Ranks in Krav Maga
By Moshe Katz

The Significance of Ranks

From the earliest recorded days of martial arts ranks have played a role. The motivation appears to be two fold; motivation and recognition.


Motivation can be described as the human need to be pushed or pulled to do some activity. While achieving a certain skill is important in and of itself we often need a little more. When we join a club we get a pin, when we win a world series we get a ring, something tangible to show "we did it". So it is with martial arts that long ago our early instructors realized that a rank, title, belt or sash, would go a long way in motivating students, in giving them that extra push.


When I was teaching the Jerusalem elite security guards I had a recurring problem. Each new group would come in, look around the room, and ask, "Are you our instructor?" I solved the problem by printing up T shirts that said in large letters, "Instructor". There is a need to know who the instructor is.

In terms of ranking it is important that when someone reaches the skill level of instructor he has some sort of title, patch, or certificate to indicate for all to know; this individual is qualified, certified, authorized and recognized as an instructor.

Israeli Krav International (IKI) Ranking

With IKI the ranking system there are two kinds of ranks; belt ranks and instructor ranks.

Belt ranks measure your personal ability to do the techniques effectively. Instructor ranks measure your ability to teach these techniques to others.

For those who little or no previous experience we start with white belt, move up to yellow, orange, green, blue and brown. Once a student has reached green belt he is eligible to be considered for Apprentice Instructor level.

What is "Apprentice Instructor"?

Apprentice Instructor is basically an instructor level. It indicates that I trust you to teach and to faithfully pass on the techniques and concepts of IKI Krav Maga. You will not teach Jujitsu and call it Krav Maga. You will not teach other styles of Krav Maga and call it IKI Krav Maga.

Of course to achieve this level you need to be proficient yourself, but basically the rank is an indication of teaching ability and of understanding the concepts behind the techniques.

Black Belt in Krav Maga

There are no advanced Krav Maga techniques, rather what I look for is fluidity and the ability to improvise, adapt and apply.

There are no hard and fast rules; it is more a matter of personal judgment of the instructor.

After black belt one can advance up the ranks up to fifth dan black belt. We have no intention of awarding ranks above fifth dan. By that point you should overcome the need for rank.

for further information on earning ranks, fees, and instructor certification, please see On Line Training