Hi, I would really like to know peoples thoughts on my situation and the situation of all the other people in upstate NY like me being duped in the name of KM.
My name is TONY PALMER. I live in Rochester NY. I started taking KM classes at the famous North Eastern regional training center for Krav Maga (NE RTC KM) in Buffalo NY around 2005. It was awesome.
For those who don't know upstate NY very well, Rochester and Buffalo are about an hour and half away from each other.
I remember my first KM test was pretty intense for me. The test was a four hour test, nonstop movement, a little over 3 hours into it, I got my tooth knocked loose because I could barley hold my arms up during an inside jab defense. Dude landed it straight to my face but it was all good, I kept going. Then I got sick. I had to run to the bathroom, do my thing quickly then quickly ran back to the mat to finish out the test. I honestly didn't think I was going to make it. The dude I was testing with was being a great partner though, encouraging me, you know saying things like: weíre almost there; hang in there; were doing good; were going to make it bro! Well I made it, I made up to level two and received my yellow certificate signed by some instructors of KM one being Darren L. and It was really cool and I was really proud. I still am. So far so good.
Some weeks into my level 2 training a friend of mine becomes really interested in attending KM classes and wants to come along with me. I being a good/stupid friend agreed to go with him to class (level 1) class. So, I'm going backwards a little but didn't mind because I understood the importance of a strong foundation. In addition we would car pool and it would only be a few months before he would have been level 2 anyway.
Bare with me.
So my buddy makes it to level 2 things are going great. We're in level 2 together and getting ready to test again. Anyway about a week before the test, I am involved in an auto accident and have to take some time off from KM.
My friend stopped going as well for whatever his reasons were.
So it was about a year later and I was ready to go back and I called all excited and they said I needed to come in and go through orientation class. I was like no no no, maybe you don't remember me but I'm level 2! Thatís my level and I'm ready to come back to class, but again he insisted I have to go thru an orientation class.
I was feeling like c'mon already put me in coach I want to play! I'm ready, letís do this. So I go, its dumb as hell but whatever I am eager to get back into Krav. Yea, I signed the dotted line.
I remember my first day back I get stuck getting partnered up with this girl who clearly didn't even want to be there. She was a smaller girl I did not want to be partnered up with her but he wouldnít switch us. So sheís holding a kick shield for front kicks I kick and she goes flying. NOW they switch me. Apparently and unannounced to me your now supposed to hold back SOME of the intensity. This was NOT something I was used too. Originally I was instructed not to hold back because my partner was a girl, that that would be doing her an injustice. An attacker on the street is not going to hold back his intensity and she would not have her kick shield there to protect her. I remember when I attended KM the 1st time around I was partnered up with plenty of girls in KM who probably could have kicked the **** out of me. (Not probably, for sure, but you know ego and all, so Iím going to say probably.) Love all you KM girls. Sorry Iím side tracking here...
Some weeks into it I'm now realizing things aren't really cool anymore. I mean itís not KM anymore. Again and again I'm left standing there like wtf!
Only very little bits of KM were being taught. KM there was and still is now crossed with kickboxing knees and elbows but not as finishing moves but whole classes of kickboxing type stuff. Noticeably, obviously and nowhere near the level of intensity that it once was when I was being taught originally.
Really though different is an understatement. In addition to the total wtf is going on around here KM of buffalo is now a belt system and a $hit load of belts in there system and with stripes!!
Now basically all you have to do to go up levels is attend and every month you get a stripe or actually a piece of electrical tape wrapped around your belt after three stripes you test, (1hour) and poof you go up a belt, which BTW you have to pay extra for. NO MORE 4 hour tests; NO MORE CERTIFICATE; NO MORE RECOGNITION by the rest of the KM world uh hello people in Buffalo hope your listening. (Donít believe me? ask where your certificate in KM is; ask what level you would be if you attend KM in LA) Anybody can pass these tests too, if you are obese or out of shape or just plain suck you simply are not held to a higher standard and you pass just for that reason!! Supposedly...The OG's were expected to perform to a higher standard and everyone else passes for the hell of it IDK?? I never understood that, Not only that but WTF really, one person tests with true KM intensity and they pass and another person does it with total weakness and very little effort and they pass as well.
If youíre wondering why I stayed so long after I realized I was not going to be certified any longer. Here are the reasons: One, He WAAS certified to teach KM levels 1, 2 & 3. Two, respect I had for my teacher. Three, hope and faith that things were going to go back to normal someday. lastly, I am the committed type (driving hour+ there an hour+ back 3x a week paying my dues buying all the KM gear and my gas was $240.00 a month thatís commitment) and yet I still thought to myself I can train hard if I partner up with the right people. Also, I love KM. I remember seeing it on a talk show in the early 90's. I was watching the guy do gun defenses; dude was sitting in a chair with a gun to his head, and with explosiveness disarmed the dude and right then and there I knew. I was like wow if I ever were to take a Martial Art thatís the one I want to do!!!
Anyway, I stayed with it for awhile longer roughly two more years longer. Waiting for things to go back to KM curriculum (which btw they donít even use a KM curriculum booklet anymore but I still have mine) and on top off all the time I already had prior being that I was officially level two yellow and able to have tested for level two orange and stayed with it two more years in "his version" of KM. After all that I finally left. I left at a red/brown belt do you know what that means in KM Well neither do I... BUT... if I had to guess or go to any other "real" KM school I think it means Iím only level 2 yellow. All that time, all that driving all those months, all the gas, thru rain thru snow, all the comitment all that money and for what? A red/brown belt!??
Now itís May 2009. Itís about a year since I left and once again I'm craving KM. So I go to Kravmaga.com hit locations near me and low and behold thereís the school I just left claiming still, to be Krav Maga and not only Krav Maga but the NE regional training center for Krav Maga!!
How can this be? my fellow KM comrades... how the F can a school say that NOT ONLY are they KM but the North Eastern ~hello~ REGINOAL TRAINING CENTER!!! And NOT certify and NOT recognize and NOT go by curriculum? How can this be? Does anybody at all care what is happing to the integrity of KM in upstate NY? What if you moved to upstate NY? Would you care then? People are being mislead and lured into this school in KM's name. Go to www.kravmaga.com go to locations click on NY locations and it directs me to the school in buffalo. The NE RTC? Why say this to me and everyone else in upstate NY.
Do you realize that the people going there have noooooooo clue that they would not be recognized in LA but yet the KM website says that thatís the place to go if in upstate NY if you want to train in KM.
Not Cool & Not true unless of course you don't mind being cheated from how KM is really supposed to be taught.
If you love, really love KM and know KM and the high you get from the accomplishments and the intensity that is KM, THEN PLEASE PUT YOURSELF IN MY SHOES and you will feel the pain I feel and the frustration for that matter.
And again these poor saps at the buffalo school donít even realize they are being manipulated and taken for their money in KM's name. Paying premium prices to take KM and they will never ever be recognized by Krav Maga worldwide.
As far as kravmaga.com telling me and everyone else in upstate NY that Buffalo is NE RTC for KM is like:
Contacting Dolce and Gabbanna directly for an item you want to purchase and they send you to a store they claim is "there" official "NE REGIONAL" D&G store and you pay full price for something but yet go home with a knock-off that holds no value to the rest of the world.
Thanks a lot guys for pointing all of upstate NY in that direction!!
I wanted to train KM not MMA based on KM and Muay Thai and whatever other watered down techniques people felt like throwing into the KM curriculum. Am I not entitled to be proud of the fact that I wanted pure KM? I wanted the 4 to 6 hour tests, certification of my accomplishment that mean so much to me and everyone else who passes a real test. If I want to train KM should I not be able to be proud of those real KM accomplishments. Is this wrong of me? I love KM, I have nowhere to train KM in upstate NY why direct me to this school in Buffalo NY for KM if after going there you would not accept me at yours. ( That is to say without starting me or anyone else from the Buffalo school from scratch )
My fear, is that no one is EVER going to open up a real KM school in or around upstate NY because www.kravmaga.com says there already is one and itís the NE RTC.
My hope however, is someday someone will open up a real KM school in upstate NY and I'm willing to travel 1.5 hours to a real school in any direction from my location.
A school where I and others can once again be certified in the system we sought to train in.