Instant Ranks MARTIAL ARTS

July 25, 2023, Israel


When I was younger and in the job market, I studied the art of interviewing. Friends who had already been on interviews and secured jobs, gave me all sorts of advice. I recall, don't look down at your shoes, act relaxed, be clean shaven, wear a proper tie, make sure all your clothing is clean, act confident.

A friend, who was a professional working for a job agency, did me a favor and spruced up my resume. I assumed she would just correct my English, fix my grammar, make it sound a little better. When I came in if for the interview, the guy interviewing me said...Hmm. Dean's List four semester in a row, nice, captain of the football team, impressive. At which point I stopped him and said, Wait! that can't be my resume, let me take a look

I looked at my resume and said, Sir, I must apologize, a friend offered to help with my resume, I did not bother reading the updated version, this is simply not true. 

I believe in honesty. and, by the way, no, I did not get that job, but I turned out just fine. I make a living, being honest. 

Another key element of job interviewing is handling two critical questions: 1. What is the worst mistake you ever made at your previous job? and, 2. Why did you leave each of the jobs that you previously held. 

For the first question you do not want to say, "Sir, I have never made a mistake", because, A. you are clearly lying, and B. He may say to you, Well son, if you never experienced making a mistake, and then learning how to handle it and correct it, I sure as hell don't want your first screw up to be here at my company. You see, everyone makes mistakes, sooner or later, I rather have someone who made their mistakes before coming here, rather than have your first disaster on my watch

Very wise. 

Now the second question, Why did you leave your previous jobs? This is a very important and tricky question. If you are honest, you will not get the job, i.e. Sir, I was fired for embezzling money from the company, or I was fired for being perpetually late. If you give an answer like, I found IBM too confining, there was no room for growth, so I left to pursue a job at McDonalds, Hmm...they might not believe you.

You need to come up with something that sounds honest but does not make you look so bad. I never had this problem. I left a job in the stock market because it was an entry position job with a low salary and I wanted to work for a bank, not a brokerage firm. I left my job at a high school for emotionally disturbed and retarded children to work on Wall Street because that was the profession I was studying. (Although they joked that it was actually very good preparation for Wall Street).  The job at the Special Needs high school was just something that came my way. 

Why did you leave?

My point is, they want to know why you left your previous job because there needs to be a valid reason. If your resume shows 6 jobs in 7 years, that is not a good sign. If you were with one company for a long time and then suddenly left, it begs the question, Why! What happened that caused you to leave after so many years? the Future employer Must know the answer. He is trying to figure you out and avoid hiring a worker who might be problematic.

I did experience this once, but not with a job. I was at one Rabbinical academy with a very right way political orientation. I left midstream, in the middle of a semester and applied to join a very ultra-Orthodox, non-political rabbinical academy. The Head Rabbi wanted to know why. I was amazed; Within a couple of minutes, he pieced together all the circumstances and figured out that I had left because of, shall we say I had a little violent incident involving Arabs. I was fighting to protect Jewish rights. Needless to say, my application was promptly rejected.

and now to the point, and the Krav Maga connection. 

I frequently receive messages to the IKI website that read like... (you can practically cut and paste they are so similar) ... I trained with my instructor for 7 years but after I did my black belt test, he would not give me my diploma. How can I get one with you?

I always respond with can train with me, starting from white belt etc... but no, you will NOT get a black belt as a first rank. and NO, we do not recognize ranks from other schools, they are different. Do not send me a copy of your other ranks, you will actually need to train WITH US in our system. 

Needless to say, I never hear from these applicants again, but...they will find what they are looking for, with other organizations. Where there is a need, someone will provide a service. If alcohol and prostitution are prohibited by law, someone will provide it illegally. Everything can be found on the market.

I have seen this again and again. Someone wants a rank from us, or the right to promote their students to instructor, or the right to decide on this or on that, or conduct international seminars without getting approval from me personally. So, they leave, but...they do get what they want. There are organizations out there who, for a fee, will give you that diploma. but not just any diploma, a big fancy one, International Federation of Martial Arts etc etc. And they will say, You  EARNED  this. 

And then, my friends, here comes the question, and the connection to my lead-in story about job interviews. Sir, why did you leave your previous organization, what was it that you found so bad about it? Where the techniques so bad? Then why did you spend 13 years with them? Was the instructor incompetent? So why did it take you a decade to figure this out? Or maybe, perhaps, you demanded a rank that you did not deserve? or perhaps you were the problem and not the respected organiztion.

Like a job interview, the wise instructor will ask, why did you leave your previous instructor? Give me an intelligent reason. But no, most commercial organizations will simply ask, so you were a second dan? and now you want a third dan, great. and in one day, voila, you are a third dan black belt. and there they are on Facebook with a big smile, a bigger diploma, and the instructor saying Jim, you earned this rank.

Really? Jim earned it? In an afternoon, or by sending in a check, or a bank transfer? No Jim, sorry to break the news to you, thinking you "earned" this rank is like thinking the prostitute really finds you attractive. 

How long did you train with your new teacher before being awarded this rank? a day, or less? I encountered this with one prospective student that I turned down, when he informed me that he joined another organization and was promoted to third dan from second dan, I asked him about the process: Did you fly to Arizona to train with him? Or did he fly to California to train with you? Or did you send him videos of yourself?

No, he answered, the new instructor told him that since all Krav Maga was basically the same, and the applicant, by self-testimony had trained for X number of years, based on this, the new instructor promoted him, sight unseen. They had never met!

In such cases, of instant rank recognition, or worse, rank promotion, I can only reach one of two conclusions. 1. If you do deserve your rank, it is not because of your new instructor but rather all the credit goes to your previous instructor, it is he who trained you, and the second instructor simply took your money and gave you a piece of paper. 2. My second conclusion would be that no, you did not earn the rank, how could you? in a day? an afternoon? via a phone conversation and a wire transfer? No, it is simply fraudulent. You did not earn any rank whatsoever; you simply bought a piece of paper to fool future clients. Well done!

A job interviewer will ask questions; why did you leave your previous job? He will be able to detect a rat. but a new martial arts association may not care as much, show me the money and here is your new rank. but, the downside is, those who know will understand that this "association" is nothing more than a money making diploma factory. You might as well print up your own diploma, it costs less, and is just as worthless. And yes, people do do this. 

Buyer, or student, beware!

One final analogy that comes from peronsal experience, the world of rabbinical ordination. To the outside world, a rabbi is a rabbi, period. But to the inside world there is a world of gradations. There are no belts, there is no 10th dan black belt rabbi, no, but there is, get ready for it, reputation. What does this mean?

You can be ordained by the State of Israel Rabbinical Board, this is a highly respected degree that comes after 14 years of study. I know these guys, my God the material they need to know! it is mind blowing. It is far beyond a university doctorate. You might compare it to combined doctorates of Greek, Latin, Aramaic, law and philosophy all in one course. Those rabbinical titles are highly respected. If you have such a diploma, you earned it. Many fail the final exam, after years of study. This is a serious matter. But...

You can also earn a rabbinical degree by training privately, for 6 months, in an unsupervised environment. You will also have a fancy diploma in Hebrew, you will also be allowed to call yourself rabbi, but those who know, know.  Therefore, people will always ask, where did you study? Who ordained you? 

If the answer is, for example, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein of New York, may the memory of the righteous be for a blessing, wow, heads will turn. He was a legend, in fact he was known simply as Reb Moshe, no title necessary. If he ordained you, Wow. I was once in a group where someone said, so where did you receive your rabbinic ordination? the answer was, from Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan of Poland, All Heads Turned!

It is not the title, rank, or diploma that matters, it is how much effort you put into it and Who Certified You? Who put his signature next to your name?

If you want to know about any of the instructors or black belts in our system, you can contact me directly. Buyer Beware!


Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.

Understand the Israeli Fighting Mentality - Israel a Nation of Warriors by Moshe Katz


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