My very first level 1 test in Krav Maga was an eye opener. I had taken many, many belt tests in martial arts, was a 4th degree black belt in taekwondo, and I can tell you that the basic level 1 krav test was the hardest test I had ever seen! Krav takes testing serious!! In Krav Maga the testing is very intense for good reason. We go all out in the testing and expect maximum effort. Most members who test will say that it was one of the hardest things that they have ever done as well as one of the great accomplishments of their lives. Our feeling is that if self defense doesn’t work when we are at our worst and worn out, it isn’t worth knowing. We also truly believe that after someone has pushed themselves beyond what they thought that they could in a test a real life self defense situation will be much easier with a “been there, done that” feeling.

In level 1 we put the students through an hour and a half workshop, then an hour and a half test. We use the workshop to 1) show exactly how you want techniques done in the test, 2) wear out those who are going to test a bit and 3) to make sure those who wish to test are ready. If someone is getting tired in the workshop or doesn’t have techniques down this is where we tell them not to test. We let them know this is nothing they want to do over and that they will fail today so they should wait for the next. Right after the workshop we start the test. The test is like an hour and a half non stop exhaustion drill. We go down the list of all level 1 techniques, one after the other. Shadow boxing is first and we have them do this for quite awhile. It’s kinda the first clue that they are in for hell! We have them do burpees when they aren’t going hard enough, are too slow handing pads over or getting pads, etc. After two or three of these burpee stoppages they are truly exhausted….and the test isn’t even half over.

After we test we show the scores. There is no griping allowed about scores. A score below 70 fails because in our opinion the technique wouldn’t have kept them safe in real life. A score of 70-72 for a technique means they barely passed, one in the upper 70’s means it looked really good. Anything in the 80’s was instructor quality! Ladies grades are almost always lower than the guys….get over it. We don’t grade on “that was pretty good for a girl”. We grade everyone on the same criteria…would it have kept you safe against a 220 pound 6’ 3” enraged attacker. So a big guy could have been sloppy and got a 79 while the small female had perfect technique and got a 71. He would have been safer….safe is safe, sex doesn’t matter.

Then, of course, we tell them that the level 1 test they just finished was the easiest test they will ever take….level 2 is 2 hours workshop and 2 ½ hours of testing right up to our 6 hour level 5 test!! Testing is totally based on if it would really keep you safe. No flash, no BS, no feeling sorry for a hard worker so pass them for effort. BE SAFE!!

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