People buy into Krav Maga because of it's reputation, it's history and it's evoloution. But in an unregulated industry some Instructors can and do make a range of misleading claims about themselves or MartialArts they describe as 'Krav Maga'. Fake Krav Maga is like any other knock off. It looks vaguely simmilar on the outside - well at first glance at least...
Krav Maga refers to a very specific system of training founded by Imi Sde Or. The phrase Krav Maga may be generic, the system of training is not. The phrase Krav Maga is not protected in anyway, we can all call ourselves Krav Maga Instructors even if we never trained. You can start your own krav maga school - right here and now. And many do. Your best bet is always, but always to go with a large Krav Maga Organisation.
If its prefaced something Krav Maga, eg Commando/MMA Krav Maga then generally speaking its not Krav Maga. It's usually an ecletic mix of techniques - some of which may contain krav maga. However whats missing is the evoloution of 70+ years battle tested experience of thousands of soldiers and personel in high risk situations. Oh and correctly taught techniques. :-(
It's the 70+ years frontline evoloution and development of Krav Maga that makes it unique - not the name
One group in particular, 'Commando Krav Maga' even market a 3 day "Instructor" certification. Many of these instructors leave the organisation realising its a scam but then try to set themselves up as independant Krav Maga Instructors. They drop the 'commando' bit from the title and claim they are bona fide Krav Maga Instructors. We have seen a simmilar scam recently with a British Krav Maga Organisation / BKMO branded and named almost identically to the British Krav Maga Association - they run Instructor courses taught by an individual with no Krav Maga background himself.
Tip: If a Krav Maga Instructor is vague about the Organisation who trained them or claim to have been trained by 'A Krav Maga organisation' Walk away - its not Krav Maga and they are not being honest with you.
You'll usually find poorly understood or taught Krav Maga techniques dressed up as Hybrid Krav Maga with names like MMA krav maga, Krav Maga concepts - it all means the same thing - it's a martial art. It's not Krav Maga.
Seeing poorly taught Krav Maga with inflated claims taught by an instructor who has completed a quick 5 or 7 day vcourse is frustrating to say the least, but its you the consumer who is being ripped off.
Krav Maga and People choose Krav Maga due to its reputation. It's intense & realistic. An antidote to the nonsense coming from the martial arts industry. But there is a problem, martial arts instructors are claiming to be Krav Maga Instructors.
Bottom line - You simply cant train a professional standard Krav Maga Instructor 5 or 7 days. You can however make a lot of money running ' quick instructor' courses.
The very minimum
All instructors in the UK MUST have;
Instructors providing any tuition without these basics should be avoided at all costs. If they have insurance it is unlikley to be valid without meeting these minimum requirements.
All good Krav Maga Instructors should
Be recognised by a Credible Krav Maga Organisation and active within it. Recognition by a generic martial arts group this is does not give them any credibility to teach Krav Maga and is frequently an indication that they were unable to meet standards within a bona fide Krav Maga Organisation
Be very specific about their parent organisation - Krav Maga lineage
Update their own training with a recognisable organisation on regular basis
Have credible Instructor training. Credible meaning a process lasting at least 18 days that was assessed by a reputable organisation.
Reputable Krav Maga organisations operating in the UK are,
A good Instructor will:
Krav Maga Instructors should be better trained and more professional than the majority of martial arts instructors. Krav Maga offers a professional training course designed for profesional standards.
I do not say this lightly having worked in the industry for many years as both a Martial Arts Instructor (Kung Fu and Karate) and Krav Maga Instructor. The martial arts organisations will contest this but generally speaking - Krav Maga requires a higher level of training commitment and longer update training. This effects standards of instruction.
The requirements to remain active with most Krav Maga organisations vary between 4 and 9 days update training every year, with many doing much more.
E.G on personal note this year (2009) I have spent 12 days training full time in the UK and abroad.
What to avoid
Membership to credible Krav Maga training organisations is not expensive. It ensures a degree of quality, professional update training and credibility. There are few reasons not to be registered with a credible Krav Maga group.
Unaffiliated instructors may have initially trained with a credible organisation but typically leave after a year or so. Unaffiliated Instructors often have problems meeting or sustaining the expected standards, or may have problems paying a small nominal fee. Most commonly however they are unwilling to update their training to the required standards on a regular and professional basis. Either way, its not good.
These 'short courses' are typically are highly expensive and very short. Usually 3 or 5 days duration. Organisations typically charge £500 to £1500 for a short course. These courses cover a limited number of techniques typically from Jiu Jitsu or mma with lots of crowd pleasers (spectacular locks where possible). Due to the short duration of the course, standards need to be lower, and no time is available for the most important aspect of training - how to teach the subject to other people.
Organisers attempt to gain credibility by making the training physical, (a good thing if combined with good content) but this is used to fill time and space due to poor content and course construction. Making the course demanding is typically another tool to convince the punters they are doing "real krav maga".
Short courses are run over a long weekend or 5 days and have minimal or no entry requirements. Anyone can do them. No prior experience is required, there is no quality control, no recognition outside of the individual selling them. Having met and trained with some of these "Instructors" the standards of the course and instructors is often very poor indeed, and usually unrecognisable as Krav Maga.
To put this in perspective - we do an accelerated training programme to create a basic professional instructor with 120 hours of attended training a further 8 hourse of self development and supported sessions and required continual professional development. And still this is a realistic minimum.
The most infamous short course is Commando Krav Maga - set up by Judo Instructor Moni Aizik. Aizik was never actually a Krav Maga Instructor - or even a commando come to that, (as he claimed in his marketing). This did not deter him setting up Commando Krav Maga and creating "instructors". Aizik markets his 3 day courses on a fictitious military career as an Israeli commando See commado Krav maga here
Many Commando Krav Maga Instructors have now left his organisation and claiming to be Krav Maga Instructors. At least one is now claiming to teach Krav Maga Instructors - on the basis of 3 days training with Moni Aizik ????
3. Hybrid Systems
Avoid: Krav Maga Concepts Urban/Commando/ MMA Krav Maga. This simply means the instructor has not completed an accredited Instructor course with a credible organisation.
There is a tendency for some instructors to 'customise or tinker with' the Krav Maga system. This defeats the whole purpose of doing Krav Maga which is that its consistantly proven to work in real life threatening situations.
Krav Maga has been proven again and again for over 60 years. I know of no other system anywhere in the world, that has been so robustly proven in real world or battle field situations.
To replace proven, easy to learn techniques with dojo based supposition and guesswork is not an intelligent choice. Some individuals claim they have pressure tested their varient, but its difficult to find these claims credible when compared to the thousands of military and law enforcement who tested their krav maga against real people who would kill or maim them.
I hope this helps you find real Krav Maga. Good Luck.
British Krav Maga Association