Krav Maga, Ranks, and Lack of Patience
By Moshe Katz, Krav Maga Instructor, Israel

March 5, 2014

Past midnight. I had turned off the computer already, hoping for an early night. Reading about some of our wars, some thoughts were running through my head. I tried to quiet them, enough! Even I am allowed some quiet time, to read, to study, to grow. No more work for tonight.

Cleaning up the house I caught a glimpse of a photo in the newspaper, IDF soldiers. Something about them made me think; they look fierce but they also look patient.

Patience, an essential quality in a soldier, an essential quality in any warrior.

It hit me, I must write about this now. Suddenly it is all clear. Totally clear.

Earlier this evening a loyal student reported to me that his teacher, an IKI Krav Maga instructor, had jumped ship (left the organization). This is not the first time. In fact, I saw it coming.

An instructor wants a rank, pushes, maybe gets one rank but he wants more, a higher level black belt, a higher instructor level, but gets turned down.

Flashback, mid 1980's, I am testing for a rank, my teacher Itay Gil, long before the "Human Weapon", long before the fame and the tours, said to me words I will never forget, words I still honor, "Moshe, you are I are friends, and friends give each other many gifts but friends do not give each other ranks."

My teacher made me earn my ranks. And I worked hard. For my brown belt test I took a leave of absence from work, I trained non-stop. I ran up hills and endless stairs. I jumped rope and lifted weights and I drove Esther crazy with training, "One more time, one more time." And as she wrote in a blog years later, "With Moshe one more time meant hundreds more times."

So tonight, I turn back on the computer, make some black coffee and decide I must write down my thoughts. This is important.

I know how it is today in the Krav Maga world. Many of our instructors are approached by competing organizations. They try and lure away our instructors with offers of money and rank, mostly ranks. One instructor in the USA was a first dan, the competing organization offered him a third dan, (no test) based on his "years in the martial arts".

In Holland our instructors were offered an immediate promotion to the next black belt level, no test, nothing, automatic just for joining.

I am amazed that any self respecting person can accept such offers but...they do, all the time, everyday.

Now I will admit this can create pressure. I once lost 12 schools at once over this. The head instructor of a certain country wanted the right to promote his students to instructor level, rather then have me promote them directly. I said no. I would not allow this.

As of now I retain sole right to promote IKI members to instructor status. Simply put there is no one out there yet who can do this. Fair and straight forward. This particular instructor had logged maybe 6 days total of training with me but felt ready to assume this status. I said no, he left along with all his students. So be it.

Today a student I regarded as loyal left us. Why? Same issue, I would not relinquish this right, I would not grant the rank he wanted, I told him he was not ready. So he joined another organization, one I never even heard of. He was instantly promoted to third dan black belt. This is how it works in the Krav Maga world. Shame.

Let me make this clear; if one joins another Krav Maga association he instantly forfeits all ranks and privileges from IKI. He can no longer claim any rank or status in IKI.

Black Belt, I remember it well. I trained hard. Itay kept telling me, "Your day of glory will come. Your day of glory will come." Man, was he right!

I was anxious, I wanted the rank so bad, it was my whole life. But I trusted my teacher. Others were promoted, I waited, but I trained harder and harder, I never turned down a fight, I never missed a training session. I came late to weddings, I missed parties, I showed up on dates with a black eye or a fat nose or swollen lips. And I was patient.

Today I see people suffer from impatience, they cannot wait. I remember when I wanted my black belt and it seemed to take forever. A friend from another organization offered me one, "Just join us and you will have your black belt, you deserve it!."

I thought about it for a split second but said no. I have worked so hard I am not going to take the easy way out now. I want to earn my black belt.

I came for my black belt test but Itay was not there. I was told "Miluim" (Reserves), no test today, my teacher was needed by our army. And so again the next time. I had to wait. I had to be patient.

And now today I face students who demand ranks, black belts, instructor status, and there is always the implied threat; If I do not get the rank that I want NOW, I will find someone who will be happy to give it to me.

Yes, I know, the world is filled with worthless Krav Maga associations who will give you any rank you want as long as you join their association. They have no self-respect or values and if you accept their offers; neither do you.

So please, if you are the type who is impatient, and all that matters is a printed piece of paper with a rank that you did not earn, leave us now. Got to get you out of my life, NOW.

I earned my ranks, fair and square, I did not buy my ranks, I did not manipulate anyone into giving me ranks. My skills back up my ranks. I have proven myself all over the world to the toughest audiences. So if you want an easy rank, go someplace else. IKI is not your place.

But if you do earn an IKI rank; know that you can respect yourself.

Moshe with IKI Moscow; these guys are serious and train hard.

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Moshe Katz with two guys I really respect, Alan Mann from South Africa and Shai from Israel. N0 easy ranks

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