The Rise and rise of Krav Maga
Krav Maga has fast become the worlds largest and fastest growing Reality Based Martial Art. We have a look at what has fueled this unprecedented growth and more importantly what it can offer to you.
The Martial Arts sector in Europe and the U.S.A, are a large commercial industry worth millions of pounds/dollars/euros. At a seminar in the early 1990's I learned that in the UK around 80+% of martial arts participants are children. The speaker - an American Martial arts Instructor (sorry cant remember your name) explained that commercially at least, the industry is dominated by teaching children. The instructor felt that the children's segment of the martial arts industry would in fact keep growing and that if you wanted to earn a living in the industry - you would have to teach children as the adult segment of the martial arts industry was just to small to live off. Importantly you would also need to have a child/parent friendly curricula or go out of business. His point was sensible, well presented and in fact made total sense.
Then history took a hand in matters. On September 11th 2001 something happened. The attack on the twin towers. 9/11 had an unexpected effect. In the USA in particular, but in Europe as well. Adults wanted to learn to protect themselves. In a mixture of outrage and patriotic ferver people across across the Western world wanted to learn to protect themselves and their loved ones. Automatically people looked for credible training. An obvious choice was military sources - they had to know how to fight ? Yes, they did but an essential factor was overlooked. Military training requires the use of a firearms or weapons - something that civilians tend not to have. This issue was further compounded by the fact that most military units offer very little hand to hand combat training. The reality was that being the best puncher is a gunfight just did not work. So sensibly, priority is given to weapons and fitness training.
With the increased demand for military or realistic training came the reality based movement. No one wanted martial arts, Bruce Lee and ninjas. They wanted 21st century self defence - real 'counter terror' type training that was simple, easy to learn and thayactually worked. But also people wanted self defence and training skills now - not 5 years down the road. Sadly a lot of less than honest individuals were ready to take cash on on a naive public...
'Eye gouging and Reality Based were in vogue - Martial Arts, katas and uniforms were out.'
Darren Levene had built a highly successful Krav Maga Association and had been publicizing an Israeli system called Krav Maga since 1983. It ticked all the right boxes.Its was 'Reality Based'. It was fast to learn. It looked great and it obviously worked. Krav Maga was being used by movie stars and seemed to be THE system to learn. But most importantly it had that link to the Military - Krav Maga was 'the official hand to hand combat system of the Israeli Military"
Krav Maga became the golden goose. If it had Krav Maga on it - it made money.
Then came the charlatans...
With so much demand for Krav Maga it was not long before a range of dodgy and nefarious individuals became attracted to Krav Maga...
Boaz Aviram (ex chief Instructor of Krav Maga for the Israeli Military talks about it in the Krav Maga Journal) People all claimed to do Krav Maga. Martial Arts Instructors without a day of Krav Maga training in their lives cnow claimed to be Krav Maga Instructors. In Israel with conscription - most people have been in the military. Many with little Krav Maga were claiming to have been Krav Maga Instructors or counter terrorism experts in the IDF or assorted military units. Probably the most well known fraud was Momi Aizik a Judo Instructor who worked a physical Fitness Instructor in the Israeli army. Aizik's notoriety came as he claimed not only to be a Krav Maga Instructor in the Israeli Army but the co-founder of Krav Maga and an elite Counter Terrorism expert, Government assassin and so on. In 2008 Aiziks bubble started to burst as the truth emerged about him and an article was written by us called Commando Krav Maga Sucks. An Israeli counter Terror school Instructor Nir Mman also wrote emails and letters outing Aizik and another charlatan Avi Nadia - a friend and confident of Moni Aizik.
A range of copycats emerged including Kapap and Hagganah - most of which turned out to be fakes, frauds or people simply twisting facts to claim they were associated with or better than Krav Maga. The brand of Krav Maga became so successful that people set up website designed to compare their martial art against krav maga and show their system in a favorable light. .
The bubble has burst...
To a degree the bubble has burst. Frankly I am glad. With an international recession less people have $2000/£1400 to throw away for a 3 Commando Krav Maga Instructor day course no body recognises. People are now looking beyond the claims and the hype and looking for recognised professional Krav Maga trainers, externally recognised training and a higher standard of coaching. Outrageous claims are out. Quality training and value for money are in now.
'Outrageous counter terrorism claims are out - Quality coaching and value for money are in'
As for the future...
For Krav Maga, the future is bright. The system has a lot to offer students. The level of training and coaching is typically much higher than the martial arts industry norm. Given its standards, its combat based evoloution and commited core of professional instructors the systems future is bright indeed. Krav Maga may no longer be the 'latest in thing' but it is taking center stage as a mainstream quality training solution for people who want fast, proven self defence training.