Who WE Are

26 Years at the same location… Krav Maga San Diego is San Diego’s choice for serious Krav Maga training… because Experience, Longevity, and Honesty count in this business.

Your Original, Established, Independent, Local Source … we are Krav Maga in San Diego.

We are San Diego’s most Successful Krav Maga training facility for one primary reason: Excellence. That is, Excellence in our Instructor Staff, and Excellence in the quality of our students.

Worldwide, KMSD is recognized as the ONLY real, authentic local Krav Maga Rank Testing Location, since 1992.

Compromise elsewhere…

  • San Diego’s original and most modern, up-to-date Krav Maga training organization
  • The absolute best, highest level Krav Maga Instructors and students in San Diego
  • Five (5) sessions per year – 8 weeks each, conveniently scheduled, low-cost “pay-as-you-go” per 8 week session
  • Train as often as 5 days a week, or as infrequently as 1 day a week, in multiple locations, for 1 low fee, each 8 week session
  • KMSD has the highest percentage of Military / Law Enforcement personnel of any Krav Maga training program
  • KMSD has the highest percentage of female students of any Krav Maga training program
  • Real tests! With real standards. If a student fails an exam with KMSD, and passes a higher rank test somewhere else, it doesn’t really count. Note that KMSD  students are recognized as typically being about 3 skill levels above similarly-ranked students at franchise locations. 

Krav Maga, “contact combat” in Hebrew, is a street survival self-defense and defensive tactics system developed for the Israel Defense Forces. It has spread around the world to Military and Law Enforcement units and has become a very popular civilian self-defense system. To learn more about the history of this system from Israel, Krav Maga, click here.

NOTE: Prior to your decision to begin training with KMSD, students MUST see the BEFORE you Register with KMSD page.

Why do Krav Maga students looking for serious training choose Krav Maga San Diego?

  • Almost 26 years of continuous Krav Maga instruction (and only Krav Maga) at the same San Diego location, the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center.
  • Instructor Team and Assistant Instructor Team – San Diego’s most skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable Krav Maga Training cadre … nowhere else even comes close. Team Teach format: 5 top Krav Maga Instructors, 4 Krav Maga Assistant Instructors, each with a different style, reaching students in different ways.
  • Military / Law Enforcement instruction – internationally renowned, established and respected certified special training. We are San Diego’s Subject Matter Expert (SME) for Military Krav Maga and Krav Maga Law Enforcement training.
  • International Exchange Program – instructors and students from all krav maga organizations regularly skip visiting their San Diego-affiliates, and instead train with KMSD when visiting San Diego.
  • Earned Ranks – recognized, valid, and respected worldwide; members of Krav Maga’s global community know how well KMSD students are trained. KMSD Practitioner students are typically at the skill level of “graduate-ranked” students / instructors from other locations: locally, nationally, and worldwide. Those who can’t pass our tests often fall to a lower-level krav maga program.
  • Assistant Instructor Certification Training – for experienced, validly ranked KMSD students, by invitation only.
  • Instructor Certification Training – for highly experienced KMSD Assistant Instructors, by invitation only.
  • Advanced Level Training – with truly Advanced Level Instructors, reserved for truly advanced level students.
  • Loyalty Discount – after completing your first 8 week orientation session, your fee drops for all subsequent 8 week sessions. Forever.
  • Students at KMSD pay only for one 8 week session at a time. There are 5 separate sessions per year, always 8 weeks, most with a 6 day break in between.
  • Every highly-proficient Krav Maga student and Instructor in San Diego is training with KMSD (although many Krav Maga San Diego students started at another location) simply for the superior level of challenging training found nowhere else.


Krav Maga San Diego, Inc. (KMSD) – our 26 year history in San Diego

Krav Maga San Diego began in the early 1990’s when a few of the first-generation American Krav Maga students came to San Diego to attend UCSD and SDSU (they had begun their Krav Maga training as elementary school students in a private Jewish school in Los Angeles). The group located the program in the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, where Krav Maga San Diego’s headquarters remain to this day. Originally, the college-aged Instructors focused on attracting classmates to Krav Maga. Dana Ben Kaplan was one of the original students in that first-ever Krav Maga session to be offered in San Diego, and became the most dedicated student; first to arrive and the last to leave, practicing every day in between class meetings, including as a Firefighter on-duty during PT (physical training) every shift.In the mid-1990’s an Israeli Instructor came to Los Angeles to jointly work with the largest US Krav Maga group, and Dana and his Krav Maga Instructors in San Diego were invited to attend what was the first formal Krav Maga Instructor’s Course of its kind to be held in the United States. Dana was subsequently tasked with more teaching, administrative, and marketing duties for Krav Maga San Diego, while simultaneously serving as a professional Firefighter, and attending San Diego State University part time in-between shifts to earn his Bachelor’s Degree. KMSD began to expand it’s technical instruction, organizational plan, and, of course, reputation and popularity, attracting a growing number of professional Law Enforcement / Military personnel, women and men, and college students. Dana continued to regularly travel to Los Angeles for training, and began traveling to Israel as well. Each time while in Israel, Dana joined regular Krav Maga classes, arranged for private Krav Maga training, and always spent as much time as possible with Imi Lichtenfeld (Z”L), the founder of Krav Maga, and a true Israeli pioneer, gentleman, and living national Israeli icon. Dana always makes it a point to share those lessons learned from Imi with his fellow Krav Maga students and Instructors.

Krav Maga San Diego’s original group of Instructors completed university studies in San Diego and returned home. Having been lucky to be in the right place, at the right time, Dana learned from exceptional Instructors who taught quality Krav Maga in the spirit of Imi’s ethics and morals. Imi Lichtenfeld passed away in Israel in 1998, shortly after Dana had returned from a visit to Israel. During subsequent years, Dana continued to travel to Israel, and across Europe to train in Military, Law Enforcement, and civilian training courses, and to assist Instructors from Israel who were expanding their Krav Maga businesses.

Krav Maga San Diego is linked to other top independent Krav Maga training facilities around the world. A Krav Maga program is only as good as its students, and its Instructional Staff. Krav Maga San Diego will continue to be your top tier program. KMSD is not restricted by the typical low-quality, financially-oriented “McDojo” krav maga corporate franchise-style organizations who “certify” instructors after one or two 10-day “instructor courses”. and . Those organizations have no choice but to teach to the lowest common denominator to try to capture every student who walks in, and are typically in a “race to the bottom” to falsely promote their instructors and students, degrade and water down the true Krav Maga training standards, while paying their business expenses and padding their personal bank accounts with their student’s money.

KMSD regularly fields requests for Military / Law Enforcement training, Corporate Seminars, Demonstrations, and attracts a regular flow of visiting students and Instructors from many different Krav Maga organizations around the world / USA, who often travel to San Diego primarily to train with KMSD. As the Instructors tell the students, this program is not for everyone, and students, as well as several Instructors, have fled to the relative comfort of milder, lower-level and less-serious, “fun” training environments (usually after having failed a KMSD exam, or failing to reach the standards necessary to be invited to one of KMSD’s exams). These franchise-style locations lack the serious attention to detail which KMSD is known for. Please spend some time viewing the KMSD website and Facebook page, and remember that visitors are always welcome at all classe at our Krav Maga San Diego locations.

Avoid what you find at other schools

  • Elsewhere: Classic Ponzi pyramid scheme, where the school owners encourage students (who have money) to “become instructors”, even though the student isn’t that good and the dojo doesn’t need more instructors. Why would they do this? Money! The school owners contracting with these organizations get to keep 1/2 of the course fee for each “instructor candidate”! The other half of the money goes to the next level up on the pyramid. The only “requirement” to become a “certified instructor” is a credit check to ensure their check will clear. Most lack the years of experience true Krav Maga Instructors should have. And they seem to “jump” multiple ranks every few months – only after paying someone to come “promote” them. These are shady marketing tactics imported from outside of America.
  • Elsewhere: A one room “martial arts studio” similar to a karate “dojo”. Krav Maga San Diego does not teach martial arts. And every 1 – 3 days we alter our training environment, from the thick mats in the gymnasium, to the artificial grass at the gym, to the temperature / light / sound-controlled aerobics room, to the grass / mud of a park, to the wooden floors of the Studio.
  • Elsewhere: Boxing, kickboxing, or jujitsu classes. Great for sport-fight training (e.g. 1-on-1, with a referee, no weapons); but not actually street-applicable training, or field ops. Krav Maga San Diego training builds Krav Maga mindset: win on the street / in the field, and escape + / or get to a safe place. Good Krav Maga includes techniques from boxing, kickboxing and jujitsu but with appropriate finishing moves for the real world scenario, where you’ll assume a weapon or other attackers will be suddenly present. 
  • Elsewhere: They don’t want you to do the simple math; students will be paying up to $1,860.00 for a year of medium-quality krav maga training (that does not include many “extra” charges). These students pay up to $155.00 of their money, per month, all year, essentially towards the school owner’s expenses and directly into his personal bank account. Compare that to KMSD at the Lawrence Family JCC, where you’ll get the highest quality training, for a much lower fee! At the END of your first year of training, before any Discounts, you’ll have spent at most $1,050 for class training. After that, Continuing students, before any Discounts, will only spend a maximum of $1,000 for each full year of top quality class training. This is exclusive of options, e.g. a $15 white KMSD shirt, and our low testing fees. We do not push students to constantly test just for us to make money!
  • Elsewhere: Once they get your Visa / MasterCard number, or a voided check with your bank account number, you’re on “auto-pay”, forever, every month all year, with open ended, month-to-month commitment through a third-party billing company – typically involving a 1 month lag to freeze your account, designed with the hope that you’ll avoid the hassle (or forget) to cancel your debit authorization.
  • Elsewhere: Their students are continuously hit with “additional membership fee, collected when testing” or “fee to stamp your passport” – described as going to some “international krav maga organization” franchise headquarters. It’s the classic multi-level marketing scheme from the 1980’s. This is simply student’s money being transferred from their personal bank account towards the school owner’s expenses and into their personal bank account.
  • Elsewhere: “Introductory specials”; “punch cards”; a 12 month contract “deal”, or “package deal”, or an “even better pay-up-front deal” (none of which are “deals” for serious students) – with KMSD, register for each 8 week session, take any applicable Discounts at that time, and pay for that 8 week session.
  • Elsewhere: Uniform requirement“, or “required shirt“, or “official” krav maga pants must be bought by every student to participate in class. This is simply student’s money being transferred from their personal bank account towards the school owner’s expenses and into their personal bank account. KMSD at the JCC is not a martial arts program. Shirts are available, encouraged, but not mandatory, and reserved only for students who’ve actually trained with KMSD, not for non-students to order off of a website, making more money for the school owner.
  • Elsewhere: The students and (especially) instructors there are amazingly highly “ranked” but anyone can see that they are not very good at krav maga! That’s because they “purchased” their rank from overseas. And, some are in fairly poor physical condition. If you ask directly, you’ll find that most of them previously trained with, but subsequently failed the high-standard exams at KMSD, so they quit; or, they could no longer earn an invitation to a KMSD test, so they left for a “franchise location“… with fake exams and fake instructor certifications, where “everyone-pays-and-everyone-passes”. Those tests don’t count…  and they know it. But they do earn a lot of money for the franchise and franchise owner who owns the school.
  • Elsewhere: The instructor there was a KMSD student (or junior instructor) who failed the high-standard exams at KMSD, so they quit; or, they couldn’t earn an invitation to test; or they failed to pass their instructor’s course while training with KMSD. Somehow, they are now suddenly “ranked among the world’s top ranked krav maga instructors” (but only on their own website), with barely any instructor training – after paying someone to come “promote” them. These are more shady marketing tactics imported from outside of America.
  • Elsewhere: “Wow… I guess I’m honored to be invited by my krav maga master to test…” Translation: stop pushing me to test every few months just so you can make more money off of me and pretend all of the students here are so highly ranked! We both know that I’m not ready, so it’s a fake promotion, an unethical business practice, it makes the school look substandard in comparison to others, and it’s actually personally insulting.
  • Elsewhere: Almost every student just happens to live near the dojo, and are paying for membership there because it’s convenient. If they want to get good at krav maga, they eventually have to make their way to KMSD, where serious Krav Maga civilian, Military, and Law Enforcement students are challenged (some KMSD students have been regularly traveling for years to train with KMSD from as far away as: North County Inland, Tijuana, Riverside County, South Bay, East County, North County Coastal, and of course everywhere in between).
  • Elsewhere: Sort Of Advanced” or “Sort Of Level 3 / Advanced / Graduate” class – you see a small number of students invited to these classes, as “reward” for paying overpriced monthly dues (up to $155.00) for way too long. But, the instruction doesn’t seem that good, and neither do the students. Or, you see a large number of beginning students invited to the “advanced” class after they “passed” a few simplified versions of “exams”.