April 4, 2017 at 5:02 pm #34770
It has been a LONG time since I have been here and many things have been going on…
Unfortunately, I am not at KMW anymore- First, my original school is no longer KMW. But in the meantime, I had to have back surgery and my surgeon screwed up big time, paralyzing me. It took me two more surgeries and over a year in residence, outpatient, and at-home PT to learn how to walk again. I still have some major neuro deficits in my legs and I walk like a geek… but I am walking… lol I have to have at least another surgery soon. I wear a back brace and am in a lot of pain during training. There is much I cannot do anymore, but hopefully after my next surgery I will be able to again.
Once I was able to get back into Krav, I started back at a different school. I have been there a few years now. Here comes my dilemma. The school is fantastic. The family atmosphere is the best ever. Many of us hang out after classes or outside of the school. The chief instructor is phenomenal.
The problem is the school owner. The owner is incredibly gifted in his ability. Looking at him you would never think he could do what he does. He is fat, but he does a split with jeans on. He is incredibly fast. He was KMW, then went GKM, then decided to start his own affiliation (with a number of affiliates). All fine and well, except when he transitioned from traditional martial arts to Krav Maga, he never fully transitioned. He never left the Asian part behind. As such, we are barefoot on the mat, he has us wearing belts, using Japanese terms like Dojo, Sensei, Shihan, Sempai, etc. We have to recite the ‘student creed’ and other silly crap. He often incorporates other complicated martial arts into Krav Maga training. It really pisses me off.
As far as belts, oh my God he uses belts… Where Krav Maga usually has 5 levels or belts, he has *SO* many. His phase 1 is three belts, White, Yellow, Orange. Phase 2 is Purple, Blue, Green. Phase 3 is Brown 1, Brown 2, Red 1, Red 2, and Red 3 (Red 3 is considered “Candidate” which is candidate for Black Belt). Finally, Black Belt.
Testing is a joke. Testing occurs during a regular class and does not fully test the knowledge block for that particular belt or level. In fact, he says there is no particular set of skills for a particular belt or phase. He says, “It is a process and along the way, everyone gets what he/she needs.” To me, a particular belt or phase should indicate exactly what you have been trained to do. In his mind, he teaches a particular movement and if the students does not get it the way it should be, that’s alright, promote them and eventually he/she will have to be retaught later on. In my mind, if you teach the student the exact movement and keep working with the student until they get it right, then you only have to teach them once.
He calls his school a “Blackbelt School”. To me, this indicates only that he pushes people through as a belt factory and so far, this is exactly what I am seeing. Many of us take the training very seriously and are fully qualified. However, many advanced and even black belt level students are absolute crap. We have some black belts that cannot get out of a side headlock or a rear naked choke. Not because of overpowering strength, but because they do not know the defense for it. We have many black belts that have no power. We have many black belts that were of another martial art previously, so do not fully do Krav Maga. Their stance is wrong, they drop their hands, etc. Not that some of them are not effective, some are greatly effective and powerful, but they do not present as good examples to lower ranks trying to emulate them. He certifies kids as black belts in Krav Maga, and when they get to adult level, they have no skills.
His advanced training incorporates way too much basic and intermediate training, How many times do we have to do a front groin kick? Often, during advanced training, we do nothing new. Nothing we haven’t done for the past half dozen belts. The same defenses, the same combatives, over and over and over. While I fully appreciate the 10,000 times concept, when you are in Phase 3, you should be concentrating on learning new Phase 3 materials, not spending weeks on end still doing the same Phase 1 and Phase 2 stuff.
His black belt testing is about 3 hours long but not as difficult as KMW Level 1 testing. The first hour of testing is not much more than a shit load of PT.
The next is stability, of which there is none. He constantly changes things. Schedules, class formats, materials, etc. He has two ‘advanced’ classes. One includes intermediate students and advanced students, the other is just advanced students. Why? He thinks it is good. Schedules change 2 to 3 times per year. It drives all of us nuts and he loses MANY students each time he changes schedules. But he keeps doing it. SO now, he has changed the Black belt class format. So the first half hour is a brutal workout, which he promises will get more intense over time. A HALF HOUR!!!! The next half hour is divided amongst whichever ‘elective’ you want to choose. The “electives’ are Kenpo/Kenpojitsu, Arete, and grappling. He has degrees of black belt and in order to get your second degree, you must become proficient at one of the other martial arts.
He does provide certified instructor training, but unfortunately, it is open to any student that pays the fee, including basic students. The instructor training is pretty good I think, and may be better than most. He does a lot of ‘self-improvement’ stuff outside the school and incorporates a lot of that into the instructor training. He is always reading this or that book and quoting them. He attends tons of seminars all the time. It is sort of a pyramid scheme where he tries to get your in under his team and the more books and programs you buy and seminars you pay to attend, he gets some sort of credit, and if you get others to join under you, the same follows. I do not fall for much of his self-improvement though. However, a lot of what he incorporates into the certified instructor training has some value.
I was teaching for a while (for free of course) but then he changed things AGAIN and began insisting we must bow before getting on the mat and leaving it. He insisted we all use the proper Japanese titles, Shihan, Sensei, and Sempai. I refused. I am taking Krav Maga, not Japanese martial arts. So I stopped teaching. He has done something I thought nobody could do. He has single handedly taken my gung ho for Krav and reduced it by a long way. I no longer look forward to each class like I did. I was taking two classes a day, plus teaching 2 classes a day, four days a week. Now, I do 3 classes a week. Just the Blackbelt classes. I no longer teach, although I do help other students in the class. I will help out when asked, but that is it.
He does all sorts of other crap that annoys the hell out of me and other students too, but the point of all this is to wonder… Exactly where does my black belt rank in the real word of Krav Maga. No doubt I am at least Level 4 by looking at the KMW curriculum. However, I do not know what the KMW black belt and post black belt curriculum looks like
Can someone point me to the curriculum so I can see what I need to be learning?
Thank you one and all.April 5, 2017 at 10:39 pm #90111cjs-dadKeymaster
WOW. well first of all I’m glad your health is improving. As far as your school is concerned, sadly your not the first person to suffer from “my egos so big I’m the only one who knows anything about anything” syndrome. “KenpoJitsu?” I think I just heard Mr Parker chuckle.
As far as the KMW curriculum its all in the Yellow book and then BBKM books.
You can also post any technique questions or PM me if you want.
Good luck with your training.
SeanApril 6, 2017 at 11:35 am #90113
WOW.. I haven’t looked at my yellow books in such a long time.
I just took the “Complete” guide down off the shelf to see what I could see.April 13, 2017 at 6:52 am #90116donMember
Hey SP, just wanted to wish you all the best on your road back to full recovery! I’m sorry to hear about all the crap you’ve been experiencing! If it makes you feel any better, you’re not alone – I’ve been dealing with a bunch of crap sort of similar to yours too lol At least you can choose to train somewhere else/with someone else if you really want to! 🙂 Mine’s work related so I don’t have as much choice/leeway. 🙁 Hopefully, for me, if I can concentrate on the half-full part of my glass and not let things out of my control bother me as much, maybe I can slow the rate of new gray hairs growing and prevent the ulcers! lolApril 13, 2017 at 4:12 pm #90117
Thank you very much!
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