When I first began my Krav Maga training I did what I imagine hundreds or thousands of people do every day. Naturally, I went straight to Google and asked for Krav Maga near me. Is that what you have searched too?
Readers of my previous articles will know that I am a fan of research. Perhaps with a dash of perfectionism thrown in too. So with that genetic predisposition off I went and started my search for Krav Maga near me.
How Hard Can it Be to Find Krav Maga Near Me?
My initial thought was, “How hard can this be? I’ll be training in my first Krav Maga class by tomorrow night.” Did I mention that I am also rather optimistic? Suffice to say that within 30 minutes in front of a Mac I was bewildered.
After years of experience in both learning and teaching Krav Maga in multiple countries, I write this article with one singular purpose; to give you a concise checklist of exactly what to look for when you type in those magic Google words ‘Krav Maga near me’ as you begin your own Krav Maga journey.
In doing so, my goal is to give you a great start in Krav Maga which I hope will grow into a lifetime passion that touches and transforms many areas of your life as it has for me. Let’s get started.
Checklist 1: Are the Instructors Actually Teaching Krav Maga Near Me?
This may sound like a strange start to our 6-point checklist. You’ve just asked Google for Krav Maga near me. Naturally, you would expect the search to list clubs teaching Krav Maga right? Wrong!
In most counties, and definitely in the UK, the martial and fighting arts are an unregulated industry. This means that anyone can claim to be teaching authentic Krav Maga with little or no instructor training in Krav Maga.
This can happen for example when a club or gym that is skilled in teaching other fighting systems, such as Muay Thai or Kickboxing, adds Krav Maga to their offering. Or a private instructor in other fighting skills simply adds Krav Maga to their skills profile.
You’ll sometimes hear comments such as, “Krav Maga simply borrows from other fighting systems.” This is only a partial truth. Indeed, some Krav Maga techniques may look similar to a novice student. However, Krav Maga differs markedly from other fighting sports such as MMA or Kickboxing.
It is a self defence system designed from the ground up for reality-based fighting and survival.
This brings us neatly the second most important item on your checklist as you sift through the results of your Krav Maga near me online search.
Checklist 2: Are the Instructors Qualified to Teach Krav Maga Near Me?
This checklist item is more obvious and something you will almost certainly be thinking about yourself. But let’s dig in a little. What Krav Maga qualifications do the instructors actually have? For example, which Krav Maga authority awarded them their instructor qualification?
We’ll talk about Krav Maga federations in the next item on our checklist.
How long was their own personal training journey in Krav Maga before they began their Krav Maga instructor training? Did they simply complete a course (at considerable cost) to be awarded a Krav Maga instructors’ certificate? Or have the instructors trained for years, with consistency and commitment, as Krav Maga students before their federation would even consider their application to begin instructor training and mentoring?
What access do the club’s instructors have to ongoing development of both their own Krav Maga skills and instructing expertise after qualifying? Who reviews the quality of their instructor skills over time? These are all important and related questions.
Krav Maga is not a static ancient martial art. It is a living, breathing, evolving modern self defence system. It is imperative that this evolution occurs in the context of the highest possible Krav Maga standards and principles.
Checklist 3: Is the Krav Maga Club Independent, Part of a National Federation, Part of a Global Federation? What Is Their Pedigree and Lineage to Imi Lichtenfeld?
There are excellent Krav Maga instructors in all three categories – independent, national and global. The challenge for you as a new student is, how will you know who is excellent and who is not?
Many Krav Maga students don’t look into this important item on our checklist when they start their research looking for the simple online answer to Krav Maga near me.
This was very important to me. Through research and subsequently as a student, I realised that choosing a Krav Maga training club on the basis of its federation affiliation is critical.
In my experience I believe firmly that the global federations offer the most. There are only a few global Krav Maga federations to choose from. For example our own federation, the FEKM-RD.
Here is my case for choosing to train within a global federation:
- Global Krav Maga federations have direct lineage to the founder of Krav Maga, Imi Lichtenfeld. In other words, the federation founders almost invariably trained directly with Imi Lichtenfeld in Israel.
- The global federations remain true to Imi’s teachings and the founding principles of Krav Maga that drive everything we do.
- They have deep layers of Krav Maga expertise developed over 30, 40, 50 years and this benefits both students and instructors at every level on a daily basis.
- They have high, consistent, global standards in pedagogy. This means that federation instructors are of the highest quality through their teaching methodology.
- They have carefully crafted teaching curriculums and globally recognised belt gradings. Students know exactly where they are and where they are going.
I’m a brand new student. Does this even matter?
You may be wondering why all this talk of lineage, pedigree and federations is even relevant to you as a brand new student. After all, you only just Googled Krav Maga near me 5 minutes ago!
Here’s why it is not just important but critical to you. Choosing the right Krav Maga federation ensures that you will have an authentic, high quality and safe Krav Maga learning experience from day one.
This in turn will make it much more likely that you will continue your training and reach your self defence goals for you and your family in the shortest possible time. You may just be that student who finds their lifetime passion through Krav Maga. Wouldn’t you want it to be on the best foundation possible?
Checklist 4: Does the Club Have Multiple Training Locations? Can You Train Flexibly?
So now we have covered the big three items on our checklist as we search for Krav Maga near me. Let’s move to the more practical items.
How often would you like to train each week? On what days? Do you have a changeable work and life schedule or is it fairly consistent? If you miss training on any given evening are you planning to make up for it at another session or not?
Will you want to top up your class based training with 1-1 private Krav Maga training at some point or not? These are personal decisions of-course.
Thinking about your Krav Maga training needs upfront ensures that the club you choose to join has a good training schedule, the training flexibility you need, membership options to allow you to train as often as you can (and when and where you can) and opportunity for 1-1 private training as and when that becomes important to you.
Whilst we are on the subject of practicalities make sure that your chosen club has both instructor and student martial arts insurance in place and that both instructors and students follow safety protocols fully in classes. Turning up to the work Zoom meeting the next day with a black eye is not ideal.
On a serious note, Krav Maga is a highly efficient system of neutralising threats. Safety in training is imperative.
Checklist 5: Free Taster Class or Quality Induction Training?
I think there is a case for both approaches here. A free taster class will give you hands-on experience of both an instructor and the other students at the club. In other words, you’ll get to take part in a typical class. On the other hand, this can be daunting for brand new students.
It’s also not so much fun for the experienced students in the class when a newbie thumps them with force in their first attempt at a Krav Maga kick to the groin!
One of the most common things we hear in our induction classes is, “I was thinking about Krav Maga for ages, but I was worried that I would be the least fit/oldest/only woman/least coordinated student there and everyone else would be a trained assassin.”
Valid concerns, however, they turn out to be untrue and these internalised self doubts stop students constantly. Krav Maga was developed to suit a broad range of students. It was designed to be effective for both men and women, young and old at all levels of fitness.
Of-course for other students, turning up to a free taster class for the first time with no previous Krav Maga experience is not a problem.
At EITAN Krav Maga we choose the induction class approach to introducing new students to Krav Maga. Here’s why:
- New students join a dedicated 3-hour induction class with other brand new students just like them. This makes for a more relaxed entry to their first Krav Maga session. Find out more about our KickStart classes here.
- New students get to experience two or more of our instructors both in a class setting and in personalised 1-1 feedback.
- New students learn complete self defence solutions to real-life threats that they can use immediately after their induction class.
- At the completion of their induction class, new students know with certainty that Krav Maga training is what they were looking for and so can continue their training with confidence.
- At the completion of their induction class, new students have some key foundation skills in Krav Maga and so their transition to regular classes is smooth and easy.
Checklist 6: How Do You Feel? Inclusion and Diversity?
So we come to the final item in our checklist. When everything is said and done it’s important that you personally connect with the Krav Maga club that you finally select.
Does their digital presence – their website, their social media, their photos and videos – resonate with you? Can you see yourself reflected in their student testimonials? Have the instructors’ blogs and articles addressed the things you have been thinking about, even worrying about?
Learning Krav Maga should be a safe, social and enormously rewarding activity for anyone. As instructors we have a responsibility to ensure that the teaching of Krav Maga is reaching right into the communities who need us for their safety the most. So my final question for your checklist is, does the Krav Maga club reflect inclusion and diversity in everything they do?
You can find out more and book your place on our KickStart classes for new students here.
EITAN Krav Maga