Will Krav Maga become like Karate from the 1980's?

Will Krav Maga become like Karate from the 1980's?

By Simon Morrell, British Combat Association Krav Maga Black Belt & Senior Instructor.

I worry now as I see a trend in the current Krav Maga situation. I worry that it is going to become in the same state as the Karate of old with splintered groups and associations claiming to be ‘the one and only’ and Grand Masters popping up everywhere.

Like most Martial Arts (although Krav Maga is more often referred to as a Combat System) there are brilliant, quite brilliant Instructors who are off the roof with their skills and then there are ‘the others’. The others who just don’t seem to have a clue what they are doing, Facebook Warriors becoming YouTube Gladiators. 

I see extremely talented Krav Maga Instructors like Kelina Cowell - Apolaki Krav Maga and Scott Caldwell - Caged Devil Combat (amongst others) demonstrating such effective techniques and in the next instant I see Instructors throwing pads at the students in the name of pressure testing. 

Krav Maga Gun Defenses

I watched with baited breath as a genuine Krav Maga Instructor disarmed a gunman with a real, live, loaded firearm pointed directly at his chest but then sat dismayed as a website photograph showed a ‘one day course’ in which the Instructor attempted to teach their student how to defend against a gun pointed at them from 15 feet away…bang bang - your dead.

Still that was better than the ‘bodyguard’ who posted a training clip of himself protecting a client in a drill in which a firearm was pointed at said client. Our caped crusader emerges on camera from the wings and double flips over the gun in a complicated, multi-tasking move. Surely he should have just been in front of or at least by the side of his Whitney Houston?

Commercial Krav Maga

I don’t claim to have all the answers at all but having first trained in Krav Maga at a British Combat Association Instructor’s course more than 20 years ago under legend Eyal Yanilov (and pursued it ever since in one form of another until it became more widely available) and being blown away by the system, I do lay claim to be more proficient than the 20 year old Karate Black Belt now teaching Krav Maga to music…'Kravercise'?

As with any mainstream Martial Art, splits are inevitable as people progress with their own training/teaching but I literally held my head in my hands when I met a former student last year (he achieved Purple Belt Karate) who told me with gusto that he now taught Krav Maga at an exclusive health club in a nearby city and was able to do so because he had ‘read that book everyone reads.’ 

Whilst intentions were I am sure honorable, can we ever stop the rot when certain associations are asking their Instructors to attend their locations and teach Krav Maga seminars, whilst offering a princely sum of £20 including travel expenses? I don’t think so. You pay peanuts you get monkeys.

Battle tested Krav Maga

Of course the big acid test would be to put it to the Special Forces, a far reached task granted but just a thought. Would they be comfortable bringing some of the Krav Maga techniques taught these days to the front line? Perhaps they could take their beatbox with them? If they wouldn’t put up with this watered down charade that some are presenting as 'Unarmed Combat' then why should we? After all, it is said that a man with a gun in peacetime is no less dangerous than a man with a gun in wartime.

Which leads me to another worry. I met with a ‘security expert’ recently with a view to starting a business venture together. He was very scathing of Krav Maga and rubbished anyone who taught gun defense (come to think of it he rubbished every person I have ever been taught by or trained with.) 

“Waste of time,” he suggested before concluding with the same opinion of Krav Maga knife defenses. I tried to reason with him, after all I had known many men deal successfully with knife attacks and recalled real life CCTV footage of a gunman approaching and entering a front door, pointing a revolver directly at an occupant. Said occupant immediately slapped the gun away from his chest and out of the attacker’s hands. “Nonsense,” barked our Walter Mitty. “It wouldn’t work under fear.” Having faced a gunman and his gang myself personally and up close when they came to collect a family debt I know the fear he spoke of. I also know that at the time I dealt with the gang I did not, at any time feel comfortable but was happier that I knew something rather than nothing but I just let out a deep sigh and remembered the words of a good friend and former Sensei when he told me “Simon, you can’t fix stupid.” 

Our said business venture never came to pass (my choice, not his) but the point is, although this guy was donut number one, he had already formed an opinion of Krav Maga based on videos published on YouTube by people who really had no place recording them in the first place. He out and out refused to acknowledge the great Krav Maga practitioners out there and trust me, they are out there. 

Sadly I think this will all fall on deaf ears as money hungry Instructors will dupe gullible members of public into thinking they will become invincible. "Real Warriors" I was told by a music loving Krav Maga student recently…ahem. Perhaps if we are lucky the honest, talented Instructors out there will still be around to pick up the pieces before Krav Maga becomes a major source of amusement. Just like the people who came to see Karate as funny men in white pyjamas dancing about, except the pyjamas have been replaced by camouflage gear. If Carlsberg made Martial Arts…

About the Author:

Simon Morrell has trained in Martial Arts and Combat Systems for 34 years and holds the rank of 6th Dan Black Belt. 

He is the only person in North Wales to hold a Dan grade in Krav Maga recognized and awarded by I.K.I (direct from Israel) and The British Combat Association for whom he is a Senior Instructor. 

He has written about his life’s experiences in the books ‘From Bullied to Black Belt', a true U.S.A. by Flixster Studios. He runs a full time MMA Academy, Fight Fortress in North Wales. You can find out more about him, his books and seminars at: www.simonmorrell.com


  1. Hi Simon, nice piece. Can I contact you by email? I have a couple of questions



    1. Hi Alwyn
      Thanks for your message. Of course you can ask questions, I'm happy to help where I can. Email is info@simonmorrell.com
      Kind regards