Instructors Training Program
Our instructor certification program is rather unique and thus raises some questions for prospective members and those seeking to be Krav Maga instructors. The confusion lies in our flexibility.
Unlike other organizations we do not have a “one program fits all” mentality. Our program is geared toward the individual because each individual is unique and carries his or her own unique baggage.
We differ in two major areas; technique and pricing.
Lets' look at technique first. If we were to design, say, a 180 hour program, it would include a certain number of hours for judo throws and rolls, Muay Thai low kicks, knee kicks and elbow strikes, karate hand strikes, and submission grappling. Now say Sean comes from a grappling background. I will show him how IKI Krav grappling differs from Brazilian jujitsu, I will show him how we adapted the techniques for the street and how we incorporated the use of guns and knives. It will not take him very long to grasp these subtle but important differences. We are talking a few hours at most and then he can train with this with his training partners. He will not need a long, time consuming and costly “certification program” in this area.
Similarly, if Joe has a Hapkido or Aikido background he will quickly appreciate the street applications of those movements. If someone is a certified Muay Thai instructor I need not spend time teaching and testing him on kicks. I need to observe him once, that’s it.
If someone wants to come to Israel or fly me over to their school for a long term program, as some do, we can certainly add up the hours, and the dollars, quite easily. But what if that is not an option?
Many of our instructors come to IKI with a strong martial arts background. Many hold ranks of 6th dan or higher, some hold 10th dans. Do I really need to teach them every aspect of martial arts?
When I test students in Israel for black belt in Mixed Martial Arts, we do the full 40 minutes of full contact fighting, but is this necessary for all our IKI members?
Many of our members come with many years of service in law enforcement and military. Some were Marines, Special Forces, Texas Rangers, Air Marshalls, city cops, SWAT teams members, State Troopers, Sherif’s Dept. Some served in Israeli commandos, the Soviet Army, the US Army. Some of made hundreds of arrests, some have killed men in battle. They have been to hell and back. Now they are older. They have many bones that have been broken and healed but the scars and the pain remains. They carry their battle scars with pride. Do I really need to test their fighting spirit?
Now I understand how this might look to a prospective member; how did Joe Smith join just a few months ago and now is a Phase One Instructor? Well, first let me say that a Phase One instructor is not a full instructor yet. He or she is certified to teach, run an IKI school, and promote to a certain level, but they have not reached the full instructor status yet, that must take a matter of years. On this matter I strictly follow the guidelines of our board of directors, headed by Dr. Jerry Beasley. I will address that issue elsewhere.
So how did Joe Smith become an instructor so fast? Are we just a “diploma factory” Heaven forbid!
God knows I have been offered large sums of money, honor and status in exchange for ranks. I have turned down all such offers, they do not tempt me.
So our imaginary Joe Smith comes to us with say, 25 years of military experience. That shows me his has some fighting spirit. Perhaps he served in Iraq or Somalia, perhaps he worked as cop in the bad neighborhoods of Philly. This man does not need to prove to me, or anyone else, that he has courage. Our intense black belt tests are not designed to see if you know the techniques, they are designed to test your will to live, your warrior spirit. These veterans have already proven that enough. Now that they are older and want to join our ranks, I need not ask them to prove themselves by playing a young mans game. I consider it an insult to ask a man of 50 to have to engage in full contact fights to prove he has warrior spirit. I have not the slightest doubt that if push came to shove he would floor a younger man in seconds. No need to add to his bruises right now.
Back to our candidate, Joe Smith. So he has proven his warrior spirit, he has earned black belts in Karate or Jujitsu, perhaps he even won a state championship when he was younger. So what do I expect of him now?
I expect him to carefully study our IKI Krav Maga techniques. I expect him to drill on them many many times and internalize them. I expect him to understand our approach and how we have improved on existing techniques and I expect them to be able to teach this to others. Given his vast experience, and the inherent simplicity of our approach, this hopefully should not take very long.
Length of Study
Ones training period will thus depend on one’s previous experience and ability. This is highly individual. So when I receive an e mail with the question, “How long will it take me to achieve a certain level?” my answer is always, “I can only answer that after I have trained with you.”
Now some individuals have the time and money to train for a few weeks or a few months. Others cannot afford this. They have a family, a business to run, a school to operate. Taking a few weeks off could mean financial ruin. So what can they do?
Well, some organizations will say - that is not our concern. If you don’t have the time and the money we cannot help you. That is not our approach. One can join IKI on line, receive the clips and purchase the DVD’s, and train at one’s own pace. Perhaps add a seminar or a few private lessons now and then. You will grow into an instructor in due time; train and pay as you go. It need not make you broke to become a certified Krav instructor.
This approach has proved itself. I have seen the results first hand and I proud of our instructors, they could hold their own against anyone. We have no secrets, their names and contact information is available.
Money Issues This brings us to the final issue, the final problem that some prospective members have with IKI; it is too darn affordable.
How can it be, they ask, that we deal in hundreds of dollars while others deal in thousands? How can it be that we don’t have a staff of lawyers ready with documents to sign and hidden fees to pay?
All I can say is if you want to spend lots of money on private training you can. I don’t work for free, I don’t know many who do. But if you want to join our organization and receive top training, it need not cost a fortune. In fact it is indeed very affordable. I believe in offering a fair price, I do not want to take advantage of anyone. There is an old say, “Buyer beware“, there is always someone out there eager to take your money. There is another saying, “A fool and his money are soon parted.”
More than this I cannot say. Just because a product or service is affordable, it need not necessarily be sub standard. Use your intelligence, compare and judge for yourself. Sometimes the best things in life are not the most expensive. But for those who want expensive, there will always be someone ready to take your money, of this I can assure you.
Over the years I have learned that one must be careful in dealing with others, one must keep an eye out for scoundrels and crooks. Thankfully, however, I have also learned that there are many wonderful people out there, those who will not deceive you or take advantage of you, those who do good for the sake of goodness, those who help a stranger in need .
For several years now I have traveled all over the USA and Canada and parts of Europe. I can honestly say that without the kindness and generosity of total strangers I would have been stuck forever in airports, lost in the maze of endless highways and stranded in train stations in the middle of the night.
Yes, the world is a good place after all, a place where a man will help his fellow man for no reason other than “that’s the right thing to do”, a place where a stranger will pay your bus fare or grab your bag and help you carry it up a flight of stairs, a place where a man will say “God bless you brother” and mean it from the depths of his heart. I know this because I have experienced all this first hand, I have seen the spark of God in men and women. For me it is a constant reminder, a still small voice that says, “Believe there is goodness in this world”.