Ranking in Krav Maga

Learn how to inflict as much damage as possible as quickly as possible while sustaining as little damage as possible.

Ranking in Krav Maga


Rank progression is a common element of martial arts, and Krav Maga has a rank structure. Organizations differ on their approach and use of rank, and some use no rank. However the founder of Krav Maga, Imi Lichtenfeld (Sde Or) used the Israeli Judo belt system as his ranking system for Krav Maga. In honor of this, Krav Maga Academy San Diego uses the same colored belt ranking system. There is no uniform and the belts are not worn during training, however they are honorific and students are presented with a belt and corresponding certificate upon promotion. The adult Krav Maga belts are:

Yellow (1 Year) *Approximate
Orange (2 Years)

Green (3 Years)

Blue (4 Years)

Brown (6 Years)

Black (8 Years)

Training in our Krav Maga 1 program will bring you through the curriculum needed to achieve the Orange Belt level. A Yellow Belt signifies that the student has completed the requisite training hours to be familiar with the basics of hand-to-hand combat which are: Striking, Grappling, and Self Defense Techniques. He/She will have attended Fundamentals Krav Maga as well as Krav Maga 1 classes regularly. The Orange Belt signifies that the student has gained basic mastery of these three areas for the Krav Maga 1 curriculum. Once a student reaches the Yellow Belt level the Advanced Krav Maga (Krav Maga 2) class is then open to them. However regular attendance in the Krav Maga 1 class is still expected of Yellow Belts as well as all levels to continue to improve basic self defense skills.

The Green Belt signifies that the student has completed the requisite hours in the Advanced Krav Maga class (Krav Maga 2), which includes the same basic techniques in live sparring situations, as well as advanced training against armed attackers as well as multiple attackers. The Blue Belt signifies master of this Krav Maga 2 curriculum. The Blue Belt will have a familiarity with the various phases of unarmed combat: Striking, Clinch, Takedown, Grappling. He/She will understand the basics of defending armed attackers, as well as the geometry and strategy of dealing with multiple opponents. Green and Blue Belts are also expected to expand their knowledge of striking and grappling by regularly attending these classes. Sparring is requisite component of both the Green and Blue Belt curriculums.

The Brown Belt will have mastered both the Krav Maga 1 and Krav Maga 2 curriculums, the Brown Belt is expected to begin to attain advanced knowledge of striking and grappling. He/She will be expected to have attended and passed the final exam in a Combat Tactical Casualty Care Course (TCCC / Emergency Life Saver). He/she will also have attended and passed a level 1 and 1.5 Combat Pistol course..

The Black Belt should be a master of self defense in all its forms. Not only the martial arts techniques that make up the Krav Maga curriculum, but Trauma Medicine, First Aid, Combat Firearms training, as well as edged weapons training. The Black belt is expected to not only know, but be able to teach the curriculum of Krav Maga. He/she is expected to have an amateur competitor level of Grappling, Striking, and integrated fighting skills. He or she will be expected to be familiar with Krav Maga in the fields of military, law enforcement, and close protection. In short the Black Belt should be an expert at survival.

We are an affiliate of Erik Paulson’s Combat Submission Wrestling Association. Our diplomas bear the signature of both Head Instructor Alex Trafton, as well as Erik Paulson. The CSW association expects its coaches to be well rounded martial artists familiar with all aspects of unarmed as well as armed fighting. This expectation is no different at Krav Maga Academy San Diego, and we are proud of our lineage in Krav Maga and the great martial arts world.

It is difficult to attempt to apply a martial arts belt system to a system of fighting that defines itself as a “Non-system”. So the standards that make up the honorific belt system are as eclectic as Krav Maga itself. The belts take on a meaning beyond martial arts techniques and performance, but become a marker for one’s progress in overcoming one’s limitations and fears. The system is designed to structure the student’s growth from novice to expert in close range violence.

We offer a conversion system for other systems up to the Blue Belt level. So if you have a rank at another organization we will honor it, up to that level.

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