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My observations on Krav Maga culture,it's growth and instructors.

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  • My observations on Krav Maga culture,it's growth and instructors.

    I have been thinking about some things lately and the Alain Cohen thread led me to post this commentary. Let me preface this with saying that this is not an attack on Darren Levine and Eyal Yanilov. They are both great instructors. My instructor is good friends with Darren and has said nothing but great things of him and Marni(RIP).I even plan on training with him next week. Eyal as well. But both created a template for the expansion of KM and instructor development and that is what I am discussing.
    Throughout history martial arts instructors were developed in-house using the apprentice model of education. Even most military systems promoted instructors from within their own ranks. This allowed for instructors to not only learn techniques but to also absorb the finer points of training and pedagogy that only close contact/long term training provided. If you were training with a martial arts instructor most likely they had years of training under their belts. There were always shortcut training certifications sold in the back of magazines but the common understanding was that this was the realm of frauds.
    Until 1981 KM also used this model yet it existed in only Israel. In 1981 the first international instructors course was held to train the first American instructors to spread the system here. This was considered "extenuating circumstances" as there were no instructors here. The instructor course was long and intense to mimic long term training. Six weeks,Six days a week,Eight hours a day. But that was it. Once it was here it was expected to grow here from the seeds planted. The courses that followed were for the students of those who graduated. It wasnt marketed to new territories.
    Thats how it remained until the late 1990s. Eyal and Darren both had the idea to spread KM(Darren across the US and Eyal the rest of the world). So they started the instructor courses and affiliate programs that we know to be the standard today.
    My opinion:
    First of all it is not my place to judge the actions of my elders in the system. The path they chose got KM in the hands of many people who otherwise would not have had it. It may have saved lives. That makes whatever they did worth it. I also think the idea was that the initial batch of instructors would grow into their positions...many did...many did not.
    What it also did was ti instill this template of instructor certification training for instructors in the KM world. Many frauds take advantage of this template for selling their own certifications. Many school around the country are run by people with these certifications.
    Long story short...I think changing the culture of hard work and long term training via an apprentice model for developing instructors is healthier as it breeds a students mentality before an instructor mentally. People who jump to instructor mentally right away or too early tend to do this out of laziness or ego. This damages the rep of the system and short changes students looking for qualified instructors.
    Any thoughts?

  • #2
    Re: My observations on Krav Maga culture,it's growth and instructors.

    A couple of things that got deleted.
    1. One thing I see as a result of this is instead of people looking for good teachers they shop around for certifications. You can actually learn alot about an instructor bsaed on how easy the certification they chose was. I have seen one or two schools start with KMWW...go to IKMA or IKMF and now are moving on to another.
    2. There are instructors that dont even bother training students at home or have a school..they just travel around certifying people.
    3. Does short term growth and profit outweigh the long term effects on standards and practices?
    4. I see "legit" KM instructors accept belts and ranks from obvious KM frauds and have no problem doing that but have BJJ programs in their schools and they would never put on a fraudulent BJJ black belt. Does all this just show an innate disrespect for KM?


    • #3
      Re: My observations on Krav Maga culture,it's growth and instructors.

      I think you have many valid points.

      As any martial art I guess KM can not avoid the frauds and those that see an easy buck to be made from people looking for a system in which to earn belts and grades for the sake of ego rather than actual martial skill. I do not think this can be avoided. Hopefully serious students are able to pick teachers that are the real deal and in it for the right reasons. For this to happen easy it would help if the big organisations were clear and distinct about what they do and what separates them from each other (which is not much, comparing to other martial arts organisations under the same "label", karate for an example...). And above all - they should be clear what separates them from the cons!

      Here in sweden we have "krav maga" orgs popping up rapidly lately. With instructors who have trained KM, but now teach stuff far from KM. Defendo and C2:core combatives and Senshido seem to have the biggest part in their systems. So - should they call what they do krav maga? I leave the question to you out there. This is something that makes it hard for people to know what they are to expect, when we speak of KM.

      The other issue at hand then; I see problems in wishing to make krav maga a martial art that demands years and years of study as oppossed to instructor courses of shorter terms, as part of the essensce of KM as I have understood it is that is should be easy to learn. Tricky this, as of course an instructor should have developed the finer qualities in the system. A student does not need that. Not trying to make a point here.


      • #4
        Re: My observations on Krav Maga culture,it's growth and instructors.

        I strongly dislike and disagree with how easy it is to get a certificate to instruct in KM. Granted, the Phase certification process is no walk in the park... but still.
        "Always avoid, escape, talk down, loop hole if you can, don't be physical unless you really have to be physical, because it really isn't the answer. If you have to be physical, be first and be ferocious. Take them off the planet. But if you can avoid it than you must."
        - Geoff Thompson


        • #5
          Re: My observations on Krav Maga culture,it's growth and instructors.

          Couldn't agree more, though with one caveat.
          While structure and long-term commitment should be required to achieve an instructor certification from a reputable individual or organization, it's important that the lines not become blurred between instructor and student, so the focus remains on training that gets students operational quickly.
          Sometimes I see school pages that list just moderately senior students (2 or 3 years of experience), even within the kmww world, as "instructors." Putting students in this mindset is really dangerous because it takes someone used to learning techniques quickly and changes that focus to learning how to teach quickly, often by trial and error.
          We'll have the best balance when the road to becoming an instructor is trying, but the techniques remain fast and efficacious for the student.


          • #6
            Re: My observations on Krav Maga culture,it's growth and instructors.

            think that the overall governing principle here should be quality. Does the instructor provide truth and legitimate Krav Maga and the highest quality Krav Maga training he/she can. Not all instructors are created equal. Lineage is not always the dominant indicator of an instructors credibility or ability. However to ignore lineage is foolish. There are many frauds in Martial Arts. Krav Maga is not immune to this. There are certain truths that will never be known regarding the spread of Krav Maga globally. I have my own opinions and theories but I will keep them to myself.

            The IDF instructor course though very tough, is not all that long. So length of time is only one method of measurement. I know people who have been doing and teaching Krav Maga longer than I have and they are excellent instructors. There are others who have been around for a long time and they suck. So it's really a matter of personal development.

            I personally do not recognize any Grandmaster. It's bull****. I have never met a Grandmaster who did not appoint himself the Grandmaster. So forgive me if I don't bow.
            You shouldn't throw stones if you live in a glass house,
            and if you have a glass jaw, you should watch your mouth.
            Cause I'll break your face-Fiddy Cent

            I'm just a blue belt, but guess what if I wanted your black belt I'd come take it from you and you coudn't do a damn thing about it. Lol.....


            • #7
              Re: My observations on Krav Maga culture,it's growth and instructors.

              I personally don't have any problem bowing. IMO, such a simple and small gesture is the least I can do to show my Respect (to the style/school, to the founder(s), to the instructors, to those who came before me, and to my training partners, etc) and Thanks/Appreciation (for accepting me as a student - even if I'm paying and especially when I'm not, for sharing their knowledge and expertise, and for their time and effort in instructing me or training with me, etc). If I feel someplace/someone isn't worth bowing to, then I simply just don't go back...
              Last edited by Don; 02-20-2012, 06:17 PM.


              • #8
                Re: My observations on Krav Maga culture,it's growth and instructors.

                The point is..I am not against instructors courses. Just because you know the system doesnt mean you can teach it. Though Imi himself said "when you are a green belt you are an instructor whether you like it or not" Meaning by that time you have seen a large chunk of the system and should be able to explain it to others. What is important though is your "time in". Yes the IDF instructor course is not that long built it taught to people who are already soldiers and have been trained already. Many Law Enforcement officers take certification courses to teach things to their departments that only take a day or two to learn but the person being certified already graduated the police academy and worked in the field.
                The difference is in certifications and professional degrees. You can be certified rather easily to be a personal trainer(online,one test,etc) but you need to go to school to be a physical therapist. Sometimes I dont think KM instructors really understand what we do. People put there lives in our hands. We are teaching them what to do when they are in the most vulnerable positions in their lives..they could be raped,shot,stabbed,etc,etc. I would expect that the person training me for that extreme danger at least trained in the system before he entered an instructor course for at least a few years. Would you want your child operated on by a MD or someone who was CPR certified or even a paramedic?


                • #9
                  Re: My observations on Krav Maga culture,it's growth and instructors.

                  Some points on Krav Maga,the IDF and Wingate.1. Contrary to popular belief..civilian KM is not some watered down version of the system and the military does not hold all the secret techniques. Its just the opposite. The IDF KM training is short in time,has some basic techniques focusing mainly on using long gun and tons of aggression drills. Krav Maga became much more developed in the civilian sector. Both Eli Avikzar and Shachar Klarfeld(both headed the IDFs KM program at different times) have stated that the IDFs KM was informed by the advances made in the civilian sector and not the other way around. Being an IDF KM instructor was never accepted as a creditential in teaching KM to civilians. The Association under Imi and Eli Avikzar would make an IDF instructor train and test in order to teach civilians. The system we train in as civilians has more content,tackles more situations and provides you with more techniques and options. It was meant to be easy to learn but also to be a progressive learning model.

                  Also..I dont think most people know this and an Israeli can correct me if I am wrong. But I Israel iff you want to work as a professional in any sport or physical education field you have to be certified by the government. This is for martial arts instructors,gymnastics instructors,PE teachers,tennis coaches,etc,etc. Thats why Wingate exists. A black belt or experience in a sport doesnt allow you to work in that field. Thats why KM instructors also get teacher certified through Wingate. Its teacher training,CPR training,etc on top of you learned experience in your field.
                  So you need your time in and experience in your field,sportmartial art but you also need to be properly qualified to teach it. Thats also what I am saying.


                  • #10
                    Re: My observations on Krav Maga culture,it's growth and instructors.

                    I believe to be eligible to take the IKMF instructors certification course you must have a minimum or four years experience in KM or a martial art, a recommendation from your training center and a background check. I believe the course itself is 80 hours for the Civilian Certification. Are other organizations similar?
                    Last edited by bear34; 02-21-2012, 02:42 AM. Reason: spelling


                    • #11
                      Re: My observations on Krav Maga culture,it's growth and instructors.



                      • #12
                        Re: My observations on Krav Maga culture,it's growth and instructors.

                        brown belt or better
                        at least 2 years krav
                        60 hour instructor course/testing for assistant rank
                        another 60 hours for practical instructor
                        another 70 hours for senior instructor
                        30 hours apprenticeship under another instructor
                        133 hours of classroom studies to teach in Israel

                        Send a video to Alain Cohen and get an instructor's certificate without ever setting foot inside a krav gym, my ass.


                        • #13
                          Re: My observations on Krav Maga culture,it's growth and instructors.

                          Originally posted by KevinMack View Post
                          Some points on Krav Maga,the IDF and Wingate.1. Contrary to popular belief..civilian KM is not some watered down version of the system and the military does not hold all the secret techniques
                          In Nir Maman's interview CD, he says IDF recruits may not even learn krav. They learn whatever martial art their instructor is good at and that may or may not be krav. Special forces trainees all learn the real deal though.


                          • #14
                            Re: My observations on Krav Maga culture,it's growth and instructors.

                            Theres been a lot of discussions recently about fake instructors or credentials certificates instructor training etc.

                            Just thought Id share a funny story. I got flipped a business card today from a guy, it read Krav Maga Instructor. Except the guys never taken an instructor course anywhere and is currently a green belt. So of course he opened his own studio now and has 10 students.

                            I may go take him up on his offer for a free trial class.

                            On second thought, maybe Ill take Trish, tell him shes a soccer mom who needs self defense training LOL
                            I believe that self-defense is a moral imperative, and that illegitimate force and illegal violence must be met with righteous indignation and superior violence.

                            But hey, thats just me.


                            • #15
                              Re: My observations on Krav Maga culture,it's growth and instructors.

                              Down the street from one of our locations is a guy teaching Krav Maga. He was certified to teach buy a guy who is only a green belt and was an assistant instructor under another instructor who used to work in the area. So an assistant instructor can now certify instructors who can open schools/programs? Besides that their Krav Maga is actually a mix of whatever that green belt was interested in so it barely resembles KM. I dont know who to feel bad for...the students who think they are learning proper Krav Maga? The instructor who thought he was being certified in a legit manner? Or the guy who felt that he was qualified to certify people when he didnt have the experience or rank in the system to do so.