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Testimonials from Krav Maga San Diego students

Used Krav Maga to defend against street attack

I am a 35-year old male who has been training with Krav Maga San Diego, currently a Practitioner 2. On Friday night a friend of mine was in town so we went to the Gaslamp to catch up. We were in a bar until it closed at 2 AM and then went outside to wait for an Uber. While we waited a man who was about 6’2″ and 250 pounds wearing a sweatshirt and a backpack (looked clean but presumably homeless) started throwing up on the sidewalk near us. He then yelled at us saying, “I was coughing and you didn’t help me! You’re going to hell!” He walked off and we didn’t think anything of it. About two minutes later I was looking down at my phone when out of nowhere the same guy walked up, sprayed mace directly in my friend’s face and then turned toward me. My Krav Maga instincts took over. I reflexively gave the guy a straight left and straight right combination to the face. He turned and ran away.

Upon reflection what struck me was how quickly I turned the tide of the engagement. I went from potential victim to aggressive attacker in the blink of an eye, saving both myself from attack and my friend from potential follow-on attacks. I didn’t have to think about it, I just reacted as I had done hundreds of times in class and had the confidence that I could deal with whatever this guy would throw at me. I have Krav Maga San Diego’s realistic training to thank for that.  

Thanks Dana!

C. M.

Krav Maga San Diego


Used Krav Maga in the bank

Most of us students wonder if we will ever actually use our training in real life (though one hopes we will never have to). Today I was in a situation where I reflexively used it. I was at work (bank) and was dealing with a gentleman who we eventually discovered was committing fraud. As I was off making a call to my fraud department, the gentleman went through my desk and stole my phone. I didn’t discover this until 10 min after he left. When I did, I left work and went around the area talking to pedestrians and other banks in the area, asking if anyone had seen him. I finally tracked him down to another local bank, where he was trying to pull the same scam. The security guard and I confronted him, but he denied having it, even though we heard it ringing on him. The police were called, but while we waited for them, the man attempted to leave. I told him he had to wait until the police arrived, but he refused. I then got in his path and told him repeatedly to stop. He kept walking toward me and so I performed the “educational block” technique. This stopped him cold momentarily, but I could see him considering getting physical with me. Just then the police arrived, and arrested him. We recovered my phone, and all is well.

I wanted to thank Krav Maga San Diego for the excellent training. I probably could have pushed him back without training, but I felt much more confident given the training I have gone through with KMSD, and that it came to me reflexively. I also feel confident that had the man gotten physical, I could have utilized my KMSD training to protect myself until the police arrived.

R. U.
Krav Maga San Diego


US Marine Corp - Military Krav Maga training

Being a United States Marine, I must be ready for any situation, whether in combat or in everyday life. In combat, there is confusion, fatigue, and fog of war. It is crucial to be able to adjust to any situation. By applying the techniques learned in Krav Maga, and especially the Military Seminar in San Diego, I believe that I (and the other Military members that attended) will be more prepared the next time they must react in combat.

Thank you, and I will be looking forward to continuing my Krav Maga training and attending more Seminars with Krav Maga San Diego.

Sgt. “C. U.”
Firearms Instructor
United States Marine Corp
Krav Maga San Diego Trainee


Krav Maga vs. the Car Thief

Some (-deleted-) was trying to break into my Mercedes this morning @ 4:30am and I just happened to be leaving the house at that moment.

So when he saw me, he started coming at me, and I got into the stance you taught me and and put my arm out and yelled “NO” at the top of my lungs and he stopped, about 6 ft. in front of me. He turned around and ran off. I called 911 but the PD never found him.

You may share this tale of life and death with your students.

I’m available for speaking engagements and “screaming-like-a-girl” demo’s.

G. R.
Krav Maga San Diego


Excellent training (and lost 25 lbs.)

I was always in good shape. Ran cross country and track, played tennis in high school. I always made time to exercise in college. When I started working it made it harder to find the time to exercise, especially since I worked a lot of weekends. Not only was I not exercising, but my diet was poor as well. Without really noticing it, over 3 years I gained a little weight, but in the last year I gained a good extra 25 pounds. I felt bad about how I looked and the low self-esteem carried over to other aspects of my life. I knew what I needed to do: change my diet and make exercise a priority. But I didn’t see the point of going to gym when my goal of where I wanted to be was so far away. I always wanted to learn a fighting style but was intimidated by MMA and boxing gyms since I was heavier than I wanted to be and had never done any sort of self-defense, martial arts or boxing.

My colleague convinced me that Krav Maga San Diego was different, and that the Instructors were knowledgable and patient. I took a chance and signed up. What I found was not just classes that taught self-defense, but students who were dedicated to Krav Maga, and helping the newer students. Immediately I realized that I wanted to be better in class. I tried to attend as many classes as I could, and with each class I attended I gained more self-esteem, which motivated to take better care of myself. I started going to the gym and lifting before I knew it I dropped 10 pounds. I started attending the Level 2 Physical classes and again realized that I wanted to be in even better shape to be better in class. I upped my workouts and dropped another 15 pounds. Krav Maga has not only taught me key fundamentals for defending myself but I have regained my self-esteem and a sense of empowerment.

S. K., Female Level 2 student
Krav Maga San Diego


KMSD - Safety is emphasized

I’ve been attending Krav Maga San Diego classes for almost one year now. The benefits have been immense. I started as a 50 year old, overweight, health professional, plagued by occupational, repetitive injuries involving my back and shoulders. Initially, the work outs and drills were tough, but instructor Dana Ben Kaplan and the assistants are infinitely knowledgeable and patient. Within several months, I had shed the weight and had improved both muscular tone and flexibility to the point where I have very little trouble with the back and shoulder pain. In addition, I’ve learned and become comfortable with invaluable defense techniques that could save my life and others close to me.

Unlike other self defense courses, in Krav Maga San Diego classes, the emphasis is on safety, and all the students work together help each other in an atmosphere of camaraderie, rather than competition. There are very few people who wouldn’t benefit from this experience. Thanks again, Dana the other instructors.

S. Z., Dentist
Krav Maga San Diego


US Coast Guard OCS preparation

I started attending Krav Maga San Diego for personal enrichment, but it also provided the perfect training for when I attended United States Coast Guard Officer Candidate School. When I reported there, I was in better shape than most and scored very high in the physical ability assessment. In addition, I had the confidence and skill to do well in all exercises.

If you’re looking for a practical and challenging, well-run program conducted by instructors who will work hard to see that you meet the standards, I highly recommend KMSD. Thanks again to Dana, the other Instructors, and all the students. I look forward to continuing the training.

J. D.
United States Coast Guard
Krav Maga San Diego


Best Krav Maga location

I joined Krav Maga San Diego back in 2005. At first I was just looking to try some “martial art”. That all changed after the first 5 minutes. It was immediately apparent that Dana Ben Kaplan and the other Assistant Instructors are great at teaching the techniques and making us train hard while having a good time. I have been very fortunate to have been able to train with such a dedicated and talented Instructor. Dana has us train in a variety of environments, from outdoors to the gym to a small crowded room. The training at KMSD is top notch. I’ve had the experience of training at other krav maga locations and they’re just not as good. Dana and the other Instructors don’t let you get away with sloppy techniques. I have been able to use some of the techniques out on the streets which I’ve learned in class. I have been lucky enough to never have had to use any kicks or punches, but I’ve used the strategies to avoid the dangerous situations completely. Just by being more aware of what’s going on around me and my environment has helped me avoid potentially dangerous situations.

I’ve always considered myself to be a confident person and someone who would probably never be attacked. After my years of training I came to realize I was never as confident as I am right now. I feel confident that if I’m attacked or if someone I care about is attacked while I’m with them, I will be able to make a safe defense and get away quickly. This confidence I have has also helped me at my job. I am looked to as a leader by others and if I look like I don’t know what I’m doing, I will lose their respect. This is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Thanks KMSD!

B. J.
Krav Maga San Diego


College student - had to use Krav Maga on campus

Last Saturday, I stopped at a market on La Jolla Blvd after training. As I walked across the parking lot, I was approached by a man that had apparently recognized my KMSD t-shirt logo. Introducing himself, he asked if I attended Krav Maga San Diego at the JCC. I told him I was proud to say that I did, and asked how I could be of assistance. He related the following story: Prior to sending his daughter to college, he enrolled her in two of the eight-week sessions of training with Krav Maga San Diego. He said he wanted her to have some means of defending herself. At college, one year into her studies, she went to a party with friends. One young man with whom she was acquainted was also there; when he became obnoxiously physical, she decided to leave and return home. As she crossed the parking lot alone to her car, he suddenly appeared from behind a vehicle and grabbed her shoulder. In an instant, he was on the ground bleeding from a broken nose and she ran screaming to her car and made it safely home.

He told me that the father of the young man called him a few weeks later threatening to sue to recover costs and damages. The girl’s father said that he would be happy to meet with the father and son in any type of legal venue to let the young man explain how his 5’4″ daughter had defended herself. There were no more calls. He also said several times how grateful he was that his daughter had been able to protect herself when confronted in such a manner.

J. W.
Krav Maga San Diego


Used Krav Maga technique vs. attempted kidnapper

I am a teacher at a San Diego area high school who’s been training with Krav Maga San Diego for about nine months. A few months ago, I was wearing a training shirt after school when a 16 year-old former student stopped by. Seeing my shirt, she asked what Krav Maga is. I explained a little bit about what we do and she asked if I would teach her a technique. I showed her the basic defenses against a rear headlock. We practiced the technique for about ten minutes, then for another twenty minutes the next day.

Two weeks later, she came by my room and, without saying a word, gave me a hug. I asked what that was for and she told me that a few days earlier, she was walking home when a man tried to kidnap her. She admitted she wasn’t paying attention to her surroundings (she even had ear buds in both ears!), so the only warning she had that she was in trouble was when the man violently grabbed her in a rear headlock and started dragging her. Although she was terrified (especially when she realized he was dragging her towards his car), she remembered the training we worked on. This girl, who is only five feet tall, successfully employed the KMSD defense against a larger, stronger predator and escaped the attack. We have no doubt that she is alive today because of even the very limited Krav Maga San Diego training she had.

S. S.
San Diego high school Teacher
Krav Maga San Diego


Former USMC, experienced in other styles

In addition to being a former United States Marine, I have been a martial arts student for nearly 20 years and have trained in everything from boxing to karate to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. While those were very valuable experiences that have enhanced my combat skills, I can honestly say that it was not until training at Krav Maga San Diego that I became truly confident in my ability to fight and defend myself in a real-life violent confrontation.

I unhesitatingly recommend KMSD to both beginners and experienced martial artists as a very efficient, effective, and enjoyable means to develop true confidence in your self-defense abilities. Many thanks to Dana, the other instructors, and my fellow students.

S. G.
former United States Marine
Krav Maga San Diego


KMSD stress training, indoors and outdoors

As a survivor of rape and domestic violence prior to training in various martial arts for eight years, I finally feel “capable” of defending myself due to training at Krav Maga San Diego.

Dana Ben Kaplan is the best instructor I’ve trained with for a few reasons. He knows how to teach and break down techniques so that they make sense to everyone. He gives guidance in a way that makes you strive to make him proud of you because you know you’re on the same team. And his ability to train both a completely inexperienced student, and a soldier who may within day be fighting terrorists, is exceptional. This is evident by the sheer fact that although more advanced students have separate classes from beginners, so many still choose to attend the Level 1 class, to review basics and assist new students. I’ve never experienced or heard of such a helpful, teamwork-type atmosphere in traditional martial arts. There are no attitudes at KMSD. Students are respectful, helpful to one another and everyone works with everyone else.

I’ve found that training in an effective system requires being put in stressful situations that other systems have never put me in. This is the primary reason I feel more capable now that ever before. Attacks don’t happen in a clean studio with rules, martial arts uniforms and referees. At KMSD, we train indoors as well as outdoors with distractions of life going on around us, in clothing we might wear to work or the beach. When I began taking martial arts classes, after being attacked, I never really wanted “art” class; I wanted something effective. There’s a good reason Krav Maga is the official self-defense/fighting system of the Israeli army.

K. R., Female Student
Krav Maga San Diego


Spouse of Law Enforcement Officer

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a fear that if someone were to attempt to harm me that I wouldn’t know what to do or how to defend and protect myself. If I was on a run and someone jumped out of a car to grab me, what would I do? If I awoke to find someone standing over my bed, what would I do? A number of scenarios of everyday activities could pose as situations that I wouldn’t know how to protect myself. When I finally shared these fears with my husband, he suggested that I learn self defense and suggested that I take Krav Maga. He heard about the benefits of Krav Maga San Diego from fellow Officers at other agencies and even saw demonstrations of it. Well, after 6 months I finally worked up the courage to sign up for classes with Krav Maga San Diego. Having never participated in any contact sports or martial arts, I was very hesitant about how I would do. However, Dana and the other Instructors offered easy-to-learn instruction, and the feedback helped me feel at ease in class and have fun. After a few sessions, I feel confident that I can defend myself adequately. I know a number of escapes to use if someone were to grab me while I am out exercising (which I am frequently).

I truly believe that Krav Maga San Diego has set me free from my fears and helped me gain confidence that I never had before. I tell all of my friends (male and female) to take the classes and I eagerly look forward to my next session. Thank you Krav Maga San Diego instructors for the invaluable techniques you’ve taught me and for teaching in a way that made me feel comfortable, part of the group, and let me have fun.

D. P.
Female Student
Krav Maga San Diego


Krav Maga San Diego killer instinct

In addition to Krav Maga San Diego, I have been training in Soo Bahk Doo for over three years. For students that are green belts and above, my school has a tradition where you must spar with every member of the class including the instructor in order of their rank from lowest to highest on your birthday. In previous years, I have dreaded this day because I usually got hit a lot and got extremely tired and out of breath by the end. There was a year when I thought I was going to throw up on my master by the time I got to spar him. Today was my birthday and my experience was completely different. At first, I was a bit nervous. In past years my birthday sparring was with mostly white to green belt students with one or two advanced students, this year my birthday sparring was to be with a group of 23 students which were red or black belt. Only two students were junior to me and for a moment I thought I was going to get killed by the black belt students. Once I started sparring, the Krav Maga San Diego killer instinct took over. Using my peripheral vision, I was able to block almost all the kicks and punches that came towards me. Instead of doing jumping or fancy techniques that take longer, I stuck with short and swift attacks. My blocks usually had punches right along with them and even though I did not have breaks between my sparring sessions, I was still the aggressor and kept my fighting spirit alive. By the time I got to my instructor, I felt as though I had just warmed up. I fought him with the same spirit and level of effort as I had put forth with the first classmate. When I looked at the clock after I was done, I noticed that I had been fighting for over 25 minutes and I still felt great!

After class, many of the black belt students paid me compliments on my endurance, swiftness, fighting combinations and most of all spirit. Some said, they clearly noticed that I have gone up in higher level of confidence and skill even though I have not been attending class on a regular basis for some time now. I don’t think today would have been as fun of an experience if I didn’t have the last year of training from Krav Maga San Diego. I know that I still have a long road ahead of me for training, but I wanted to stop and say thanks for all the torture and physical madness that you put us through in our workouts every week.

N. U., Female Student
Krav Maga San Diego


Learning to fight!

I really enjoyed my 1st session. At first I was really nervous and wasn’t sure if I’d be able to hang through to the end… being a 5’0″ petite woman I felt so intimidated because the guys were so much bigger than me and I had personal space issues…but not anymore! It turned out that everyone was SO friendly, positive and encouraging that Wednesdays became my favorite day of the week because I looked forward to 2 hours of intense Krav Maga San Diego class after work. Each class was challenging spiritually, emotionally and physically; typically I’d find this storehouse of energy and adrenaline inside me I didn’t know was there (and usually the 2nd hour my game was on!:) )The very last Wednesday class ROCKED with the hammer punch drills and it was a perfect way to end the session.

Many thanks to Dana and all the instructors who are really gifted teachers. You all are a huge blessing. Needless to say I’m looking forward to the upcoming class.

A. B.
Female Student
Krav Maga San Diego


Stepped out of my car, Krav Maga took over

I started attending classes at Krav Maga San Diego because I had been attacked. I wanted to learn how to defend myself, and to never be a victim again. After two years of classes, I found myself in a situation where my resolve to not be a victim was put to the test.

I witnessed a man pulling a woman out of a car that was stopped in front of my car. He was hitting her, and would not stop when I honked my horn. I stepped out of my car and yelled to him that I was calling the police. He turned and looked at me, released the woman he was beating, and came straight for me. Just like the instructors tell you it will happen in class, my reflexes took over. I defended myself without getting hurt. I didn’t even have to think about what to do. I then got back into my car and called the police.

The gift in this experience was that never once, during the whole episode, did I feel like a victim. While I am not an aggressive person, I feel pride when I realize that I can take care of myself. I have grown physically in class, but even better, I have grown as a person.

T. B.
Female Student
Krav Maga San Diego


Female student, finally joined

I have been taking classes at Krav Maga San Diego for a year now, and it’s one of the best personal decisions I have made. I’m in my forties, and spend 8 plus hours a day working behind a desk. I’ve never been that athletic, although I’ve always done some sort of sport. I have always been interested in martial arts and fighting systems, but prior to attending classes at KMSD, I had little experience with defense systems, except for some Tae Kwon Do classes that I took many years ago. I didn’t know anyone at KMSD when I signed up for classes, so I went in with a pretty open mind. What I didn’t expect was to feel was to feel the mental challenges in class, and the added stress level (to simulate what you will feel in the real world in an attack), and to walk away feeling so much more confident. The best part is to have honed a skill that I had all along and didn’t know – fighting spirit. The will to keep going is something that will save you in the street, but it’s also a useful philosophy in life. Just keep on going and pushing yourself.

Dana is a great instructor (with over 20 years of experience) and truly cares about his students and making sure they leave the class with the best skill set possible. All of the instructors and assistant instructors are extremely helpful, and everyone wants to make sure you are doing the defenses precisely, since when you are under stress, your best defense techniques will suffer. I was especially impressed at the recent targeted training for gun defenses. The student/instructor ratio was high, there were lots of muscle exercises related to the defenses, and moves were broken down and gone over in depth, with lots of instructor feedback. I attend sessions both downtown and at the JCC location and enjoy both. Now I even do some of the level 2 physical classes with gear, which push you – but are amazing! I walk out super exhausted, but proud of myself. Thanks to Dana, the instructors and assistant instructors for making Krav Maga San Diego so great. I highly recommend these classes- you will sweat, push yourself mentally and physically, and hone your fighting spirit.

K. M., Female Student
Krav Maga San Diego


My Exam was on my birthday

It was my birthday on the day of my Practitioner 1 Exam … I mean for real. Obviously I am very glad to have successed that day. I am 46 years old now and I never really practiced any physical sport in my life. As a matter of fact, I initially subscribed to Krav Maga San Diego in order to protect myself against a specific individual. So you can imagine my humble satisfaction, even though this is only a first step.

I will attend Level 2 training next session and I will be proud to be part of your classroom again. Thank you!

P. M.
Krav Maga San Diego


Find Us

Our mailing address is KMSD, Inc.; P.O. Box 13453; La Jolla, CA 92039-3453

Our Headquarters has been located in the same facility for 25 years:

The Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center