Krav Maga Ranks and Recognition
By Moshe Katz

What Do Ranks Represent?

There are organizations that offer what is called "rank recognition". The idea is that they welcome martial artists of many disciplines to submit their ranks, diplomas and certificates and receive in return an equal rank from the organization they have just joined.

We do not see this as legitimate. Some organizations are simply about making money. Send in whatever diplomas you have, plus your check, and you get a nice looking diploma.

Others are more like brotherhoods, in a sense a reaction against the commercialization of martial arts. You pay some token amount, you meet, train, exchange ideas, and you can get a certificate recognizing your current rank or even promoting you. What these associations have in common is they are not style specific. You can be a judo man or a Krav Maga man and you can still get rank. It is a rubber stamp, they welcome you to the brotherhood recognizing whatever rank you claim to have, as long as you have some diploma that says so.

With many associations they will automatically give you an equal or greater rank, with the authority of their association. The idea is you do not need to "start all over" or begin with a lower rank. Your fifth dan black belt in ABC Krav Maga becomes a fifth dan black belt in XYZ Krav Maga.

IKI is not such an association.

Nearly every week I get some requests. The requests all have certain elements in common;

These are people who are unwilling to invest money and pay for our services.

These are people who are not really interested in learning something new.

They want a Krav Maga diploma but not the Krav Maga techniques.

They want the rank now.

The requests come in different forms;

"I will offer you a 5th dan in Aikijutsu in exchange for a 5th dan in your style of Krav Maga." i.e. no money will be exchanged, no learning will take place.

My answer: No! Why? I don't care for a rank in a style I never studied and I don't want you advertising yourself as having a rank in IKI when I have no proof that you know any of our techniques.

Or, "I will pay the first year fee but I want the black belt included."

My answer: No.

I explain the procedure in a form letter. Basically here is the process; join, (and pay), get the clips, buy our DVD's, train, and test. Simple? Yet this answer disappoints many applicants and most of those who inquire never join IKI!

Another situation:

"I have trained with KMXW, and IKMG, and Hadada...etc and now I want to get a rank from you. My answer: No! Why? Let those who trained you test you. We teach something very different.

Bottom line: I will only test you on IKI techniques. I will not test you on your knowledge of Kung Fu or some other style of Krav Maga.

Sometimes this is awkward. What if someone is older than me, has a higher rank than me in martial arts, is very well known in his style and now would like to be "recognized" with a rank in Krav Maga. What shall I do?

The answer must still be a resounding "No". You may have a 10th dan black belt in Shotokan Karate or Aikido, but you must still learn our techniques in order to have rank in our style. Yes, it can be awkward for me. But many have done it. Many of our students join IKI with 5th dans, even 10th dans. What is special about IKI is that our members are humble. They put aside their other ranks and egos and come to learn something new.

We do not do "rank recognition", we only offer rank in our style of Krav Maga. You may be the UFC champion, so what? Good for you. This does not entitle you to a rank in IKI.

We welcome everyone, young and old, experienced and novice, as long as you come with an empty cup yearning to be full with something new.

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