Becoming an IKI instructor – Making the Transition

By Moshe Katz
CEO Israeli Krav International (IKI)

Many of our IKI instructors were originally certified by other Krav Maga organizations or associations. When they joined us they had no ranking or status in IKI.

For many instructors thinking of joining IKI this presents a challenge.

They want to join IKI but are afraid of losing their current ranks and status.

The truth is there is no challenge, no question, no problem: What are the potential issues?


An established Krav Maga instructor, perhaps a school owner, becomes dissatisfied with his/her current Krav Maga organization. Perhaps it is for reasons of business ethics or prices, perhaps they have come to realize that the techniques are not so effective. In any event they go searching and find IKI.

They are already in business, they have regular students. They are not going to close down shop and become a full time Krav Maga student.

So what are the issues as they see it;

  • I am currently a "level 3" instructor with my current organization, if I decide to join IKI I must be recognized at the same level, otherwise my students will not respect me!
  • How can you expect me to give up my current rank when you are not offering me any rank in return?
  • How can I continue teaching without any rank?
  • What happens with my students? How can I possibly tell them that their current ranks are suddenly invalid and they have to start from white belt again?

Simple Solution

First, no one can take away your current rank. When you join IKI you do not lose any of your previous ranks. I have no authority or motive to invalidate your current rank. That is yours to keep.

You continue teaching, no need to hang up a sign that you are "disqualified", you are not disqualified, you are just training in a new system and will soon have your official certification with IKI. In the interim we support you and assist you in any and every way. You will receive an official membership certificate and you can display the IKI logo. You have our full support.  

The falsehood of rank recognition

Nearly all Krav Maga associations offer "rank recognition", i.e. you can join their association with your previous rank; no test, no training, automatic rank.

The question is why? The answer is simple; it is good for business, you can join their association and retain your current rank. That is not the IKI way. That is dishonest.

So what should an instructor do?

Continue Teaching

You continue teaching. Your school goes on as always. Gradually you introduce new techniques. I do it all the time. I tell my students; we are in a constant process of growth and experimentation. When a student returns after having been away for a period of time he will often ask me, "Are we still using this gun defense, or has it changed? They know we are always looking for better and more efficient methods.

So gradually you introduce changes.

As soon as you join  us you can put up the IKI logo in your school; This shows that you are now affiliated with IKI. You do not have to be a certified instructor yet. You have not been "de-certified" and you do not need to announce to your students that now you are a white belt. You have the full backing of IKI and we are here to help you.

Of course you tell your staff/instructors that you are changing affiliations and adopting a new curriculum, they need to be part of the process.

As an experienced instructor it should not take you very long to achieve "Apprentice Instructor" status with IKI. Again, the term Apprentice should not be seen as a negative or lowly term. The title IKI Apprentice Instructor fully qualifies you to teach.

You should display this rank with pride alongside your other diplomas. There is no need yet to remove those other diplomas showing your past experience. If you have earned your students respect none of this should present any problems.

Your students retain their current ranks, and they should be proud of them. However at a certain point you explain that now you are with IKI and they need to test for ranks with IKI.

I have students who are recognized grandmasters in their own right but they did not hesitate to earn ranks, much lower ranks, with IKI.

In some cases an experienced student can skip ranks, as long as they meet the demands of their new rank with IKI.

However there should be no conflict between old and new ranks. I recall when my teacher began training in Brazilian Jujitsu, he was already a third degree black belt in kickboxing but now was very proud to earn a blue belt in jujitsu. There was no conflict, he did not have to "relinquish" his rank in Kickboxing, his jujitsu instructor did not "take away" his Kickboxing rank. (No instructor can take away your ranks from another instructor).

So the transition from another Krav Maga organization to IKI should be a smooth and painless one. At no point do you become "Un qualified", at no point do you "lose" any rank, but at a certain point you attain a new rank and proudly announce to your students that now you are a fully qualified IKI instructor being trained directly from Israel.

Hosting a seminar would be the next logical step so your students become directly connected to the head of the system.

Best of all, you will know that you did not attain your rank by a business transaction. You did not "earn" your rank by threatening that if you do not get "rank recognition" you will go over to a competitor; rather you earned it the old fashioned way, the correct way – by training and testing.

I am very proud and honored that among our IKI instructors are 10th dan black belts from other styles, Grand Masters and school owners, Military veterans including those who served in Special Forces, Corrections officers and champions. It was a proud moment when one of my first instructors Frank W. Dux fully endorsed our system and said it was the best he had ever seen.

We respect your previous training and ranks but in order for you to respect your new rank with IKI – you must earn it, the old fashioned way, by working. We invite you to join IKI for a style that is never content, we are always striving to improve.

Questions and Answers


I am already a recognized instructor in another system of Krav Maga. I have been teaching locally for many years.

 I would like to know where my students and I would stand within the IKI
 organization. I have certified several instructors and have multiple students of various ranks including black belts.

I currently have several schools under my guidance and others training to be instructors under me.

Answer: I will repeat what I always say and that which is on the website.

No one comes to IKI with any rank. no exceptions, ever.

When our instructors join they often have high ranks in other martial arts and even from other Krav Maga associations.

All great. All respected.

Now I know it is great for business to accept someone with their current ranks, even better, lets up the person a rank or two!

In fact many of my instructor members have been contacted by the leading commercial schools of Krav Maga and were offered two black belt ranks above their current rank. (One might as well just buy a belt and print out one's own certificate if one is so lacking in self respect).

New members join with no rank, and no promises. one does NOT lose their current ranks and they can still display them so that customers see they have a rank, and you explain, honestly, to the students that you are in the process of transition. (I myself went through the same experience when I joined with Itay Gil and I began as a white belt despite having had already earned a brown belt).

I say to all our new members, your ability will speak for itself, not your collection of diplomas. (To be honest over the years I have seen countless worthless diplomas that were unproven by the person's ability).

Many of our new members indeed proved to be a very capable martial artists. Their previous training allowed them to progress very rapidly up the ranks. 

So with the students the same applies. they do not need to go through all the ranks but they do not get automatic ranks either. If a guy is a blue belt he can start again at white, as many want to do, or...simply train until he is ready to test for blue belt in IKI.  We have no desire to "put anyone down".  They can wear their old belts as long as they want, but when they feel ready they can test for an IKI rank.

I hope that makes sense.

I always give the analogy with language. I learned some Spanish, enough to give a seminar in Spanish. Now I will travel to Brazil, they speak Portuguese, it is similar but... also different. I wish I could do a "rank recognition" or "rank transfer" and now speak Portuguese but I cannot, I can only hope that my efforts and background in learning Spanish will help me progress more rapidly in Portuguese.

Many applicants chose not to go with IKI as they do not want to make the effort. There are plenty of Krav Maga organizations out there more than happy to give people any rank they want, no questions asked, but...we are different, in many many ways.

All the best,


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