How to Become a Krav Maga Instructor
By Ron Engelman
Ron is chief instructor at the Krav Maga Defence Institute (KMDI) and co-founder at Krav Maga International (KMI). During his military service in the IDF, Ron fought in numerous tactical operations and served as a Krav Maga trainer to elite units.
Every so often, a student approaches me at the end of their first Krav Maga session and says something like, “I really enjoyed the class … How can I become a Krav Maga Instructor?”
We Israelis aren’t known for our tact, but I try to be as diplomatic as I can because I appreciate the enthusiasm. Normally I leave it at suggesting that before making a decision, the student attend a couple more classes.
If you want to become a Krav Maga instructor, the following details the rigorous process KMDI instructors go through to become and remain certified. After reading, I think you’ll agree KMDI’s instructors are a cut above the rest.
Step 1: Learn Krav Maga
You’d think it’s a no-brainer that before you teach Krav Maga you need to learn it yourself. Still, I’m constantly amazed that some people choose to skip this crucial step. A quick google search will bring up DVDs, online courses and shady instructors that promise to quickly and effortlessly turn you into a certified Krav Maga instructor. If you’re serious about Krav Maga, you will steer clear of such empty promises and find a legitimate instructor instead.
So, how do you choose an instructor to teach you Krav Maga?
To do your due diligence and make an informed decision, ask prospective instructors the following.
- Where did you learn Krav Maga?
- Who was your instructor?
- How long and how often did you train?
- What did your instructor certification entail?
- Who trains you now, and how often do you train?
It’s not rude to ask these questions, and any legitimate instructor should be proud to answer them. If you ask KMDI instructors, they’ll tell you they were certified by top Krav Maga instructors who flew in especially from Israel. They’ll describe a rigorous training and certification process that took years. They’ll also tell you they continue to train several times weekly to this day.
That’s the sort of response you want to hear from anyone who offers to teach you. Nobody wants to train with an instructor who takes shortcuts, as that would short-change your training, and risk your physical safety. If you really want to learn Krav Maga, you have to start with the basics and take the time to build from there. You have to treat this as a long-term goal, where investing the time and effort to do it right will lead to the greatest payoff over time.
Step 2: Make Your Way Up Through the Ranks and Distinguish Yourself
At KMDI, we single out from our advanced class a handful of the very best each year, offering them a spot to train among our certified instructors. This is a by-invitation-only opportunity based on skill level and attitude, and is an important part of how we ensure our team is and remains the best.
Insider Tip: If you think you’re ready, consider objectively your skills and attitude compared to your classmates in the advanced class. Remember, most people don’t make it on their first attempt. However, this is a good thing because it gives you the time you need to enhance and sharpen your skills. People who want to become instructors as quickly as possible usually lack the perseverance needed to become Krav Maga instructors.
Step 3: Attend the Instructors Training Program
In our instructors training program, students start learning the teaching aspects of Krav Maga, personally mentored by our instructor team. They start assisting our instructor team, gradually gaining experience in teaching Krav Maga. Our instructor training program participants continue their own Krav Maga training alongside our instructors.
Our instructors have to go beyond dojo techniques into real-world practical training. We make sure they’re prepared for the intensive Level 1 Krav Maga International (KMI) Instructor Certification Course, which means they have to demonstrate high levels of fitness and technical proficiency.
Step 4: Pass the Certification Course
After six to 12 months in the KMDI instructor program, the senior instructor assesses which participants are ready to take the intensive, seven-day Level 1 KMI Instructor certification course. Leading Krav Maga authorities fly in from Israel especially to teach this course. Students train 11 hours daily, improving their skills, knowledge, and practical experience, so they can teach Krav Maga fundamentals at a level approved by the experts who oversee Krav Maga training of Israel’s elite units. At the end of this comprehensive course, participants undergo instructor and level assessments. Those who pass stand with the best Krav Maga instructors in the world.
Step 5: Continue Post-Certification Training
Once a new instructor is certified, we expect to see him or her back on the mat the following day. KMDI instructors are required to continue training regularly, advancing their skills as Krav Maga practitioners and trainers. If you visit our advanced classes, you will see many instructors training alongside the students. We also offer annual training events in Israel specifically for instructors.
Level 1 Instructor certification opens the door to specialised courses such as Krav Maga Law Enforcement Instructors Course, Military Krav Maga Instructors Course, and of course Level 2 and Level 3 Instructor courses. These courses require more than simply Level 1 certification. Indeed, entry into these courses requires experience in training students in the fundamentals of Krav Maga, as well as superior fitness and technical achievements. The most advanced courses require more than simply experience as an instructor, including attaining Fighter 4 or higher rank.
Insider Tip: Gaining your instructor certification doesn’t mean it’s yours to keep forever. All KMI instructors must continue to train regularly to maintain their certification. As we see it, if you aren’t actively training in Krav Maga, you have no business teaching our students.
Becoming a KMDI instructor takes patience, perseverance, and a lot of hard work. Sure, it’s possible to take shortcuts, but we make sure none of our instructors are the sort to take them.
Sounds tough? You bet! This is why people come to KMDI. Because they know that with us, they train only with the best of the best.
Do you have what it takes? See you in class!
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