In the late afternoon on the Boys Town Jerusalem campus, seventh grader Aaron lunged for the neck of his classmate Boaz. Blocking the blow, Boaz deftly spun his way out of the near stranglehold. Amazingly enough, what at first glance looked like kids in a violent struggle was actually two boys training to save their own lives.

The popular extracurricular Krav Maga class which Aaron and Boaz attend is aimed to teach them the basic techniques of this Israeli-developed self-defense system – plus much more. Instructor Liron Haviv points out, “The beauty of Krav Maga is its very effective training for real-life situations of danger. The boys learn safety methods for defending themselves against stabbing, shooting, and strangling attacks, for a start. They also learn self-discipline, alertness, and coordination.”

As Haviv demonstrates the various strikes, throws, and take-downs, he stresses the basic premise of Krav Maga: hitting the enemy’s most vulnerable points. “This is the key to survival, and the focus of what I teach. In today’s reality, everyone needs to be prepared to defend himself, even unarmed.”

Liron Haviv, a prizewinning athlete who has taught Thai boxing at Boys Town Jerusalem in the past, is a firm believer in the physical and emotional power of martial arts. Certified for therapeutic training as well, he hopes to expand his work at the school to use Krav Maga as a means to assist individual students to cope with ADD and other behavioral deficiencies, coordination issues, and lack of confidence.

“I look upon my job as far more than just sports instruction,” he says earnestly. “I see it as a personal mission to give these boys the stamina to persevere, the confidence to succeed, and the tools to defend themselves against terror.”

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