The Martial Art of Krav Maga

written up by Bob Greenwade

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Krav Maga

Note for Krav Maga practitioners: I am not a practitioner myself. This page is intended for use by players of Champions, a superhero role-playing game, and other games using the Hero System. I actually know fairly little about Krav Maga itself; however, links to two sites dealing with real-world Krav Maga can be found below.
While the first chapter of Steven S. Long's The Ultimate Martial Artist was quite exhaustive in describing real-world martial arts (to say nothing of numerous fictional styles), there was one significant omission. This was Krav Maga. I've attempted to take what information I could find on this and write it up into a format similar to that found in TUMA. This write-up is what you see below.

Note that this document is, even more than my others, very much a work in progress. I'm still in the process of gathering much of the background information on Krav Maga, but it did seem to me that there's enough stuff here to give you a basic understanding of the art, at least for game purposes. If you have any additional information about it that might be useful to Hero gamers, please let me know, and if I agree I'll add it.

Note: Steve Long has indicated to me that Krav Maga will be included in the second edition of The Ultimate Martial Artist. Whether this write-up will be more or less copied in, or something written by Steve himself based on his own findings will be used, or something in between, remains to be seen.

Krav Maga

Officially recognized as developed in 1948 in the newly-refounded nation of Israel, Krav Maga (pronounced with the accent on the final syllable) is the official martial art of the Isreali Defense Force. It was created by Imi Lichtenfeld, a Czech Jew who was reluctantly involved in several brawls as Naziism grew in his native land, but who also recognized the inadequacies of the sports-oriented martial arts with which he was most familiar. At first, the teaching of the art was kept secret, but it has been taught openly since 1964, and the Krav Maga Association was formed as a non-profit organization in 1978.

This art is also taught in a few major cities in the United States (Denver, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and several in the Los Angeles area) as well as Israel, Brazil, Finland, France, Norway, and Sweden). It's taught as a means of self-defense, as well as a sport. Indeed, it's particularly well-suited to purposes of self-defense; it's full of counterattacks and ways to repel and subdue an attacker, including a lot of action to sensitive areas of the body such as the eyes and groin.

Among law enforcement agencies in the United States that use Krav Maga are the FBI; the US Coast Guard Tactical Unit, Park Service, and Treasury Department; the Texas Department of Public Safety; the State Police Departments of Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, and Pennsylvania; the Beverly Hills Police Department; and many others. Thus this is a good martial art for PCs and NPCs alike who are members of those outfits.

Krav Maga has an unusual philosophy about itself. It is one of the few fighting styles in the world which the adapts to the user rather than expecting the user to adapt to it; beginning students are taught to build on their natural reflexes. However, the style does include techniques utilized in Aikido, Boxing, Judo/Jujitsu, and Karate, as well as a number of less well-known styles. Emphasis is put on accuracy, coordination, endurance, speed, and strength, especially for intensive training.

For more in-depth and detailed information on Krav Maga, you can visit the Website for the Krav Maga Association of America.

Krav Maga
Name Maneuver Pts OCV DCV Effect
Bear Down Joint Lock/Throw 4 +1 +0 Grab One Limb, 1d6 NND, Target Falls
Block Martial Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
Counterstrike Counterstrike 4 +2 +2 STR +2d6, Must Follow Successful Block
Escape Martial Escape 4 0 0 +15 STR vs Grabs
Gouge Eye Gouge 4 -1 -1 2d6 Sight Group Flash
Groin Slap Nerve Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND
Kick Offensive Strike 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6
Strike Fast Strike 4 +2 0 STR +2d6
Takeaway Takeaway 5 0 0 Grab Weapon, +10 STR to Take Weapon Away

KS: Krav Maga
WF: Blades/Knives/Swords
WF: Clubs
WF: Off Hand

WF: Small Arms

Elements: (Barehanded is default)
Use Art with Clubs
Use Art with Knives
Optional Rules: The Counterstrike and Strike use Hit Location Rolls of 2d6+1, and the Kick takes a 2d6+7 Hit Location Roll. The Groin Slap specifically targets the Vitals, but takes neither Hit Location penalty nor damage bonus for this. The Bear Down targets the attacker's choice of head or either arm, but again takes no bonus or penalty for location. The other maneuvers do no damage, and so don't use Hit Locations.

The Defense for the Bear Down is solid armor on the elbow or neck (depending on whether it's an arm or the head being Borne Down), having Resistance, or otherwise being immune to the pain of having a joint twisted (such as a rubbery body typical of Stretching characters). The defense for the Groin Slap (which may be performed with the knee as well as the hand) is having rigid solid armor over the groin area or Lack of Weakness, or being female. (I hope I don't have to spell out the reason for that last item.)

Special Abilities: Advanced students are taught to deal with multiple opponents. This may be represented with Defense Maneuver, or with Combat Skill Levels with the Limitation Only to Offset Multiple Attacker Penalties. Also, to reflect a Krav Maga practitioner's ability to fight for longer periods, STR may be bought to Half END Cost.

Krav Maga Links

Krav Maga : Official Isreali system of self defense

The Krav Maga Association of America, Inc.

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This article is © 1996-2000 by Bob Greenwade. E-mail me if you have any comments or questions.