I am concerned for the future of Krav Maga.
Imi Lichtenfeld created too formidable a fighting method for it to be cast into a pile of self-defense and exercise fads. Grandmaster Haim Gidon has spent fifty years enhancing Imi’s teachings and producing several generations of instructors who have both become and helped train some of Israel’s most capable and finest warriors. I included the following section to help explain why Krav Maga has become a “joke” within varied professional training circles. These include the U.S. military and law enforcement communities along with increasing disparagement in differing degrees from professional mixed martial arts fighters.
History of Krav Maga’s efficacy and its (im)proper dissemination will be the arbiter of what is and is not legitimate Krav Maga. Many people lay claim to being genuine—teaching and making statements that they say are true to the art. And yet, much of the material is dubious. The teaching practices are suspect. No wonder Krav Maga is receiving many negative reviews—and deservedly so. As Krav Maga becomes increasingly popular, we suspect that the Israeli fighting system’s reputation and efficacy will continue to decline internationally. More and more unqualified instructors are creating their own “Krav Maga” systems. Some of them sell Krav Maga belts at all levels of their curricula, often confusing the public.
As more and more people become instructors without formal training from the select few of founder Imi Lichtenfeld’s top disciples, Krav Maga’s basic core tactics—let alone its more advanced fighting tactics—continue to be ruined and misinterpreted. People seem to just make up whatever, often complicated, techniques they wish and call it Krav Maga. And the public, without professional insights, generally cannot distinguish the crucial difference. Some recent popular books and videos underscore a significant lack of understanding of what Krav Maga was originally intended to be. When instructors claim to have a “broader view” of Krav Maga and yet violate Krav Maga's fundamental principles, I view this type of explanation and faulty-reasoning as an excuse for what they do not know.
There are almost too many splinter Krav Maga organizations to track. Each of these competing organizations claims to be the best. Ultimately, the adage should apply: “seeing is believing.” Unfortunately, many trusting, ordinary people are duped and fall prey to slick marketing. We don’t make claims, we state facts. As members of IKMA, Krav Maga founder Imi Lichtenfeld’s original non-profit organization, and under the professional guidance of Grandmaster Haim Gidon, we are confident that we know our material. Few will dispute this, and, obviously, we favor what we do.
The Internet provides an unequaled platform to present claims and, one would hope, an equal opportunity to present indisputable facts to support these claims. We are acutely aware that popular opinion can, in fact, turn opinion into fact. We believe the Krav Maga community is entitled to informed opinions and hope to add to the process. Notwithstanding, the simple truism is correct: people do not know what they do not know. Sub-par Krav Maga may be viewed as competent Krav Maga because people do not know the difference. Which Krav Maga approach you follow is a life and death issue.