Contact Combat

Krav Maga, originally developed for the Israeli military by founder Imi Lichtenfeld, is perhaps the most brutal and efficient form of self-defense people have never heard of—and it’s taught right here in Westchester.

“We have a saying in Krav Maga,” says instructor Greg Melia, 23, who teaches at Steve Sohn’s Jujitsu Concepts in Scarsdale. “We never want to get into a fight. But when something goes wrong, you start hitting and don’t stop until you’re out of harm’s way.”

Krav Maga means “contact combat” in Hebrew. As opposed to the dance of martial arts, Krav Maga favors a swift kick to the groin. Based on instinctual movements, it emphasizes fitness, speed, and technique. Drills are designed to simulate the reality of being attacked, and students—many of whom are women—must learn to contend with (rubber or plastic) knives, sticks, and guns and subdue an opponent.

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“I wouldn’t even consider Krav Maga a martial art,” Melia says. “It’s strictly self-defense.” After a few classes, a student can have the basic skills needed to defend herself. As the student progresses, she learns more complicated moves, like how to counterattack after a block. Steve Sohn’s Jujitsu Concepts in Scarsdale is one of only seven schools authorized to certify Krav Maga instructors in the United States. Call (914) 723-7818 or visit for details.

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