Students & Instructors Professional Ranking Stripes

Non Instructor Highest Ranking 3 Stripe Badge
Imrich Lichtenfeld nick named Immi, used to say:” Every man knows what he is worth.”

In the Israeli Defense Forces there was no Krav Maga ranking. While soldiers of various units received the minimum training in self defense and hand to hand combat according to their expected military duty use and as part of their fitness regimen, the Hand to Hand Combat Department kept on top of its training methods and research and development.

The only certificate the IDF would issue for Krav Maga training was the Krav Maga Instructor Certificate from the IDF Fighting Fitness Training Academy. Your function or role in the IDF related to Krav Maga training would be an important factor as well since if would indicate your related experience with Krav Maga.

When Imrich retired out of the IDF after years of service as the Head of Krav Maga Training Department from the first day the IDF was established, he decided to create a Martial Art System called Krav Maga and opened his first Civilian Schools in Tel Aviv and Natanya.

Twenty One hours of Core Military Krav Maga Curriculum were stretched to form a civilian Krav Maga four year curriculum that considered biweekly training incorporating various age groups and other fitness and conditioning demands.

The Jigoro Kano’s Judo, belt system was adopted as a motivational and control tool for civilian Krav Maga students. Japanese Martial Arts Systems, the ways of training for many years was the fool proof method to market such an endeavor.

When Imrich retired Eli Avikzar which was his most senior Krav Maga student replaced Imrich in the function as the Head of Krav Maga in the Israeli Defense Forces Fighting Fitness Academy of Krav Maga.


With time Eli Avikzar succeeded Imrich civilian Krav Maga school as well. When Eli Avikzar retired from the IDF I replaced him in his function as the Head of Krav Maga in the Israeli Defense Forces Fighting Fitness Academy.

With years of Martial Arts Experience and taking Krav Maga for the first time in the IDF, I realized that I’ve learned more in my first two hours of Krav Maga training than I’ve learned in my seven years of previous Martial Arts. 


When I was set on writing a book on Krav Maga, the thought came to my mind that for many years, Martial Arts marketing systems were concerned about keeping membership more than quickly teaching anyone to protect themselves and at the same time training systems were not well thought of all the time.

What was done by Imrich in the IDF was the distillation and perfection of the most efficient system to teach anyone self defense and hand to hand combat. I have witnessed its feasibility by observing newly recruits with no past martial arts and sports fighting experience being able to prevail in various full contact fights and training methods with opponents that already spent minimum four years in learning one martial art or another, or wrestling or boxing as well.

Although in most cases both newly recruit with no prior sparing experience in any martial art and experienced black belts in almost any martial art known in the world took the same Krav Maga training, during the sparring part of the Israeli Defense Forces Krav Maga training, those with prior experience in Martial Arts still stuck to their previous habits they acquired in years of martial arts training and it took them a little longer to get rid of these habits.

Wanting to provide a professional service even if the market for it is not as great as the market for unprofessional services, I‘ve decided to stick to the teaching of the Israeli Defense Forces Krav Maga Curriculum.

I believe that every person is aware at least on his subconscious level the need to learn how to defend himself or herself and is somewhat aware of his inalienable basic rights.

Yet while many people do not have the awareness how quickly self defense can be mastered, I trust my experience and wish to promote my trust to those who do not.

When I established the Pure Krav Maga Training System organization, originally I did not wish to have a ranking system.
I recommended minimum 15 hours to master self defense and 21 hours to master the system.

Any additional time of training would be allocated to various training methods that will rehearse the basic material learned in the first set of training hours. The core twenty one hours contains everything one needs to know.


It contains all the principles of fighting learned through examples of use of selected various techniques.

While realizing that every person has a different lifestyle where most have a local job and maybe few free hours in the evening. that forced me to take into account that there is a major difference between soldiers that can be put into few weeks of intensive training and civilians that it is inconvenient for them to do so.

Still I was determined to keep the same quality control in training that the IDF has, I decided to give the option for both Students and Instructors, parents and children to monitor their goals and progress at their own pace by using my complete comprehensive book and training videos.

As for my instructors, I encourage them to offer the biweekly training which incorporate fitness, but also offer seminars to close gaps of self defense mastery.

Finally I came up with a grading method that was requested by my student instructors. In Pure Krav Maga the grading method has a ladder of 10 strips.

Students only have 3 strips. Instructors have 7. In most martial arts system you have about 7 grades for students and 10 grades for instructors. My idea was to teach all the self defense skills at the low grades since Krav Maga is well known for his intensive learning capacity of Hand to Hand Combat and Self Defense, and to reward instructors for their contribution of helping many people to be able to protect themselves quickly.

In order to give the appropriate recognition to professional skills, ranks 1-3 are for students that attain levels of proficiency to defend themselves in various empty hand scenarios, up to armed scenarios and learn how to spar and prevail.

After level 3 they can keep training for fitness and fun, or they can take the instructor course which will give them level 4 of professional grade. Then they can enjoy giving other people the gift of being able to defend them. I think for the student grades it promotes more respect for training and knowing their capability than relying on a constant reward of getting a rank.

For quality control purpose, after students become instructors, they must seek to send 10 of their students to become instructors in order for them to be promoted to a master instructor level.

Pure Krav Maga therefore does not adopt the Judo Belt System! Instead of being another status challenge in life or becoming what the world of martial arts has created a "Way of Life," it has clearly differentiated itself by creating a concrete training system.

Pure Krav Maga has measurable objectives drawing the whole picture of the Human Fighting possibilities and mastering this system by methodically classifying them into controlled teaching units and ensuring they fit the whole picture without having to connect the dots.

Pure Krav Maga students therefore, learn how to defend themselves and acquire skills how to teach others as well is they spend little bit more time and show effort.

No sense of just getting instructor certification without using it. After they go through assisting few instructor courses they get promoted to the 8th and 9th professional grade in which they should able to teach the intensive IDF instructor course.

While initially taking the Pure Krav Maga Instructor Course one is learning the whole IDF Curriculum of the Krav Maga Instructor Course intensively, and learning how to teach from the intensive learning of the training steps and organization of the course, yet the short civilian course does not allow for many mock lessons and evaluation and correction.

This will be done later and provide hands on learning through the teaching of new students. Again, the comprehensive book I’ve published and training videos used by instructors as well as students will keep the core of the system unblemished and Pure.

As for the professional ranking, it will give the same pride or even more as for those that wear the Dan system ranks. I believe that in my Pure Krav Maga System, the first stripe that can be achieved in 21 hours of intensive training or 80 hours of biweekly hourly training taught by any of my Pure Krav Maga level four Certified Instructor, (considering the fitness and retaining partial information factor) symbolizes greater knowledge in self defense learned in any other Dan based martial art of a student that holds the rank of First Dan.

If a teacher is ranked high as a proportion of being a good teacher and the quantity of people he teaches, then the number of his students should increase and the performance of his students should increase as well.

If you teach Pure Krav Maga your mission is to teach people how to protect themselves intensively and quite quickly.

Of course you should have students attending your classes in order to learn. Without that how can you be ranked?

In Martial Arts, the Dan Ranking is given by a founder to his students for attendance and performance. Once a student sees that he has nothing new to learn, and is not happy with the organization he is in, he would either just go elsewhere to train or if he feels he knows enough to teach and he has the desire to teach, he can establish his own organization and become a new founder.

Since Krav Maga Founder Imrich Lichtenfeld, also founded the First Civilian Krav Maga Association, he was awarded 10th Dan by his pupils.

His student Eli Avikzar was the first student in Krav Maga to receive a Black Belt in Civilian Krav Maga. Eli Avikzar succeeded him as his heir as a career officer in the Israeli Defense Forces in charge of Krav Maga Department.

Although Imrich may never had any official belt in any Martial Art, but was trained by his father in Jujitsu, Wrestling and Boxing, and later Fairbairn Methods of Knife, Stick and Bayonet in the British Legions and won championships in three sports branches of Wrestling, Boxing, and Gymnastics it was his athletic and street skills that lead to him becoming the founder of Krav Maga.

His student Eli Avikzar received his Judo Black Belt before Imrich awarded him a black belt in Krav Maga that at the time was not to be recognized nowhere else than the Israeli Military, and the newly created Imrich Lichtenfeld Civilian Dojo of Krav Maga.

Eli Avikzar continued and aside from Krav Maga also mastered the art of the demonstration of the universal energy – Aikido, as its founder Uyeshiba had described his brainchild.

Prior to being first introduced to Israeli Defense Forces Krav Maga, My Martial Arts experience included Seven Years of Jujitsu, Judo Karate and Aikido, and official 2nd Degree Black Belt in Kyokoshin, with the several hour 100 Men Kumite drill, and 1st Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Then I took the One Month Israeli Defense Forces Krav Maga Instructor Course! That followed with Five Years of Intensive Daily Training of Israeli Defense Forces and various organizations in charge of the security of the State of Israel.

In addition free consecutive input of time helping to teach at the First Israeli Krav Maga Civilian Association on special international projects, local municipal projects.

I also took the what was considered highly desired "certificate" from Wingate Institute for Physical Education. This project that together with any sports association that signed up for it, has “Awarded” the title of Coach in the particular sport association field leaving the professional proficiency to that particular local association and concentrating on teaching theoretical intensive Physical Education Related lectures and topics.

I received the 2nd Black Belt Degree in Civilian “Krav Maga” and the Civilian Wingate Institute Krav Maga Coach Diploma. I really had nothing to learn in the Civilian Krav Maga Association. I learned it all intensively in the Israeli Defense Forces much more in depth than the years of training Civilian Krav Maga students withstood in their lifetime.

As for the Wingate Institue Coach Diploma, it was a program for any sport or martial art of which if you pay tuition for a physical education institute you have to learn academic sports training topics, and once your civilian sports association tests your proficiency in hands on training, you would then be approved for a coach diploma which will give you almost the same privileges of a four year College degree in a Physical Education for the purpose of teaching in national schools and state organizations.

As Krav Maga Founders, Imrich Lichtenfeld and Eli Avikzar never took the Civilian Krav Maga Coach Course!

I would like to reiterate that after the first two hours of training in Krav Maga at the Israeli Defense Forces Fighting Fitness Academy with at the time Eli Avikzar’s Assistant and Krav Maga Instructor at the academy, I've realized that I just learned more than I've been trying to learn in the past 7 years of Martial Art about Self Defense and Hand to Hand Fighting.

I was disappointed about the years of youth spend seeking to learn self defense and instead spending it in various Dojan, but not learning anything that would be as useful as the natural instinctive responses I had with my first few street fights as a new kid on the block.

The training in the Martial Arts although at the time gave me some false confidence to be invincible, was a little helpful with planning what to do in fights without letting the adrenalin rush to take over.

During my training and teaching at the civilian association, I realized that the slow pace of the Civilian Dojo is not that great comparing to the learning potential in the Israeli Defense Forces Krav Maga course.

The Israeli Defense Forces Professional Courses did not even have the title Instructor on their certificates, but it was assumed that many who took them will end up teaching it in their units, although most of them never got the allotment of time to teach and the permission to allot enough training time to their soldiers but instead to combine the scarce training time with other fitness and aggression drills to make the soldiers resilient and combat ready.

So When I left Israel and Came to the US I never had any desire to use the Dojo System and teach the so called “Krav Maga’ which I thought was not really Krav Maga.

Years passed and many unscrupulous people had “adopted” the name which carries the reputation of the Israeli Defense Forces which is in constant combat state since the creation of the state.

With few generations passing, these unscrupulous “Krav Maga” Instructors created few new generations of “Krav Maga” Instructors. As innocent and moral as they may be, those that fell for the crookedness of the “Krav Maga” Instructors, their learned and taught training systems fell into the category of the mess that existed since the creation of this world.

“Civilian Krav Maga” did not reflect the true power of the Israeli Defense Forces Krav Maga Training System that unfortunately only survived three generations, and due to gaps in serving times and men power issues resorted to finding the best suited for the position even if it came from a civilian Krav Maga Dojo, which, brought the state of training in the Israeli Defense Forces to a disaster.

The real problem of civilian Krav Maga organizations was that it was technique and curriculum based and was not a structured intensive class to learn the proper sequential execution of the techniques in their most efficient state, but rather spread it over years of training, always leaving something for the future and for the superiors.

Emphasis was put on one unique character of each technique neglecting many other, and defensive maneuvers were stressed more than attack maneuvers- How can you practice defensive techniques successfully without building a challenging training partner first?

In the Israeli Defense Forces, Ranking is according to the time spend, position and professional tests taken in each field of expertise. In addition to the military rank, you at times have a professional stripe that demonstrate the level of training and testing you have taken and professional skills demonstrated.

This is where the format of Pure Krav Maga – Self Defense Mastery™ Professional Ranking stripe system was inspired.

Many Professional Martial Arts Trainers and Career Officers in the Military organizations of the world as well, like in any other corporation tend to keep knowledge to themselves and not teach each one of their students equally.

Even in the Israeli Defense Forces not all units receive the same quality and quantity of training although uniformity exists along nomenclature and some course descriptions and as always in an advancing organization the strive is always to have uniformity and quality control to streamline processes and making the resources spent more efficiently. Each In Charge Manager, Officer, Instructor, is responsible to get the best job done!

While it is the personal feelings of these successful commanders, corporate managers, and civilian Dojo Keepers that dictate the hold back of knowledge and the “Vetting requirement” using the motto of “never teach anyone to do your job, otherwise you will lose it principle,” when dealing with informed people it is hard to justify.

A professional that pretends to train a client to save his life in a violent scenario and is holding back knowledge does not reflect well about himself when at the same time it is undeniable that the information is available to anyone that wants to commit violent act out there.

Knowledge was transferred by people that developed it to save humanity to the people that live to destroy it. It is called basic common sense from the large variety of conclusive information accumulated throughout history and is available to anyone for free or for a small fee.

When you hear about terrorist that attended few months of local civilian martial arts training using common sense and human fear psychology, without great fitness, had manipulated large groups of hostages using their bare hands with a small sharp object and killed thousands of people.

Other criminals use their physical force and size against the weak in local communities and commit unspeakable crimes of horror.

So when someone raises the word “vetting Requirement” he is creating a facade for the average idiot!

So in Pure Krav Maga while the first three stripes were designed to motivate, and to document an achievement of three levels of proficiency in Hand to Hand Fighting and Self Defense Mastery.
To read about the criteria of objectives in these levels click on this link!
The Instructors start with level 4 proficiency, and advance in the ranks to Master Instructors only when they contribute to bring new Instructors and at the same time are being evaluated on their teaching skills. While level 4 stripes demonstrate the sufficient proficiency of Pure Krav Maga and Self Defense Mastery Training System, and introduction to the Original Israeli Defense Forces Intensive Training Steps it therefore promote the knowledge how to teach new students to master self defense and hand to hand combat quickly.

Above the level of Instructors, Master Instructor levels Demonstrate dedication to the service of teaching people the skills of self defense and hand to hand combat, and contributing to the exponential process of making the people safer to live in a dangerous world.

Fortunately the Pure Krav Maga organization is geared toward true compassionate service to humanity over personal gain using people’s ignorance, which might be a much more challenging newer business model.

To keep quality control you need to spend time in contributing to the making of new instructors and each course (The Pure Krav Maga Instructor Course is an intensive one) be evaluated and corrected to ensure your expertise in the Pure Krav Maga – Self Defense Mastery™ Training System is becoming deeper and is being applied in direct proportion to your gained experience.

Senior Pure Krav Maga Master Instructors need to go through the witnessing and assistance in teaching process of several Krav Maga Instructors Course before they will be granted a rank where they can supervise the Krav Maga Certification Course on their own.

This to ensure quality control, and avoid "Vetting" The course is very intensive, and requires the ability to monitor the time and the quality of intensively training and qualifying new Instructors. Since each year that I was teaching in the Israeli Defense Forces, I gained more experience, I assume that they will too and I would like to keep the quality control factor uniformed.

If you think there is "Vetting" Involved in Pure Krav Maga it is definitely not in the department of holding back knowledge or encouragement to teach the whole curriculum with all its lethal element, but definitely, when my organization is going to certify anyone to teach he would be proficient in the delivery methods of the knowledge, and to be able to certify instructors, that person, will be able to do it intensively with a relatively very short time constraint.

Bottom line, when you look at a Pure Krav Maga Ranking of an Individual you can only tell if he had mastered self defense, or if he chose the path of providing a service to the community of humanity in need to learn Self Defense.

So a high ranking stripe of course has more experience that comes by his teaching that forces him to rethink everything he learned and be on top of details requirements to answer his students question.

The higher stripe would get him close to teach the Intensive Pure Krav Maga Instructor course. But never underestimate the fighting skills of a low stripe Pure Krav Maga Ranking student. He is not trained to succumb to any civilized rules when it comes to self defense...

1 comment:

Vincent B said...

Dear Boaz,

My name is Vicente, and first of all, I would like to thank you for your inspiring work.

I’m searching for a personal defense mentor in London. I want to find somebody that has deep knowledge about what works in real life, who has been exposed to real environments of conflict, as opposed to those with commercial or championship success.

May I ask you, Is there anybody you would specially recommend in London?

Thank you so much in advance,

Vicente