under Hisardut founder Professor Dennis Hanover. Like all other Israeli styles, Haganah focuses on mental toughness, preparedness and worst-case scenarios.

Kavanah means focus, purpose, mindfulness in Hebrew. It is also an acronym for Krav ve Haganah (Fight and Defend in Hebrew). FIMA co-founder GM Naftali Yehuda founded Kavanah and like all the other modern Israeli styles, is a blended system with both Israeli and Asian components. Farber, a lifelong traditional martial artist with instructor certifications in several martial arts is a certified instructor in Krav Maga, Kapap/Lotar (with Avi Nardia and Chaim Peer) and Hisardut (with Moti Horenstein and Miki Erez). This system has been taught to US Marines and Navy as well as in the Israeli Special Forces – Egoze unit in the IDF as well as civilians. Kavanah emphasizes appropriate responses to varying threat levels making it highly relevant for civilian use. In addition, Kavanah incorporates ten Tenets by which to live and eight critical “C” words by which the principles of Kavanah are built – the total “18” is Chai - which means “Life” in Hebrew.