The question I got lately and wish to focus on in this blog/article is “What is the GIC? How it has evolved under your tutelage (since the beginning), why it is so long, why it is divided into several parts, benefits of participating, what other instructors courses that you highly recommend?”
The Beginning and IDF
How to teach Krav Maga (KM) is part of our integrated system. If it was taught in a different manner it wouldn’t be the same. From the early days in the Israeli Defense Forces up to present time, we have put tremendous efforts and resources in educating high level instructors. Why? This is a simple question of life and death. It is not about money, fame, medals in the Olympics nor is it about beauty and extravagance of motion and technique. It is about prevention, de-escalation, surviving, winning conflicts and violent confrontations. It is about managing stress and making the correct decision in real time.
In Krav Naga, since the time of Imi, we always excel in delivering our knowledge and experience in intensive compact courses. We also rapidly change the capabilities of our trainees and candidates for instructorship.
The beginning of preparation of KM instructors was in the Israeli Defense Forces, teaching young conscripts that came straight out from high-school. About 20 years ago we began the main action of spreading of the system in the different countries around the world where we had to educate experienced martial artists, “convert” them and make them KM instructors. Today, all over the world, we mainly train and prepare KMG trainees to become extraordinary instructors. This task has took different paths and has been an amazing journey. I write hereafter about the main milestones of this rode.
[blockquote align=””]In KMG with our unique approach and method, the manner in which we teach KM is part of the system.[/blockquote]
In the early times of KM in the Israeli defense forces, Krav Maga was taught to different units by the Physical Fitness Instructors who received about one week of Krav Maga that certified them to train their units the basics of the military KM. In the Combat Fitness School of the IDF, the team of instructors under the supervision of Imi (KM founder) was also teaching higher level techniques to the elite military units of the IDF. At a later stage a designated course was created to form Military Krav Maga instructors. Initially it was a 2 week course, at a later stage it grew up to 5 weeks. The material that was taught was specific and suitable to address problems, situations and incidents that a soldier may face in different tasks.
The IDF’s point of view is that the candidate instructor has no knowledge of KM or martial arts and should be taught the material from scratch. What happened in practice was that the commander of the KM department tried to accept to the course candidates with background. During the years the IDF also conducted courses for Soldier-teachers, who were instructing in the educational system some basics of KM.
In KMG with our unique approach and method, the manner in which we teach KM is part of the system. It is unique and progressive. We now have an integrated system that focuses on assimilating the techniques, tactics, mental and physical training. Its origin and base is naturally what Imi did in the early days in the military, with the developments and improvements he made during the first 15 years of teaching in the civilian sector (since 1964). Later on the work we did together was added and after he passed away additional progression was done. There were times that we revolutionized the system but mostly we just have constant evolution.
The First Ever Civilian Instructor Courses
The first 3 instructors’ courses in the civilian sector in Israel were instructed by Imi. The courses were under the auspices of the Israeli ministry of education via its sport authority and the certification was official at a national level. I took a part in the last 2 courses, in the summers of 1975 (2 weeks, assistant instructor) and 1976 (3 weeks, full instructor). The participants were all students of Imi or his students. The criteria were a minimum age of 16 (!!!) and an initial Krav Maga level (back then these were belts and it was usually achieved after 2-4 years of training). The content of the instructors course was focusing on teaching the basics of KM. In those years KM was not yet a system. So we practiced techniques and how to teach them in a very basic manner. For example – when Imi was teaching how to pass warmup, we could have been taught 5 warmups, one after the other, by 5 different members of the course. We made repetitions on certain level and then we taught some of its techniques. Lectures were very scarce and theory was at very small quantities. The whole course focused on the self-defense techniques of KM.
From the early until the late 1980’s, we had several instructor courses. Most of them I conducted including the first 2 courses that included American participants. One of these courses (in 1984) was the biggest ever in those times (about 30 participants). Its participants had a wide range of levels and grades including 8 American students; that made it great fun and a big challenge. Just imagine, the Americans knew no Hebrew, the Israelis didn’t let me teach in English; the age varied between 16 and 30, from high school students to married men with kids. Some people trained for a couple of years under the tutelage of different instructors from Israel and the USA who put different emphasis and brought them to different levels. Most people stayed at dormitories and we had 3 sessions a day. Morning 4 hours, afternoon 4 hours and as I had so much to give I added 2 hours of training at night, 8-10 PM. Imi always said that this was the most complex course he had ever seen. After 3 weeks, everyone graduated, except for 5 participants who received an assistant instructor certification.
The instructors course at that time was about 140 hours. It was similar to those which Imi did in previous years. However, theory in those courses was significantly more packed compared to those in the 1970’s. In the late 1980’s, we already had KM as a technical system and the courses started to be more methodological and structured, like of the ones today. However they were designed for those who were already training Krav Maga for several years.
Spreading Krav Maga to the World
In the following years, I was in the position to set the tone in the formation, development and spreading of the system and with it how to educate instructors. When I started the main effort of spreading Krav Maga outside Israel (in Europe mid 1990’s; Australia and South East Asia in the early 2000’s), there was a need to alter the instructors course and the approach in its foundation.
I managed to get great people to take a part in this, they had no Krav Maga background, however, most of them had extensive background in different martial arts. In most countries the average age was over 30 years old with something between 10-15 years of experience. Many were already instructors of different styles, had high graded black-belts and were running their own clubs/gyms. Some of the participants were even national, European or even world champions in their martial art. The challenges back then were very different from those that I had with the Israeli courses. Nevertheless it was not difficult to recruit them to KM, due to the nature of it as a modern, practical, effective and integrated system. The experienced people immediately saw the merit and benefits of what I was teaching.
In the initial open seminars that I gave in each new country, the responses were very good and many of the experienced people wanted to acquire the knowledge and become KM instructors. Very often I heard from them that when they were first introduced to KM in my seminars, they thought that this was exactly what they were looking for when they started Martial Arts, 10, 15 or 20 years before.
Becoming a KMG Instructor
The path to become a KMG instructor is not such an easy one, neither is it extremely hard. First you must have the background, whether in martial arts which gave you good basics in striking, kicking and relevant body moves, or several years of training in KM. The material that is covered in the GIC is vast. There is theory, practice, techniques, tactics, training methods and much more. We go over and clarify the different techniques and the way to teach them; unique ways of teaching, instructing and coaching are presented; participants learn how to plan and deliver an interesting and constructive lesson, teach new techniques and make repetitions on those previously learned; the way to transfer the knowledge is one issue, another one is how to lead, control, correct and handle small and large groups of trainees; answering different types of questions is an art by itself. How to transfer the values of KMG is another important matter – Krav Maga is a system, but it is also a weapon, it should be used correctly. If the instructor does not focus on the values of when and how to use it, we may be educating aggressive, harmful people who lack the self-control and will probably cause unnecessary damage to others and put themselves in great risks, including jail sentence.
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KMG General Instructors Course (GIC)
Today, the GIC – General Instructors Course – is 180 hours long, usually it is spread over 23-24 days. Initially I called it CIC, Civilian Instructors Course. But, its importance and weight as a foundation is so high that later we changed the name to GIC. This course is still focusing mainly on the Self-Defense section of KMG.
In the first stages I was giving these courses as one segment, with no breaks. People came for a month; trained 6 days a week for 4 weeks. This was a great experience but rather hard on the body and mind, as well as difficult for many to allocate the time in one segment. There was a need for a change and indeed I started delivering the GIC in 2-3 sections, depending on the country and possibilities of the participants. This is the way it is conducted now in most of our branches.
Participants should graduate the course with the minimum technical grade of Graduate Level 1. They should pass the tests of teaching techniques and conducting training sessions. Passing grade for teaching is 70% and of technique is 80%. Most people graduate the course, however we do expect that 10-15% of the participants will not reach the needed level at the last day of the course, so they take more training sessions (parts of GIC, without paying for it), till they pass.
Nowadays I am not teaching GICs so often, my right hand, the Global and International Teams (GIT) members do. Naturally I do my best to monitor them and work with them so the courses will be at the highest level. There is a biblical saying in Hebrew “a man does not envy his son or his student”. So I work on making the GIT instructors better than me.
Expanding the Instructors’ Knowledge and Elevate their Level
The GIC is just the first leap in the journey of becoming an excellent KMG instructor. KMG curriculum and pillars are divided to 3 sectors – self-defense (the GIC focuses on that); fighting skills and tactics; and 3rd party (and VIP) protection. The progression is clear. After one graduated the GIC, one should be taking the next instructors courses for the other two sectors. The CFIC – Combat and Fighting Instructors Course, as its name implies, focuses on educating our instructors in the subjects of fighting skills and tactics. Also, mental and physical training relevant and designated training methods for example: how to coach and pass this unique material, how to avoid injuries while using progressive training methods and more.
The other instructors’ course for 3rd party protection is called VIPIC. Featured here are the techniques and tactics, mental focusing and physical abilities. These abilities direct how to defend, protect, evacuate and guard a VIP, family member or friend, fellow employee or the employer; also, a member of the same military or police unit, or just an unknown person who is a victim to an aggressive, dangerous attack.
If you took the path of becoming a KMG instructor, I congratulate you. This is a superb way that makes you a better person and leader. You become a helper to people who gives them knowledge, abilities and experience that help people progress in their lives take care of themselves, have courage and confidence, and overall improve their quality of life. But still, even if so many people look up to you, remember to be very humble, supportive, empathic, and use the knowledge and powers you got from us only for doing good.
[blockquote align=””]If you are not yet a KMG instructor, this should be a temporary status. Make an effort, become one and it will do great for you and to the people around you.[/blockquote]
Wishing you KOL TUV (all the best) and success in all walks of life