Pinellas Krav Maga Program levels
We are often asked to describe the Levels to our system with additional questions regarding belts and why it is structured in this way. The following is offered to help you better understand the principles of Krav Maga (KM) and each level as well as the importance of understanding and continuing to train in each curriculum.
All new students are encouraged to take a week of introductory classes. This class will serve as an orientation to Krav Maga and provide you with the basic skills and knowledge to participate in Pinellas Krav Maga Retzev 1.
Our Level 1 known as Retzev 1, is a basic KM Self Defense course that teaches people either with or without previous training or fighting experience the basics of fight stance, movement, positioning, striking with power and accuracy as well as basic self defenses against chokes, and introduces the student to headlocks and fighting from the ground.
Level 1 focuses on the pre-emptive strike (striking first with cause) and/or striking from a place of disadvantage (from a grab, hold or choke). In first Retzev level, we want students to ‘understand the principles of Krav Maga – ideas such as explosive movements, instinct-based responses, and simultaneous defense-and-counterattack as well as introduce the idea of situational awareness & multiple attacker possibilities.’
One of the most important things that a student must learn in this Level is how to be aware of everything & everyone around them in order to have a better self awareness. We also teach to find the inner animal by knowing when to be aggressive in defending themselves. Aggressive execution of the combatives and self defense techniques is something that is focused on throughout the system but must start in R1.
R2 picks up where R1 left off, and places strong emphasis on the defense with counterattack regarding its strikes and defenses. First defending against an attack and then making your counterattack effective.
R2 also builds on our methodology in groundfighting. Where Level 1 focuses on the defender on the ground kicking a standing attacker, R2 now puts both attacker and defender on the ground with one on top of the other. R2 also starts to stress the importance of understanding distance with either closing the gap or keeping space with the introduction of weapons defense and why you might want to do one or the other and which counterattack helps to achieve that goal.
R3 is actually where development of the system really begins and where it all comes together. ‘You must deal with the stress, be aggressive and execute techniques sharply and cleanly.’ In this level we start to look more closely at off-angle attacks as well as if we (the defender) are out of ‘position’ (example – hands down low) and how to best defend from that state of disadvantage.
While Krav Maga is not a traditional martial art or sport-fighting system there are aspects of these systems that are helpful in learning self defense and are good additions to a students knowledge base. Some traditional martial art combatives and sport-based fighting techniques are added here to increase the students abilities, flexibility and to learn how to defend some of these things if needed.
Advanced Krav Maga – Retzev 4
R4 is considered the first advanced class in our system. At this level, your training moves beyond basic fighting back skills and self defense – you now learn to defend against threats and attacks with weapons such as guns, sticks, and are introduced to the principles of defenses against a knife. Students should also have solid, practical experience in fighting. Fighting. especially stand-up, becomes a significant factor in this level.
Krav Maga was designed with principles in mind more than technique. If I had a dime for every time someone asked me regarding their strikes ‘can I do this’ or ‘should I do that’ with the answer being – if it doesn’t violate the Krav Maga principles – then, YES, go ahead! No two people are the same, no two attackers are the same.
We cannot train by memorizing a defense – you must understand what works for you and for the situation for it to be effective. Now, of course there are ‘techniques’ in our curriculum but ‘when judging a defensive technique, we measure its effectiveness by how well it works if we are late (or from a position of disadvantage)’ and if it can be done by the average person. This is a more realistic way of looking at self defense techniques.
“Our levels are designed to teach students regardless of age, gender, martial art/fighting experience, even ability limited by injury.”
Keep in mind, it was not originally created for the elite athlete but for EVERYONE – for you!! If you have an injury can you adjust the technique to make it work for you? Again, if it doesn’t go against the principles then – yes, absolutely! It must work for YOU and your abilities – otherwise, its no good to you on the street.
“You don’t have to be a great fighter to train in Krav Maga and learn self defense.”
You do have to be willing to fight back if you have no other choice! The first three levels of Krav Maga are designed to teach you how to defend yourself against common street attacks with confidence utilizing instinctive comprehensive movements. If you want to learn realistic based self defense then we encourage you to train in Krav Maga and to continue to train to learn additional defenses against more complex situations and scenarios.