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How do Krav Maga Belts and Ranking Work? by Eitan Krav Maga

How Do Krav Maga Belts and Ranking work?

As Krav Maga practitioners and instructors, one of the most frequent questions we get asked is, “Are there belts in Krav Maga?” or “Does Krav Maga have Belts?”

So, let’s jump right in; does Krav Maga have belts? In this article we take a look at the early introduction of Krav Maga belts, what colours they are and what the purpose and significance is of belts in Krav Maga.

Are there Belts in Krav Maga?

When Imi Lichtenfeld, the creator of Krav Maga, developed his real life, self defence system he also implemented a student and instructor ranking system. So yes, there are belts in Krav Maga. Imi Lichtenfeld chose Krav Maga belt colours based on the Judo belt system. These are White Belt, Yellow Belt, Orange Belt, Green Belt, Blue Belt, Brown Belt and Black Belt.

The founder of our own FEKM Krav Maga federation, Richard Douieb, trained with Imi Lichtenfeld in Israel. Richard Douieb later introduced the same system of Krav Maga belts which we use today across all FEKM nations, clubs and our 20,000+ members.

It is worth noting that internationally not all Krav Maga clubs follow this belt system as created by Imi Lichtenfeld. Some Krav Maga organisations use alternative systems such as practitioner categories and a system of patches and some use only informal Krav Maga belts ranking.

Wait, What? A White Belt Can Train with a Blue Belt?

Krav Maga is a modern, real-life, self defence system. Unlike the traditional martial arts, this means that a student learns complete self defence solutions to real-life self defence threats from their very first class.This means that you could be learning how to defend and counter a double handed choke from the front, or how to disarm a threat with a knife, from your very first Krav Maga training session.

It also means that a White or Yellow Belt Student can be learning a Green or Blue Belt self defence technique and training with much higher ranking students very early on. So if this is the case, what is the purpose of Krav Maga belts?

If New Students Can Train with Senior Students, what is the Purpose of Krav Maga Belts Ranking?

Each belt ranking in Krav Maga teaches a certain number of skills, techniques, defences and counterattacks. Once proficient in the syllabus of any given belt the student moves on to a deep understanding of the next belt.

So the purpose of Krav Maga belts ranking is as follows:

  1. To provide a learning structure. The skills learnt and developed at each Krav Maga belt ranking transition to the next more advanced level. The belts build upon each other in related but more advanced skills.
  2. Solid foundation for development. Each belt syllabus creates a solid foundation for students upon which they can begin training for the next level with confidence.
  3. Sense of personal achievement. Students are tested and recognised for their achievement at each Krav Maga belt ranking. For many, there is a great sense of personal achievement that comes with this recognition by their instructors and peers.
  4. Maintaining consistent, high standards. Krav Maga belts, rankings and gradings support the standardisation of students’ abilities across clubs, nations and across the entire global federation.
  5. International training events. Finally, Krav Maga belts help a lot when there are 500 Kravists from 15 nations in a huge gymnasium 🙂

What Are the Belts in Krav Maga?

There are essentially 7 belts or rankings in Krav Maga although you could argue that it is in-fact 6 belts.

The reason is that the White Belt is not awarded to a student but rather given to new students to indicate that they are novice practitioners at the beginning of their Krav Maga training journey.

The First Three Krav Maga Belts by Colour

White to Yellow Belt in Krav Maga

When a new student begins training, they are given a White Belt by their instructor. This signifies that they are a complete novice and just beginning their Krav Maga journey and they begin learning the Yellow Belt syllabus.

In our FEKM federation, the Yellow Belt Syllabus includes:

  • Strikes from natural stance without warning including elbow strikes, various kicks, knee strikes, various hand strikes and punches
  • Maintaining guard and evasive fight movement and fight movement while striking
  • Defences against punches and kicks from both a natural stance and from guard position
  • Defences and counters from strangles and headlocks
  • Rolls and breakfalls
  • 360º knife defences and understanding range
  • The fundamentals of fighting from the ground
  • The use of environmental weapons

After a period of consistent learning, training, and practice of the Yellow Belt syllabus a student is then examined at a formal “grading” by senior instructors. If successful, the student is awarded their first coloured belt, the Yellow Belt.

Yellow to Orange Belt in Krav Maga

Once a student is graded (or examined) and awarded their Yellow Belt they train for a period of time focussing their learning on the Orange Belt syllabus.

In our Krav Maga federation, the FEKM, the Orange Belt Syllabus includes:

  • More advanced strikes from natural position without warning and from guard
  • Defences and counters against straight kicks low to mid-height and roundhouse kicks to the body from both natural stance and guard
  • More advanced defences against strangles and wrist grabs
  • Backward falls and falls and rolls from height
  • Defences and counters against straight punches
  • Fighting from the ground
  • Knife defences, takedowns and disarms
  • 4 minute fight – 2 minutes x 2 rounds

After a period of consistent training and practice of the Orange Belt syllabus a student is then examined at a formal “grading” by senior instructors. In the FEKM this is also the first time that a student’s fighting skills and fight courage are examined. As part of their Orange Belt exam they complete a 4 minute full contact fight. If successful at their grading, the student is awarded their Orange Belt.

Orange to Green Belt in Krav Maga

Once a student is graded (or examined) and awarded their Orange Belt they train for a period of time focussing their learning on the Green Belt syllabus.

In our Krav Maga federation, the FEKM, the Green Belt Syllabus includes:

  • Increasingly advanced strikes and kicks from natural position without warning and from guard including crescent, switch, jumping and spinning kicks
  • Defences and counters from hair grabs
  • Defences and counters from chokes and bear hugs from the front, side and rear
  • Defences and counters (locks) from wrist grabs
  • Rolls over height and distance
  • Increasingly advanced punch defences and counter combinations
  • Advanced skills for fighting from the ground
  • Increasingly advanced knife defences and counters
  • 4 minute fight – 2 minutes x 2 rounds

After a period of consistent training and practice of the Green Belt syllabus a student is then examined at a formal “grading” by senior instructors. As part of their Green Belt exam they complete a 4 minute full contact fight. If successful at their grading, the student is awarded their Green Belt.

The Significance of the Green Belt in Krav Maga

The Green belt is an important Krav Maga belt achievement and milestone. The student awarded their Green Belt now has the status of a “confirmed” Krav Maga practitioner. This is a very good standard of skill for civilian self defence. A Green Belt student will be able to look after themselves with confidence in most personal self defence scenarios.

Importantly, in our FEKM federation a Green Belt “confirmed” student can also begin their training as an instructor.

Blue, Brown and Black Belts in Krav Maga

The three final belt rankings in Krav Maga are the Blue, Brown and Black Belts. We won’t go into syllabus details in this article but for those who would like insight into what it takes to become a Black Belt Kravist, you will be interested in reading the article by our instructor Nicholas Kitson Preparing For Your Black Belt Exam.

Beyond the Krav Maga Black Belt

Many Black Belt Krav Maga practitioners describe the landmark moment when they achieved Black Belt recognition and tied their new belt for the first time as a deeply rewarding achievement.

Ironically, they also describe this moment as the start of a new Krav Maga journey. It is as though the years of training and focus have led to the point where you are ready for a new, even deeper layer of understanding and mastery.

And so the new journey begins. And so, there are a number of Black Belt “Dargas” (or Dans) in Krav Maga from Black Belt 2nd Darga through to Black Belt 5th Darga and beyond, each signifying an increasing level of skill and mastery.

Are You Ready To Begin Your Krav Maga Training?

Are you ready to begin? Join us for our next Krav Maga KickStart Course for new students.

You will get hands-on experience of the powerful self-defence and close combat skills of Krav Maga and learn and apply the four core principles of Krav Maga in real-life self defence scenarios. You’ll train in a friendly environment with our FEKM qualified instructors and other students beginning their Krav Maga self-defence training.

Written by Victoria Kitson

Senior Instructor
EITAN Krav Maga

6 Point Checklist: Finding the Best Krav Maga Near Me

6 Point Checklist: Finding the Best Krav Maga Near Me

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.

Victoria Kitson

Senior Instructor
EITAN Krav Maga

Self Defence and Women’s Self Defence Are Not the Same

Self Defence and Women’s Self Defence Are Not the Same

You may think it’s a controversial thing to say, but, self defence and women’s self defence are not the same thing.

When I began my fight training journey many years ago I started training in the beautiful and powerful martial art of Aikido. However, it didn’t take long for me to realise that perhaps Aikido was not for me. Not because Aikido is not an excellent martial art and well suited to smaller, lighter practitioners such as women. 

The personal realisation I had was different. It became clear to me that I didn’t have a need to master a beautiful, ancient martial art. What I actually needed was women’s self defence skills.

My number one goal as a woman was to be able to keep myself safe in everyday life and to be able to fight my corner with confidence and skill if the need were to arise. Equally importantly, I knew that I needed that skill today, or at least as soon as possible. 

One Woman’s Self Defence Training Journey

That is where my Krav Maga journey began. I looked at many fighting systems, traditional and modern. It soon became clear that Krav Maga (Hebrew, “Close Combat”) was a front-runner for my goals; to be safe in everyday life and to be able to hold my own physically if it was ever needed. 

I wanted to be safe and confident both as a woman living in a huge, complex city like London and in my travels to countries and cultures I knew little about upon arrival.

I researched Krav Maga training clubs near me for weeks. Yes, the keyboard warrior. My first thought was, “Wow, I really need to get fit before I show up!”.  I then proceeded to waste two months getting fit. Turns out that was a complete misconception. I soon found out that every student starts their Krav Maga journey from a place that is unique to them. 

Just Start!

Why doesn’t it matter how fit you are when you show up to your first Krav Maga self defence class?  And for that matter how young or old you are, how big or small you are, how flexible you are, how strong you are… 

None of this matters because one of the hallmarks of an excellent Krav Maga club and top instructors is that they are skilled at supporting each student’s development from wherever that student may be starting. Qualified, experienced Krav Maga instructors provide just enough challenge at training sessions to help every student exceed their own personal best week by week. 

The second reason is that one of the huge side benefits of learning Krav Maga is that it gets you really fit along the way. Ironically, you don’t have to be fit to start training!

First Ever Krav Maga Session

It is worth saying at this point that my keyboard warrior research had made me quite certain that Krav Maga was the self defence system I was looking for as a woman. It was designed to be a simple, fast and effective form of real-life self defence. It was also relatively fast to learn.

I found a Krav Maga club near me in south London that was particularly interesting. It was a member of a large global federation, the FEKM-RD, and had direct lineage to the founder and master of Krav Maga, Imi Lichtenfeld. 

Well, all I can say at this point is that after my first session I was hooked! Energised, exhilarated, tired and sweaty too. I walked out of that training session knowing that the FEKM training ethos was for me. 

But the thing that really hooked me? I had learnt three different, fast, stunningly effective ways to counter an attacker in a single 90-minute training session. And it felt great. 

Let’s Fast Forward – Today

My love of Krav Maga went from strength to strength. I trained and got my belts to remind me of all the progress along the way. 

There have been bruises and bumps too! I’ve worn them quite proudly if I’m honest. Thrilling successes balanced by some humbling failures. I have met extraordinary instructors and students and have made enduring friendships both in the UK and internationally. And it has been fun!

Finally, I decided to qualify as an FEKM federation instructor and I had the honour of becoming the first woman instructor in our federation in the United Kingdom. In 2016 I opened my own Krav Maga self defence training club, EITAN Krav Maga with training locations across South London.

But Wait. Is Krav Maga Really What Women Need For Self Defence? 

So let’s get to the crux of our discussion. Is Krav Maga training really what women need for self defence? In other words, is self defence the same thing as women’s self defence?

So you’ve trained in Krav Maga – great. You know exactly what to do to neutralise almost any physical street threat that may come at you. 

  • A man grabs you in a chokehold from behind – no problem. 
  • Assailant throws a hard slap to your head – you know what to do. 
  • Someone grabs you hard pulling you by the wrist – you’re on it. 
  • Hair grab, thrown to the ground, punch, double handed choke against a wall… tick, tick, tick. 

But is learning Krav Maga enough for a woman to be able to defend herself effectively? Is self defence the same as women’s self defence?

I’m going to be somewhat controversial here. The answer is yes… and no.

YES… and No

There is absolutely no doubt; having the physical self defence skills of Krav Maga is vitally important for women’s self defence. Krav Maga skills give women both the confidence and the ability to defend themselves effectively and decisively.  Being able to quite literally turn the tables on an assailant in seconds is powerful stuff.

Knowing that you have the skills to fight physically an overcome an assailant if needed also makes you much more likely to intervene early and stop a threatening situation dead in its tracks. Not only for yourself, but for other women and girls too.

Krav Maga training also goes a long way to countering deeply socialised behaviour such as freezing, shrinking and looking away in the hope that the threat will magically disappear or slipping into that dangerous denial mode. Krav Maga training helps us to reverse the “be nice” tendencies that have been socialised into women and girls for centuries.

No doubt. Krav Maga skills are the essential cornerstone of effective women’s self defence. 

But now we also have a growing body of evidence-based research on the types of threats that face women and teenage girls on a daily basis. We also have hundreds of thousands of anecdotal experiences of women and girls who came forward as part of the #MeToo movement around the world. 

In the UK, the EveryonesInvited website has recorded over 54,000 testimonials of sexual threat and violence against women and teenage girls since 8th March 2021 alone. Of course that was the date the dreadful case of Sarah Everard hit our London and UK headlines. We now know that a police officer used his police badge to falsely arrest and handcuff Sarah. In this way he was able to kidnap her effortlessly as she walked from her friends’ house to her home in Brixton London.

So What Else Do Women Need For Real-Life Self Defence?

With this mountain of research, evidence and personal testimony, we now know with certainty that the safety and self defence needs of women, day in day out, in everyday life differ markedly from the needs of most men.

It certainly makes for uncomfortable reading. But it also puts us in a strong position to address the safety and self defence needs of women and teenage girls head on with evidence-based women’s self defence training. 

What follows is a short summary of some of the unique training I believe women need alongside their Krav Maga training for a holistic women’s self defence toolkit: 

  • Understanding and training to use the power of voice as a self defence tool
  • Assertiveness training – from commanding someone to move away from you through to stating your case for a pay rise powerfully 
  • Learning exactly when and how to set boundaries and stop others negating our “no” – with immediate impact
  • Training to build confidence and trust in our own instinctive judgement enabling us to act upon that judgement quickly and decisively 
  • Leaning to identify the predator and the predator’s signals and behaviour patterns before they become a problem 
  • Understanding the law – for example, what exactly is sexual harassment? 
  • Learning how to create and execute a safety plan with children and others in our care and household

Naturally, we’ll also teach you exactly how to deliver the perfect Krav Maga knee strike to the groin. And much more 😉

Women’s Self Defence Training – Next Steps

At EITAN Krav Maga we run specialist courses in Women’s Self Defence.

Journalist Sarah Rodrigues recently wrote a feature article in the Sunday Telegraph sharing her training experience with us when she joined us with her daughter. Sarah’s piece is titled “The Self Defence Moves Young Women Should Know”. 

Find out more about our 1-Day Immersive Women’s Self Defence Course here.

Victoria Kitson

Senior Instructor
EITAN Krav Maga

How Effective is Krav Maga for Self Defence? by Eitan Krav Maga

How Effective is Krav Maga for Self Defence?

In this article we take a look at why Krav Maga has become such a popular and effective form of self defence. So let’s discuss. How effective is Krav Maga for Self Defence?

What is Krav Maga?

Krav Maga is a real life, self defence system developed by Imi Lichtenfeld. Krav is one of the most effective forms of self defence. It was initially developed for Jewish people in Bratislava and later for the Israeli Defence Forces.

Imi Lichtenfeld adopted elements from boxing, wrestling and street fighting. He then combined them with techniques from Karate and Judo. In creating the system of Krav Mga Lichtenfeld adapted everything for simple, fast and effective real life application. The first complete system of Krav Maga self defence was born.

The History of Krav Maga

Imi Lichtenfeld developed Krav Maga in 1930s Bratislava, which was then Czechoslovakia. He went on to develop Krav Maga further over many decades, eventually bringing it into the public domain. At its core he developed Krav Maga as a means of self defence that anyone could learn and use.

In Bratislava, Lichtenfeld first started training local leaders of Jewish youth organisations. His initial goal was to create a system of self defence and fighting which would be taught in all schools throughout Bratislava.

Lichtenfeld later went on to teach Krav Maga in Warsaw, Poland after developing it further. However, he had to stop teaching the techniques when the Nazis invaded Poland.

Lichtenfeld then moved to Israel where he took interest in training the Israeli soldiers how to defend themselves using Krav Maga close combat techniques.

He became Head Instructor for Physical Fitness at the Wingate Institute, where he trained fitness instructors. The trained instructors then went out into the countryside and began teaching what they had learnt from him, Krav Maga.

In time, everyone in Israel was practicing Krav Maga including school children!

How Effective is Krav Maga for Self Defence?

Krav Maga teaches students how to defend themselves against all types of attack through partner work, simulation and stress testing of real life self defence situations.

It teaches students how to recognise threatening behaviour and to act decisively before the escalation to physical violence. Krav Maga also teaches students to defend and counter completely unexpected threats and physical attacks with and without armed assailants.

An important aspect of Krav Maga training as a self defence system is that it gives students the tools to overcome opponents in completely “unfair” situations quickly and decisively; a larger or stronger opponent, multiple opponents, opponents with weapons and unexpected attacks.

Why Is Krav Maga Extremely Effective?

Krav Maga is widely considered to be one of the best self defence systems in the world today. It is taught to military, policing, personal protection and civilians students all over the world. Krav Maga for self defence is very effective for a number of key reasons:

  • Students begin learning a complete set of physical self defence skills for specific self defence situations from their very first class.
  • It was designed, at its core, as a modern self defence system that anyone can learn and apply effectively in a relatively short time.
  • Krav Maga techniques are highly practical and based on the application of instinctive movements and natural reactions making then fast and effective in stressful situations.
  • Krav Maga trains students both physically and mentally so that they can be effective under real pressure.
  • It helps students build vital confidence through their learning and skills.
  • Krav Maga gives students a strong foundation in understanding both the predatory mindset and the mindset of spontaneous threat so that they can see and deal with threatening situations much earlier than an untrained person. We will discuss this very interesting subject further in a future blog.

Krav Maga is Effective and Versatile

There are many different techniques taught in a typical Krav Maga class. For example, the system teaches defences against choke-holds, headlocks, bear hugs, jumper grabs, weapon threats and hair grabs to name a few.

Krav Maga techniques can be applied when out on the street in a real-life threat or attack self defence situation. One of the core principles of Krav Maga teaching is that everything we do must be not only be simple and fast but also adaptable so that anyone can be an effective Kravist – regardless of age, gender, size, weight and even physical ability.

The Main Aim of Krav Maga

The main aim of Krav Maga is to enable students to defend themselves in close combat, ‘real life’ situations within a year rather than years.

However many aspects of Krav Maga training empower students to recognise threat and threat patterns early. This enables them to avoid becoming targets of an attack in the first place. Krav Maga practitioners often say, “We train in Krav Maga so we’ll never need to use Krav Maga”.

OK, Krav Maga is Effective but is Krav Maga Training Safe?

Training in a professional Krav Maga environment allows students to practice self defence in a safe environment. There they gain confidence and learn how to protect themselves from all types of attack.

However, Krav Maga training can only be both effective and safe if it is learned in an environment with highly qualified and experienced instructors.

An incorrect execution of a Krav Maga technique without correct safety protocols can seriously injure your assailant or you. This is why it’s important that you learn this system from experts like the instructors at Eitan Krav Maga. We  specialise in teaching authentic Israeli Krav Maga training together with experience for real life combat situations.

Finally, it’s vital to train with expert instructors as the effectiveness of Krav Maga also brings responsibility for those who learn how to use is. Understanding, the law, moral and ethical considerations is important. Understanding the effect of each technique on an opponent is vital. Both are essential knowledge in the Krav Maga learning process.

Krav Maga for Self Defence: How Can I Start to Learn Krav Maga?

Hopefully in this article we’ve covered everything you need to know about how effective Krav mage is for self defence.

Head over to the EITAN Krav Maga website to book your introductory class for a reduced cost.

We have an introductory offer so that you’re not breaking the bank and you can join us for a fully immersive class. This way, you’ll learn actual life, self defence skills to take away with you and you will discover whether Krav Maga is definitely for you. We warn you though, it’s addictive; we almost guarantee that if you come to a taster session, you’ll sign up for more!

Thank you for your interest in Krav Maga. For more information and booking your first immersive class go to our website at

Preparing For Your Krav Maga Black Belt Exam

Preparing For Your Krav Maga Black Belt Exam

In this article we explore the topic of preparing for your Krav Maga Black Belt with Eitan Krav Maga.

A Belt Exam Like No Other

Preparing for your Krav Maga Black Belt is different to any other FEKM belt grading that you may have experienced.

The only way I can describe it is that it’s like going back to the beginning of your Krav Maga training and revising everything you have ever learnt; with one big overriding caveat – everything must be executed at full fighting speed and delivered with absolute accuracy, perfect range, full body weight and rotation.

Essentially, you must revise the entire FEKM syllabus across all belts and be able to execute everything you have ever learnt, without thinking, at full fighting speed.

This is the core of preparing for your Krav Maga Black Belt. Every defence, every counterattack, every kick, every takedown, every strike, every disarm must be executed with perfection and precision.

Some exam attacks are known in advance. For other sequences the attacks are completely unknown and random. One key element of preparing for your Krav Maga Black Belt exam is that you can never go backwards. Regardless of what’s happening, you either stand your ground or preferably, “attack the attacker” driving forward.

The Shadow Fighting Element 

Interestingly, the most frequently failed element of the blackbelt curriculum is the Shadow Fighting.  Something we do practically in every class for years becomes the bête noire of all aspiring black belt Kravists! 

In this single black belt element you must demonstrate absolutely everything you know at speed, showing a wide variety of kicks, punches and strikes. There is a mandated set of 14 combat techniques that must be executed in a specific order, however after that, it is free form. You must show good movement and, what’s most challenging, you must demonstrate “fight intelligence”.

Demonstrating Fight Intelligence

What does this mean? Well, if I’ve just kicked my imaginary opponent with a spinning side kick, I can’t then throw a short hook or uppercut. In reality, they would have either moved away to avoid my kick or they would have been struck and been moved backwards by the sheer momentum of the blow. 

Equally, if I’m throwing short hooks and uppercuts then I can’t throw a tornado kick. My attacker would be simply too close to allow me to execute the turns.

The examiners are looking at this type of intelligence as you execute the prescribed and the free-style elements of the Shadow Fighting exam segment. It is nerve wracking and it should be easy but it’s deceptively difficult and physically and mentally exhausting.  

Demonstrating Range and Rotation

Another element to consider when preparing for your Krav Maga Black Belt exam is range and rotation. The range element is related to the fight intelligence we discussed earlier.

Rotation demonstrates that we are applying body weight as a weapon with every single strike. With rotation, power comes all the way from your feet pushing up from the ground. Then through your thighs, hips, core, back and finally as an energy release through your strike. You make contact at full fighting speed, with an imaginary invisible shadow opponent.

You will likely be battling nerves at the time as you are judged by a panel of the highest ranking and most respected Krav Maga students and teachers in the global FEKM federation! Nerve wracking to say the least. 

The importance of Solo Training When Preparing for Your Krav Maga Black Belt Exam 

There are a number of elements that you can practice on your own when preparing for your Krav Maga Black Belt exam. Practice does indeed make perfect. Ironically, the best way to train is to do everything slowly.

Focus on the smallest movement. Which hand moves first? Am I rotating fully? Are my hands in guard position while I’m striking?

A piece of great advice I was once given, has stuck in my head. It sounds like a cheesy line from a 70’s martial arts movie… “To learn fast, train slow!”  Never is this more true than preparing for your FEKM black belt grading.

It is the meticulous attention to detail that will get you through successfully. You must master becoming your own observer. You must watch your every single move to ensure that it is not only perfect but also has built-in “fight intelligence”. You know that’s exactly what your panel of examiners will be doing!

Speed of movement will come on the day, through repetition and the added adrenalin of the exam or, indeed, in a real self defence situation.  Which of-course is the singular reason we all train in Krav Maga – real life self-defence. When you have trained and trained and trained each technique, your body will take care of the rest.  

At the senior grades (blue, brown and black belts) we call this the “frustration of Krav Maga”; going through the endless repetition of techniques, again and again but still not getting that one thing right. For example, I regularly forget to drive my hip into the strike when delivering a sliding kick. 

What it Means to Me Personally to be Preparing for My Krav Maga Black Belt 

For me it’s always been a personal objective to achieve a black belt in two different fighting arts. I’m already a second dan Black Belt in Aikido. Surprisingly, this provided a strong basis for practicing Krav Maga. Let’s explore that in a separate blog!  

I am also very goal orientated, so I find it very motivating to have the Black Belt objective in the back of my mind. It’s clear and focussed and helps drive me on, especially when it’s painful, or some things don’t seem to make sense. For example, when you fail a grading and need to find a way to pick yourself up and start again. 

In many ways, achieving the Brown Belt was technically more demanding. Jumping and spinning kicks for example, will take some time to master unless you have prior experience. Way past the belt itself. However, you gain confidence at each grading and you gain knowledge. I certainly started to see clearly how elements of Krav Maga ‘fit together’.

Things now make perfect sense in a way that they didn’t when I was simply learning a new technique. It’s as though you can fully appreciate the whole rather than just the individual parts. 

Black Belt Signals a New Start in Your Krav Journey

In many ways becoming a Black Belt is a new start to my Krav Maga journey. What do I mean by that? You are finally awarded your Black Belt and then you start your Krav Maga journey again! But this time, with a wealth of knowledge and experience behind you and the ability to use that expertise to help you get an even deeper appreciation of the art. Initially you may have wanted the confidence of knowing that you can defend yourself and others in almost any threatening situation. But now also aiming for a new standard of excellence and ultimately mastery.

As with any martial art or fighting system, achieving a Black Belt means you have reached a degree of competence. You have mastered the basics, if you will. But there is always something more to learn. What that means to me is that I now have a solid foundation on which to build, to develop and grow. 

What I Feel I Will Have Achieved

Clearly, achieving your Black Belt in any fighting system is a massive endorsement of your hard work, dedication, focus and progression. Someone once told me that in all martial arts and fighting systems only a tiny fraction – far less than 1% – of students who begin ever progress to Black Belt.

So achieving that level of competence shows a huge level of commitment, never mind the skill and the inevitable bumps and bruises which are all part of growing up though your chosen martial art.

Your global federation, your peers and your students, all know the level of commitment required so receiving that acknowledgement at the grading and putting on the Black Belt for the first time embodies all of that in one single life moment!

What it Will Mean for My Club and My Students

As an FEKM Black Belt I will become the official Technical Director of my own club and others in my own right. Our federation, the FEKM, quite rightly expects every club across the world to have a Technical Director who is a Black Belt. This ensures that FEKM standards are high and consistent across our 20,000+ student members around the world.

Even though I achieved the FEKM instructor certificate some time ago and have been teaching students regularly for some years, once I succeed and pass the Black Belt exam I will be at the mentoring Technical Director level. 

Helping our students develop and grow is a strong ethos in our FEKM federation as it is for me as an individual instructor. Teaching students and seeing them develop alongside my own journey is personally very rewarding. You also learn so much from teaching your students as you do from discussing techniques with your peer instructor group. How they get a particular technique to work effectively may be subtly different to what works for you. Exploring and understanding these nuances helps you develop both as a practitioner and as an instructor. 

But ultimately, I think it is very important to simply enjoy the journey. Not just achieving your ultimate goal of becoming a Krav Maga Black Belt, but every step, every struggle, every setback and every success along the way. Enjoy the journey, see yourself develop and grow and the consolidation of knowledge and skill will simply follow.

Nicholas Kitson
Senior Instructor
EITAN Krav Maga