Krav Maga Levels

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Within the International Krav Maga Federation, (civilian) Krav Maga is divided into four major categories. The first three are Practitioner, Graduate and Expert. Each of these is further divided to 5 levels, each with a specific curriculum and requirements.

Grading tests to pass from one rank to the next contain technical, theoretical and tactical subjects covering self-defense and fighting skills. The highest category of grades are the Master levels of which there are three.

Anyone wishing to test for any Expert level must generally do this in Israel as it requires a minimum of two members of the Grading Committee (Eyal Yanilov or any of the other Expert Level 5 members of the Israeli Global Instructor Team) to be present at the grading.

In addition to the civilian system, the IKMF also operates Military, Law Enforcement, Security and VIP/Close Personal Protection syllabi.

Each syllabus has its own grading criteria and is generally only taught to people with employment in the relevant fields.

Instead of Practitioner and Graduate levels, the Military and Law Enforcement Systems have Fighter, Warrior and Operator levels, whereas the Close Personal Protection Syllabus grades are Bronze Shield, Silver Shield, Gold Shield and Platinum Shield.

Rank patches: Examples of rank patches which are worn on the training pants uniform, upper left thigh are shown below. The black bars on the rank patches denote the level. Three black bars on the Graduate patch denote Graduate level 3 etc.

Israeli and American governing bodies: Within the Israeli Krav Maga Association and the two major North and South American bodies, there are five levels prior to Black Belt, each known by a number and a color. From lowest to highest, these are: 1) Yellow, 2) Orange, 3) Green, 4) Blue, and 5) Brown. the Black Belt comes in various Dans, as with many other martial arts.

Under the Israeli Association rules, only Haim Gidon may grant Black Belt status, and a belt test must be conducted by two instructors ranked two belt levels higher than the student being tested

Level / color Standard required
(Israeli KM Association)
Standard required
(KM Association of America
and South American Federation of KM)
Level 1 (Yellow) Key concepts for surviving physical confrontations: instinctive response, simple, aggressive counters, basic combatives (punches, kicks, elbows and knees), defenses against chokes, combat rolling, and combat groundwork fundamentals and retzev (continuous combat motion). Key concepts for surviving physical confrontations: instinctive response, simple, aggressive counters, basic combatives (punches, kicks, elbows and knees), defenses against chokes.
Level 2 (Orange) Additional combatives and wider array of self-defense scenarios including choke and grab variations, takedown defenses ; combative feints, and additional combat groundwork. Basic weapon theory and defenses are introduced. More advanced retzev. Additional combatives and wider array of self-defense scenarios ; increased intensity.
Level 3 (Green) Additional combatives including throws and more difficult self-defense scenarios such as multiple attacks, defending against grapplers and takedown specialists; a greater number of surprise attacks ; increased frequency and intensity of sparring and the basics of edged weapon work. More advanced retzev. Additional combatives and more difficult self-defense scenarios (such as escaping from chokes or headlocks on the ground); greater number of surprise attacks ; increased frequency and intensity of sparring.
Level 4 (Blue) Advanced punch and kick combinations and countermeasures against these attacks including being drowned; gun, edged weapon and blunt weapon defenses; advanced ground fighting; more regular sparring and advanced retzev including ground retzev. Advanced punch and kick combinations and defenses against these attacks; gun, knife and stick weapon defenses; advanced ground fighting ; more regular sparring.
Level 5 (Brown) Advanced weapon defenses including firearms, advanced throws and groundwork, multiple attacker scenarios (both with and without weapons) and sparring against multiple opponents. Greater stress and tension are introduced; multiple attacker scenarios (both with and without weapons) and sparring against multiple opponents.
Black Belt Training consists mostly of specialized military, law enforcement, and security applications such as defenses against carjackings and hijackings, hand grenade or long rifle counters, third-party protection, sentry removal, and other applications of terminal force along with teaching. Training consists mostly of specialized military and security applications of Krav Maga, such as defense against a hand grenade or long rifle, third-party protection, sentry removal, and so forth.