Posts Tagged ‘Interview’

Jan 4

KMW Training Centers™ Instructors Kelly Campbell and Matt Romond on Good Day LA

Kelly Campbell, a 3rd degree black belt, is the highest ranking female instructor in the United States. She is a senior instructor and holds two official titles at Krav Maga Worldwide™; the Director of Instructor Development, and Training Coordinator for the Licensing Division. She is certified in a number of other specialties including; Train the Trainer, Civilian Law Enforcement Instructor, and ASST (Adrenal Stress Scenario Training). She is also a certified km-X™ Instructor (Krav Maga Worldwide™ youth program), and is a single mother of a teenage boy. This combination of expertise and life experience makes her a highly sought after role model for other women.

"It's really important to respond [to an attack] and strike *hard* so that you can eliminate the threat and get away" - Kelly Campbell

Matt Romond, the youngest member of Krav Maga Worldwide™'s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) - the Committee that systematically reviews all of the techniques and teaching methods in the Krav Maga Worldwide™ system - is a 2nd degree Black Belt, and is the Director of km-X™ (Krav Maga Worldwide™ youth program). Matt is also one of a handful of lead licensing instructors who are charged with training and testing other Krav Maga instructors from around the world.

“It is an amazing feeling to be able to help create something that has a positive impact on people’s lives.” - Matt Romond

Aug 17

An Interview with Michael Margolin, Krav Maga Worldwide VP of Operations and Training Centers

During October, Krav Maga Worldwide™ Official Training Centers around the world will be teaming up with STOP CANCER™ and I.C.O.N./Cure for a Cause for the fifth annual Krav Maga Worldwide™ Fights Cancer Fundraiser titled “Fighting For The Cure.” All proceeds will be donated directly to the “The Marni Fund” in memory of one of Krav Maga Worldwide’s founders, Marni Levine (1969-2006), who passed away after a long and courageous fight against breast cancer.

Krav Maga Worldwide's Annual Fights Cancer Event is a milestone for me. It was the first big campaign I worked on when I started working here a little over a year ago. Before I began working on this event, I didn't know much about it and I had no emotional connection to it. I never knew anyone with cancer.

That's the thing: It's unimaginably hard to empathize with someone who's going through something you've never dealt with. And it's even harder if you have no connection to that person.

This event is also a milestone for Krav Maga Worldwide, especially for those who knew Marni Levine, because they're reminded of a living, breathing person they loved and lost and miss so much. For many, she was the furthest thing from a statistic – a mother, a wife, a daughter, a teacher, a hardworker, an inspiration, a friend.

One of her closest friends was Michael Margolin, who, like Marni, was one of the founders of Krav Maga Worldwide. I never met Marni, and though I'll never get the chance to interview her, today's interview feels as much a profile of her as it is of Michael. You still won't know Marni Levine the way her loved ones do. Words can fall short in matters of the heart. But maybe, just maybe, you'll care a little more.


KMW: Tell us about yourself – how old you are, where you grew up, what you do, etc.

MM: I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, where I started doing Krav Maga in 1981. Darren Levine was my teacher. I was 11 so that makes me 39, so you don't have to do the math. I'm turning 40 in two months. It's not on my mind or anything. [laughs] I'm one of the founders of Krav Maga Worldwide with Darren Levine, Marni Levine and Howard Mallen. My job title is...[looks for his business card]...Executive VP, Operations and Training Centers. Basically what I do is I oversee the day-to-day operations for the overall business – the training centers and licensing. I pretty much stay out of the Force Training division. Operations is my job. In another company, my title might be COO and I kind of share that with Jon Pascal. He concentrates more on the Force Training side. I do the training centers, some of the licensing division...that and I teach...and I'm involved in the instructor development with Kelly [Campbell] and Tina [Angelotti].

KMW: You said you started training when you were 11?

MM: Started when I was 11 and went to Israel when I was 15. That was in 1985. We went to Israel for an assistant instructor course and we trained basically 8 hours a day and toured on the weekends. We also did training wherever we were touring. I just remember going up to Masada and training on top.

KMW: How did you start training?

MM: I went to Heschel [Day School]. I was a student there, and they offered Krav Maga. We were required to do a semester's worth, and Darren was my teacher, and I loved it. Darren is obviously so dynamic and I really looked up to him, so I stuck with it. Actually, it's pretty incredible if you think about it. There's a group of us who've been doing it since we were kids, and I think that's largely because of Darren. People gravitate toward him.

KMW: How long have you been an instructor?

MM: In 1985 we went to Israel and got our assistant instructor degrees/certificates. I came home and started teaching right away. I was 15, and I'm 39 now, so it's been about 25 years that I've been teaching.

KMW: What made you decide to become an instructor?

MM: Back then, to me, it was the coolest thing ever. We were really into it. We were hungry to train and to learn, and we wanted to go to Israel. We were assistants basically, Darren would be teaching, and we would lead a warmup in the beginning. I remember I got a night to teach. They were all adults. They all seemed really old and mature to me, though they were probably 21. [laughs] And I guess then I didn't realize how absurd it was that I was a 15-year-old kid teaching these adults. Darren just kind of made it seem ordinary, so we didn't realize it. We just did it. I remember a time – I was 17 or 18 at the time – and I had these two students who had been training for a while. They were both lawyers in their 40s, and they started to argue and then fight with one another so I had to reprimand them, and I'm like 18 years old.

KMW: It sounds like Krav Maga has been a big part of your life.

MM: It was one of those things that was always a big part of my life. Especially feeling good about yourself as a teenager. Psychologically, emotionally, feeling strong and whatnot. I knew I would kind of always do it. When I graduated from school, I had a few career changes. I was in school to be a psychologist/therapist. I got my master's and counseled for a little bit. When we opened the training center here in 1997, I was doing Krav Maga and I was doing counseling and I was in the Ph.D program. And right when we opened the business, I just remember always wanting to be here. There was a lot to do, cause we were just starting out. I remember I would go back to school and go to the counseling center, and I enjoyed it but I always wanted to be here. At one point, I decided I didn't want to do anything else. I wanted to do Krav Maga only.

KMW: What advice do you have for people who are new to Krav Maga or training in general?

MM: I would say a couple things. Number one is pick an amount of time, like say I'm going to commit to this for 4 months. And come religiously. Even when you don't want to. And make it a habit. But in doing that, it also has to be something you enjoy. Pick the classes and instructors you enjoy, the time you think you'll be able to make it, and stick to it. And if you enjoy Krav Maga level 1, find a good partner. Put all the external factors that get in the way and design them so they're in your favor so you can stick to it. Some people have no problem sticking to fitness programs, but a lot of people... they love it but life gets in the way, time gets in the way, they get lazy or tired, and they don't show up. But if you can fit it in your life so that it's a habit, then you'll get to a point where you can't live without it. And I think that's a good habit to have.

KMW: What's your involvement in Fights Cancer?

MM: I'm not that involved in the preparation and planning. The person who's most involved and should get all the credit is Karla [Nystrom]. She's amazing. I will follow Karla's lead – whatever she needs. I'll be there to participate and work and do whatever it takes, but Karla is the one. For me, it's important because the cause is so dear to us. And because of Marni. And because of our family.

KMW: How close were you to Marni Levine?

MM: I have 3 sisters. I used to refer to Marni as my 4th. I've known her since i was 11. She was one of my best friends – one of my very closest, closest friends.

KMW: What was she like?

MM: Marni had this heart that – this doesn't say it – but she was good through and through. She cared about people, about integrity, and she was a hard worker. I remember when she was in the last couple years, she was doing chemo, working part-time, and racing back and forth to do carpool and pick up her kids. And people complain about how busy they are or how hard their lives are. She worked hard and she was a great mom. Really, really, really amazing. She was just good, and talented too.

The integrity piece kind of stands out to me with her, and this is something that's a big deal to us as a business. And I think a lot of that comes from her and who she was and her influence. It's hard to explain but she was very fair-minded to staff and employees. She wanted to do well by people, even when there's conflict, making sure we're handling ourselves as a business in a fair way.

She was unique. I hate saying stuff like that because it's so broad. It's so often said that it doesn't mean anything, and it doesn't capture it, but it's so true in her case. She was kind, very kind. And fun. And funny and, at times, silly and playful.

KMW: What was she like when she did Krav Maga?

MM: Marni was tough, training-wise. She was a good athlete. The thing that I used to love watching was when she would be teaching and I'd walk by the room. Her 12:15 daytime classes always had 15 to 18 people and they would be all men, and all big dudes. And they would just be like, Yes, Marni. Whatever you say, Marni. And she wasn't big. She was 5'4" but she commanded the room and she was strong. She was super, super strong as a teacher, as a person.

I wish she was here though. We're growing and things are happening and much of it is because of her, and I think she would be proud. It would be fun to do this with her. To grow and open the center with her. I'm not sure we'd have the green wall. [laughs] We definitely wouldn't have the green chairs. Maybe we would. [laughs]


Fights Cancer is on October 3rd at the Original Farmer's Market at the Grove LA. For more information or to register for the 5K Run/Walk, visit

Aug 2

An Interview with KMW Training Centers™ Member Services Rep Davis Dulnuan

I don't think it's possible to train at KMW and not know who Davis Dulnuan is. If you take CrossFit classes, you've at least seen his name. He posts times so ridiculous you laugh before you cry. Or chances are, since he's worked as a membership representative at both of our KMW Training Centers, a good chunk of you signed up with him. Or maybe you saw him and thought, "Is that the guy from that Ninja Turtles movie?"

If Davis Dulnuan had a superpower, it would be the unique ability to make you feel slower than you actually are. Yesterday was my first time training with him, and he managed to lap me by a lap-and-a-half, which may not sound like much, but that lap-and-a-half equaled 25 pullups, a 100m run, 25 pushups, a 100m run, 25 situps, a 100m run, 25 squats, a 100m run, 25 pullups, a 100m run, 25 pushups, and a 100m run. I didn't even realize how much it was until I typed it just now.

After the workout, Davis suggested a fantastic place nearby called Cafe Laurent, so we could eat while I interviewed him. He gave me directions and told me to go ahead and that he would meet me there. I walked to my car and, before I drove off, I checked to see him still engaged in conversation with some folks. As I walked to the restaurant after parking my car, someone shouted behind me. I turned to see Davis biking past me. He was surprised that I wasn't already at the restaurant, casually mentioning that he had finished talking to some members about weight loss, nutrition, and other topics that I couldn't believe were discussed in the time that I drove from point A to point B.

But that's Davis. He does things that knock your socks off. Some feats you'll learn about: he managed to lose 40 pounds in 6 months, he did 6 races in 2 months (4 of which were triathlons), and he did the LA marathon 7 years in a row. And yet most impressive is his ability to avoid complacency and retain humility in light of all of this. In fact, Davis was the first person I've asked for an interview that tried to talk me into choosing someone else, which may be the first time he's failed at anything ever.


KMW: Before we begin, tell us a little about yourself – how old you are, what you do, etc.

DD: Let's skip the age. You're only as old as the person you're with, and my wife is 25, so let's leave it at that. Date young, so you stay young. I've been working at Krav Maga Worldwide for 4 years now. Marcus Kowal brought me on board. For years he was trying to lure me over because at the time I was managing a chain of gyms. And then I worked in banking. For the past 10 years I went back and forth between fitness and financial industries. And when I was in banking, I was bored at work, so I started working part-time at KMW. And eventually I started working here full-time. I get to work out and help people work out at the same time so it's fun. And it's cool because you get to help people change their lives. And it's good to see people transform in front of you and see people have results. I work hard, I work out harder, and if there's ever time left, I try to do some play, but lately there hasn't been time for that.

KMW: I heard you used to feel that you were overweight.

DD: Yeah, I was fat. You would think working at a gym you'd be in the best shape of your life. But working in sales, you're stressed out all the time. I weighed 192 lbs at my worst.

KMW: How did you lose all that weight?

DD: Doing KM Bag classes. That's how I lost the weight. And I started eating right and changed my diet, so I lost 40 lbs in 6 months. And then I bulked up because of CrossFit, though I think I'm too bulky. And I do stuff outside. I did the LA Marathon 7 years in a row. Last year, because of my weight loss, was my fastest one ever — under 4 hours. I think it was 3:52.

Last year I started training for triathlons. I always wanted to do triathlons but I was always a poor swimmer. I would go swimming during my lunch breaks 3 or 4 days a week. And then my first triathlon was on my birthday last year. And from October to December, I did 6 races (4 triathlons) in a 2 month period. And since the beginning of this year, I haven't done anything. Last year a major goal was to lose weight, but I took myself too seriously. This year I wanted to cut myself some slack and give me something sweet everyday as a reward for training hard.

I started taking CrossFit around spring, 2-3 times a week. Doing CrossFit has enabled me to be stronger, faster — I'm in the best shape of my life. I injured my shoulder outside of KMW, but doing CrossFit has strengthened my shoulder and helped me recover.

KMW: How often do you take classes?

DD: I take about 2 to 3 CrossFit classes a week. And about 2 KM Bag classes a week. And in between I bike, run, swim... long, slow cardio.

KMW: Do you have any fitness goals?

DD: Good question. It's always been my thing to get a six pack, you know? It's there, but my diet's keeping it from coming out, because of my addiction to sugar, cake, chocolate. If I give that up, I'm sure it'll come out. But until then, it's going to remain a party ball. But I'm in the best shape of my life. I'm more fit than I was in high school or college.

KMW: How active were you in high school and college?

DD: I was really active. I played all sports, and in high school I competed in track and field. But you eat crappy food, drink a lot, party a lot. At this point of my life, I think about longevity, so to do that you have to eat right, stay active, manage your stress, and maintain peaceful and harmonious relationships with your loved ones. And those are the key factors to a long, successful life.

KMW: What else do you do besides training?

DD: I enjoy cooking a lot, going to movies, spending time with family and my wife, and wine-tasting. We try to go up to Napa at least once every quarter because our family's in the bay area. I like eating – I'm a foodie.

KMW: What advice do you have for newcomers?

DD: My advice would be to go at your own pace, you know? You don't have to compete with others; the only person you're competing with is yourself. I always see people pushing themselves to compete with people in class, but you can get hurt that way. Go at your own pace, and build from that. Challenge yourself but stay within your limits. Don't compare, just compete. I have people come in to try a class that can't do 20 minutes and they feel bad. But I say, "Hey, it's okay! Use that as a benchmark and do 30 minutes next time."

Also, a lot of people fail when they try doing it on their own. The great thing about training at KMW is you have the support system of the instructors and the staff. By having set class schedules, you're accountable to a time, and unlike gyms where you're on your own and you just sit down at a machine, when you come to the class you have nothing to do but work and train hard. And our classes are 7 days a week, as early as 6am as late as 9pm. We accommodate the busiest of schedules, so there's no excuse to say that you don't have time. Just like anything in life, you have to put a plan to train if you're going to be successful at it.

And bring a buddy, so if you're the type that's not motivated, bring your friends. Nothing's better than training with a circle of your own friends. Come see me or any of the other membership reps to get a VIP Guest Pass to let your family/friends try a class with you, whether it's Krav Maga, KM Bag, or CrossFit.

KMW: Anything else you want to add?

DD: For the past couple years, Marcus and I have spearheaded KMW Beach Day, a time for us to enjoy the weather by being outdoors at the beach and having some R&R, but having some fun at the same time. So we'll do beach soccer, flag football, beach volleyball, and more! The members and instructors will get to hang out and meet each other outside of the class. It's only once a year, it's fun and it's free, so come out! And it's open to family members and friends. Sunday August 22nd: mark that in your calendars!

Mar 12

Darren Levine’s Black Belt Magazine Interview Part 2

Black Belt MagazineKrav Maga Worldwide Chief Instructor Darren Levine in the May 2009 issue of Black Belt Magazine (part 2 of his exclusive interview).

"Our goal is to quickly end the threat and regain control by neutralizing the assailant before he's able to inflict injury. Krav maga is designed so operators can successfully perform defenses from diverse positions of disadvantage, from varying degrees of readiness and while under stress." - Darren Levine

What is the krav maga approach to self-defense?

"One of Imi's favorite sayings was, 'Krav maga doesn't have any rules except for one: Don't get hurt.'

People hear that and think it was just a glib statement, but it's deeper and more meaningful than that. It doesn't matter how strong your counterattack is if you haven't taken care of the primary danger. What he was saying is, if someone is choking you or trying to stab you, if you can't initially break the choke or stop the knife, you'll get hurt. You always have to think, eliminate the danger.

Some people think of danger on only one level, but there's also secondary and tertiary danger. Imi's message, to me, was to take care of the immediate danger, then take care of the person who's the source of it. If I can pick up something-maybe a chair, a purse, or a plate, anything-I'll use it. I don't want to make the fight fair. If someone attacks me, I'll use everything at my disposal to win. I didn't start the fight, but I'm going to finish it so I can go home to my children." - Darren Levine

Click here to see the full article.