IDF Certification

A few months ago, a Krav Maga workshop was held in a community hall in my town. It was organized to raise awareness of the importance of knowing self defence.

The instructor (an Israeli IDF veteran) taught a session based on his interpretation of krav maga. His background; Jiu-Jitsu blue belt.
Krav Maga certification?? None.

Being an Israeli or even an IDF veteran, does NOT give you the qualifications or knowledge to teach Krav Maga. Even if you served in the highest level/most covert special unit in the military, it does NOT mean that you can teach Krav Maga. Having a few classes when you served in the military is NOT a qualification for teaching the system. Just like playing on your company’s softball team does not qualify you to become a professional trainer or coach. It takes many years of experience, dedication, and training to be an effective instructor and get certified by the IDF’s Army School for Combat Fitness.

None of the various Krav Maga organizations, federations, associations etc have any affiliation with the Israeli government or military. They are just brand names.

In the 1980’s, in Israel, Krav Maga schools were first opened by former IDF Krav Maga instructors so civilians could learn and train to protect themselves from the daily terrorist threats that were common at that time. The schools were popular and soon, some individuals saw the opportunity to make money and decided to create different “krav maga” organizations. None of these civilian organizations have any authority or ownership over Krav Maga.

There are very few IDF Certified Krav Maga instructors globally (especially those whose primary background is actually in krav maga/krav magen). These instructors are the only ones who are qualified and ABLE to teach the original, authentic system.

There are many who teach Krav Maga and call themselves experts but are also purportedly experts in MMA, Boxing, Jui Jitsu, etc. To qualify as an expert, one would think you’d need years of experience not just a certificate from a course that designates you “expert”.

These “experts” teach Krav Maga because it is a trend they can capitalize on by adding to their gym’s Martial Arts/MMA class offerings – they have little qualifications and they teach a mixture of all the systems they know. These instructors convince their students they are learning effective self defence but to a trained eye, and in a real life situation, what they are learning is just theatrics and aggression – there is no real technique. This may work if you are a large guy but if you are a small woman, what you get out of these classes is a work out – you do not learn enough to really protect yourself. Vigorously punching and kicking a pad does not teach you how to respond to an attacker. In fact, in many instances, appearing calm and relaxed and compliant before responding quickly and efficiently to an attack is your best bet (and this may involve only one or two efficient blows and/or kicks).

Those who have been certified by the IDF, have been trained to teach Krav Maga to soldiers in order to save lives. The techniques they teach have been, unfortunately, tested in real life situations against those who are not merely trying to injure. The original system is effective, practical, and well tested and can only be taught by someone with the necessary skills and experience.

When looking to learn krav maga you should find out if the instructor teaches anything else. An instructor of Jui Jitsu and Krav Maga, for example, will inevitably include totally impractical and even possibly dangerous ground work into your “krav maga” self defence.

Be sure to ask what qualifications and certifications the instructor has. The only instructors qualified to teach the original system are IDF Certified Krav Maga instructors.