Becoming an IKI Instructor - Making the transition


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

They want to join IKI but are afraid of losing the ranks and status they had earned elsewhere. They cannot afford to be without a rank, even for a short period of time.

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


An establisheed Krav Maga instructor, perhaps a school owner, becomes dissastisfed with his/her current Krav Maga organization. Perhaps it is because of business considersations, ethics or fees, perhaps because they have come to realize  that the tecniques being taught are not very effective or useful for most people. In any event they go searching for a new organization and they 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, they simply cannot afford that.

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 recognizee at the same level, otherwise my students will no longer respect me!
  • How can you expect me to give up my current rank when you are not offering me any rank in return? I can't teach without an rank!
  • How can I continue teaching without rank or certificatoin?
  • What happens with my students?  How can I possibly tell them that their current ranks are suddenly no longer valid or recoganized and that they need to start from white belt again?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 motivation to invalidate your current ranks. Those are 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, no questions asked, 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 a dishonest way.  Would you respect a rank you did not earn? Is it just about collecting diplomas?

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 a period of absence he will often ask, "Are we still using the same gun technique as before, 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 the IKI logo in your school; this shows that you are not 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 you are now 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 tittle 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 and achievements. If you have the respect of your students, none of this should present any problems. You are simply growing, and so will they. 

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 rest for ranks with IKI. During my years with my main instructor we went also transitioned to a different association. We trusted his decision.  

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 prod to have earned a blue belt in Jujitsu. There was never any 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 "Unqualified", 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 systems. This can only enhance your status. Best of all, you will know that you did not attain your IKI 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 organization; 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.

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 for many years. I would like to know where my students and I would stand with 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 IKI 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, let's up the person a rank or two! In fact many of my instruct tor members have been contacted by the leading commercial schools of Krav Maga and offered two black belt ranks about their current. (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 those so that customers can see they have a rank. You explain, honestly to the students that you are in the process of transition.

I say to all our new members, you ability will speak for itself, not your collection of diplomas. Over the years I have seen countless worthless diplomas. The person's ability in new matched his impressive paper collection of fancy diplomas.

Many of our new members indeed proved to be 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 student holds the rank of blue belt he can start again at white belt, as many want to do to, or simply train until he is ready to test for his brown belt in IKI (i.e. his next rank). 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 like to offer the analogy of learning a language. I learned some Spanish, enough to teach a seminar in Spanish. Now I travel to Brazil, they speak Portuguese, it is similar but also very 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. It is the same with martial arts.

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 ways. 

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