Eli Avikzar emmigrated to Israel from Morocco in 1963 as a boy with nothing in his pocket, except a rich background of street fights from his hometown, Casablanca. He was forced to fight local gangs who were harassing him for being Jewish in a hostile Arabic environment.
Eli began training with “Imi” Lichtenfeld(Sde-Or), the founder of Krav Maga (Contact Fight) in November 1964 at his institute in Netanya, and became his principal student. In those days there were no training outfits or grades for Krav Maga, so they trained in army uniforms. In 1965 “Imi” added Judo training, as part of the Krav Maga training and distinguished teachers like Gadi Schornic and Amos Grinshpen became Eli’s Judo instructors.
Eli trained twice a week, and after receiving his Orange belt in Judo and with “Imi’s” consent, went to train in Tel-Aviv, where he continued practicing Judo and added Karate and Jujitsu to his training schedule. Eli would then return regularly to “Imi’s” training classes and together they improved and developed counter exercises to Judo, Karate and Jujitsu.
“Imi” stuck to the motto that every person, with or without coordination, strong or weak, can perform Krav Maga exercises, by utilizing ones own maximum force.
Until 1968 there were no grades in Krav Maga and trainee’s grades were determined largely by their knowledge in Judo.
In 1968 Eli Avikzar began learning Aikido under the guidance of an Englishman named Mike and within a year became his training partner. Mike was astounded by Eli’s rapid progress and offered him to go abroad for his Black belt trainings in Aikido. Following mike’s recommendation, Eli left for France in 1971, passed the test and received a brown belt in Aikido. Prior to his journey, Eli received his Black Belt in Judo, in addition to the first Black Belt ever given in Krav Maga, which he received from “Imi” on the 1.5.1971. Upon his return, Eli started working as an instructor alongside “Imi” in both Netanya and Tel-Aviv training centers. In addition, they trained special army and volunteer units. In 1977 Eli went to Germany and after passing the test, received a Black Belt level in Aikido from the European Federation.
In 1974 “Imi” retired and handed Eli his 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 army advanced greatly after his appointment. More courses were given and every P.E. instructor was obliged to learn Krav Maga and teach it. The improvement of Krav Maga in the I.D.F. was a result of the development of methods and exercises in civil life, and it became accepted and more professional, proving its efficiency in fighting units. Eli continued to develop Krav Maga within the I.D.F. until his retirement in 1987. Up to this date, Eli had trained 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 Abeceedon
- Eyal Yanilov
In 1981 Eli travelled to the U.S.A. along with “Imi” and some of his trainees for a 45-day performance tour, as part of a fund raising trip. In 1983, following that visit, the first American group arrived in Israel for a 3 week Krav Maga instructors course. In 1984 the Krav Maga Association awarded a Black belt to two American trainees, Allen Feldman and Darrin Levine. In 1985 Eli went to the U.S.A. as a representative of the Krav Maga Association, to lecture to the Department of Police, and in 1987 he returned again to the U.S.A. to give his first course to the Los-Angeles Police Department.
K.A.M.I. adjusts itself to the altering state of the street and to the immediate, modern, contemporary dangers. K.A.M.I. renews and improves, adds and revises exercises to find solutions to a changing environment. In practice, the exercise are short and efficient and all is permitted to save lives. “Minimum Movement against Maximum Movement becomes Minimum Defense against Maximum Offense”
In 1987 Eli Avikzar retired from the Krav Maga Association and in 1989 founded K.A.M.I. – Israeli Krav Magen Association, with “Imi’s” blessing. Today, the K.A.M.I. method has over 40 branches across the country. It is recognized by the Israeli Ministry of Education as the recommended method for schools, it is authorized by the Wingate Institute, the Wingate College, “Na’amat” (women’s organization), and P.E. teachers and it is used by various security forces and is well known throughout the world.