In the martial arts world today, I feel there is way too much emphasis on ranks, false honor, and money making. On the other hand there are many, lesser known, martial artists who labor hard in pursuit of that elusive question and quest; What will really save us in a life threatening situation?
Rank is important, it identifies for us who has trained long and hard, and who has not. Money too is important; without it we cannot pay our bills. However, when those two issues, money and rank, eclipse our quest for real, down to earth, self-defense, we are in serious trouble.
With IKI Krav Maga, that quest never dies. We are always testing old techniques and challenging ourselves with new situations. Our students must train hard, and our instructors must train harder. The instructors must set an example for the students.
There are schools where I am invited to conduct Krav seminars where I find the instructors not participating. Apparently, they feel it might demean them in the eyes of their students, it would imply that the instructors still need to learn something. Just the opposite I say, I want my students to know I am constantly trying to learn new and more effective techniques, I want them to know I am still in the learning/training process.
Too many people are looking for rank rather than skill. Bryce Ligeti, our IKI instructor in Saginaw, Texas, comes from a boxing background. He pointed out to me that in boxing not only are there no belt ranks but that to achieve any sort of ranking one needs to participate in over 150 matches. That guarantees that the boxer has undergone sufficient training and ring time. (What we call mat time; time spent on the mat training)
We should look to boxing, and our own roots, to remind us that real training takes time, effort and devotion. We can only call ourselves instructors after we have put in the time and effort. It is only with endless repetitions that we begin to really grasp the technique. It is only with endless repetitions that we begin to understand ourselves and how we relate to others, both physically and emotionally.
Rank means you achieved something after a long period of hard work and dedication, let's not focus on outside factors when we are training, lets remain true and keep it real.