September 3, 2017, California, USA
IKI Cleveland, a group that understands and appreciates the difference between IKI and other "similar" organizations.
There are many systems of Krav Maga out there and there is no way for the novice to know the difference. We all share the same name. There is no way for the non-expert to know what makes IKI different from the others.
Thus I find it frustrating when well meaning people say, Oh, I love Krav Maga, there is a school near me.
I simply answer that if it is not an IKI Krav Maga school I have nothing to do with it, cannot endorse it and you might as well be talking about ping pong. I have nothing in common with other Krav Maga schools.
On the other hand one of the great sources of satisfaction for me is when IKI instructors tell me what they find unique about IKI and why they are so happy that they found me, and no, it is not only about the price.
It is not only about the fact that I am very approachable and respond so quickly to e mails.
It is not only about the personal touch and guidance.
It is not only about the fact that we are always open to questions and comments.
It is not only about the fact that we are never content, we are always evolving and we start with You As the Center of all we do.
No, there is more than that. Here are two key points.
1. We do not begin with a technique, we begin with a situation where we do not know specifically what will happen. Thus we do not train for "A Knife", or "A Punch". We train to see early warning signs, we train for the unknown. We do not train you how to respond to situation 101B but rather we develop in you tools, skill sets and a mindset that can adapt and cope with the unknown, for that is what you will face. And no, this is not the norm in martial arts or even in Krav Maga.
2. We are not a collection of techniques. I recall a member years ago who wanted to test with us for black belt. He surprised me by sending in many techniques from different styles of Krav Maga. He had trained with many other Krav Maga masters and decided to impress me by sending in a "Greatest Hits" collection of what he considered the best Krav Maga techniques collected from many great masters.
He had to redo the test from start. He did not pass. He failed to grasp what IKI is and thought he could combine techniques from different Krav Maga instructors. It does not work this way. Combining techniques only confuses the entire point of what we are about.
Sometimes some instructors will wish to add techniques from other styles such as ground fighting or grappling. What they do not realize is that while training in other styles is sometimes beneficial, mixing techniques is not.
One of the aspects of IKI that I am most proud of is the idea that one thread runs through all of our techniques. This means that once you understand the concept you will not only find it easier to learn the techniques but also to remember them and apply them. Once you grasp the thread that runs through all the techniques you will be able to apply this to new situations that we have not even dealt with before. It is very gratifying to me when I see instructors doing this.
We are not a collection of great techniques from many instructors, that is what we were many years ago, but we have evolved. Now we are a unique system with one simple thread running through all our techniques and uniting them. So if you are doing a ground technique you will see the same elements and concepts that we use for our standing techniques. In a knife defense you will see the same movements and elements that we use in a gun defense.
The beginner may not notice this at first. The advanced student, the instructors, are expected to see and understand this. If they do not then they fail to grasp the essence of IKI. It is like telling the Beatles, Yes, nice music. Or telling Shakespeare, nice story. The point is such comments are telling me; you are not "getting it".
When I went to purchase my first guitar I brought my teacher with me, it was my way of saying - I have not yet reached the level to know the difference between a quality guitar and a cheap look alike. A beginner will choose the guitar that looks cool, the expert will understand the workmanship and why one costs $49.95 and the other $1000. It is the same with martial arts.