KRAV MAGEN VE KURUCUSU ELI AVIKZAR
Born in 1947, in Casablanca, Morocco, Eli Avikzar immigrated to Israel in 1963. He was penniless, but his experience in street fighting brought him to Imi Lichtenfeld’s Krav Maga institute, in November 1964. Eli began training founder of Krav Maga, in November 1964. The Institute added Judo to its curriculum in 1965, and Eli began training with notable teachers such as Gadi Schornic and Amos Grinshpen.
In those days, Krav Maga did not issue training clothes or degrees; the students trained in army uniforms. And, until 1968, there were no grades in Krav Maga, and a trainee's progress was determined largely by their knowledge of Judo. However, Imi adhered to the principle that every person, with or without coordination, strong or weak, could perform Krav Maga exercises by utilizing their own maximum force.
Eli received an Orange belt in Judo and, with Imi's consent, went to Tel-Aviv, where he continued training in Judo, as well as Karate and Jujitsu. Eli continued to return to Imi’s classes in Netanya and the two men worked together, developing counter exercises to Judo, Karate and Jujitsu.
In 1968 Eli began learning Aikido under the guidance of an Englishman named Mike and within a year became his training partner. Astonished by Eli’s rapid progress, Mike recommended that Eli go abroad for Black Belt training in Aikido. In 1971, Eli received a Black Belt in Judo, as well as the first Black Belt granted in Krav Maga. He went to France soon after, where he received a brown belt in Aikido. Upon his return from France, Eli started working as an instructor alongside Imi in both the Netanya and Tel-Aviv training centers. In addition, they trained special army and volunteer units. In 1977, Eli went to Germany and received a Black Belt level in Aikido from the European Federation.
In 1974 Imi retired, and Eli assumed leadership of the Krav Maga training center in Netanya. In 1976, Eli joined the permanent force, as head of the Krav Maga section. The role of Krav Maga in the Israeli Defense Force advanced greatly after his appointment: More courses were added, and every P.E. instructor was required to learn and teach Krav Maga. The civilian courses complemented the military training and Krav Maga proved its efficiency in fighting units. Eli continued to develop Krav Maga within the IDF until his retirement in 1987, when he had trained a total of 80,000 male soldiers and 12,000 female soldiers. In 1978 the Krav Maga association was established. As an active member of the Judo association, Eli Avikzar helped to establish the professional and rank committees in the Krav Maga association. In 1979 Eli appointed his first two Black Belts to trainees:
- Avi Avisidon
- Eyal Yanilov
In 1981, Eli, Imi and some of the students visited the United States for a 45-day performance tour. In 1983, the first American group came to Israel for the Krav Maga instructor course and, in 1984, the Krav Maga Association awarded two American interns, Allen Feldman and Darrin Levine, with Black Belts in 1984.
Eli also traveled to the USA in 1985 as a representative of the Krav Maga Association and conducted trainings in various police departments.
In 1996, Eli was awarded the first 8th Dan degree and founding diploma by Imi. He was awarded a 10th Dan degree in 1999 by KAMI. 1987 yılında Krav Maga Derneğinden ayrılarak kısa adı K.A.M.I olan İsrail Krav Magen Derneğini kurdu. İsrail Krav Magen Derneğinin bugün ülke genelinde 40 şubesi bulunmaktadır.
In 1996, Eli was awarded the first 8th Dan degree and founding diploma by Imi. He was awarded a 10th Dan degree in 1999 by KAMI.
Eli Avikzar died on May 16, 2004.
After the death of Eli Avikzar, Avi Abeceedon, who served as vice president for 15 years, became the KAMI president.