Black Belt magazine excerpts-
Birth of krav maga
To prepare soldiers for combat and to instill a warrior spirit, in the 1980s the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) created a boot-camp-style hand-to-hand program called krav maga (krav means "combat" or "fight," and maga means "touch" or "contact"). Krav maga is a well-rounded hybrid system which encourages students to be aggressive and decisive in conflict. It includes hard-hitting hand and elbow strikes, thai-style knee strikes, low kicks, grappling, knife defense, gun and rifle takeaways, and lots of physical conditioning. The original concept of krav maga was to absorb any martial art that was useful by taking its most effective techniques and teaching them quickly and efficiently.
Krav maga offshoots
In late 1980s krav maga was also being taught to the Israeli public. Since everyone in that society serves in the military, most of the population had been exposed to it anyway. In fact, the name of the art became so common that it was used as loosely in Israel as the word karate is used in America. Variations sprang up everywhere. By the 1990s, everybody was claiming to be a krav maga master or a 10th degree black belt.
Some of the original instructors of krav maga got so fed up with people claiming that their krav maga was the "true-version taught to elite units" that they dropped the term krav maga from their vocabulary altogether. With so many people laying claims to the krav maga system, many veteran instructors felt a need to regulate what was, and was not, pure krav maga. Several organizations stepped up to the plate: the krav maga association, krav maga federation, krav maga union, Israeli krav maga, international krav maga federation, krav maga and so on.
A few years ago, the Wingate Institute, a respected Israeli sports organization, claimed to have the exclusive rights to krav maga for licensing and curriculum purposes. Although it was recently defeated in court, the organization is appealing to the Israeli Supreme Court. Many in the military community are outraged at the Institutes attempt to gain control of the name.
Since the commercialization of krav maga in Israel, there has been a movement away from using these terms altogether.