40 Years and a Couple of Books Later… With Eyal Yanilov

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Author: Eyal Yanilov

40 years ago I began training Krav Maga; I was almost 15 at the time and I liked it from the first moment. I began training with one of Imi’s top students at the time (Eli Avikzar, RIP), and about 5-6 months later I began training with Imi as well. He was teaching advanced students on Saturdays, for about 3 hours a session, aimed for advanced students. I was far from being an advanced student, but I probably had the potential and some talent that he noticed and certainly had the passion.

10 years later I had already become very close to Imi. He entrusted me with the mission of writing the Krav Maga official books. We took many pictures (in a 60 mm format, not on a digital camera), to compose each technique and we had to choose 4—5 of the best pictures from several dozen that we took which was not very easy since Imi was very particular. Each picture had to be perfect to be included in the book.

After that I put all the pictures of each technique in order, and hand wrote the explanations and the descriptions as well as the relevant theory. Following that I used to sit beside Imi and read to him what I had written (his Hebrew was not very good, even though he had come to Israel 15 years before I was even born). Imi would give me his comments and corrections and I would implement them. As time passed I got better and his comments became less frequent, but still he could always hit the hammer on the nail with the points that I missed. Progress was slow and we kept our publisher anxious.

Most of the time we worked at Imi’s home on the dining table, where fruits and cookies were always present, and occasionally outside in his favorite coffee shop. Sometimes we planned a work meeting only to find ourselves focusing on or developing other parts of KM.

It took us a long time, years actually, since we both wanted to do the best job possible, but we felt that there was no need to hurry, just to do a great job, that will be a beacon to any KM students for years to come.

In 1992 we published, in Hebrew, a relatively short book that contained the chapters of how to defend knife attacks, stick and axe assaults and also how to behave in a car when hitchhiking. The reason for publishing this section was the many terrorist attacks in Israel that used these kinds of weapons (the first INTIFADA started in Israel in 1987).

After that we saw that the first sets of pictures were no longer adequate so we took new ones. We continued with the preparation of the book at a slow pace, and since I was already married with two small children in addition to travelling the world spreading KM, the work on the book was somehow neglected.

It was a great misfortune that Imi passed away in 1998 and the first volume of “How to Defend Yourself Against Armed Assaults” was published in 2001. However, that was only about a third of the work, as there is one more comprehensive book (to be published in 2 volumes) that Imi and I wrote together. It contains all the basics of the system: the attacks and counterattacks; defenses against strikes and kicks; all the releases from different grabs; self-defense on the ground and much more.

Advancing KMG and spreading KM around the world consumed most of my time and as a result the book has been delayed. But now we have put its advancement as a priority. During the past week, my wife, Merav and I took time off from “civilization” for several days and made some serious progress. I will do my best that progression will continue now in a much faster pace and we will update you in the near future. We spent time in a hotel on the edge of the RAMON Crater in the Israeli NEGEV desert. A beautiful location, all in khaki colors and recommended highly to all of those seeking a retreat and time off from their hectic lives.


St George and Sutherland Shire now have a dedicated Krav Maga school. Located at Hurstville and Earlwood.

SGS Krav Maga is officially accredited with the Krav Maga Global (KMG). Krav Maga Global is the most recognised and largest Krav Maga organisation, with established KMG branches worldwide.