Krav Maga:Interview With The Man Who Changed The System

Krav Maga Gets an Upgrade, Meet The Man  Who Has Improved Krav Maga

I have not written on Krav Maga for a long time, to be honest I have a love hate relationship with Krav. On one hand I love it​, the focus the simplicity and the techniques. On  the other  I have seen some Krav Maga look like a fitness class. The subject of Krav is huge and sadly standards vary so much that it is hard to know what is  good Krav or bad. 

So when I got in touch with a man named Keith Collyer who was teaching a new version of Krav Maga I secretly sighed (not another  Krav Maga style). However over the course of numerous chats I soon discovered a form of Krav Maga I would actually train in. My about turn came when Keith sent me a  video of his teaching.I have embedded a copy of that video in my site below this article and its on my own YouTube account as well. 

The video  blew me away because it was nothing like every flashy Krav Maga video I have ever seen. No flashy moves, no unrealistic stuff just great instruction.

Now let me add this, I have 17 years police experience and I can grapple very well and hit very hard yet here was a system  that really  has  some serious  depth, so much that I too am  going to  go and train with Keith and I am looking forward to it. However don't let me convince you, read the interview below that asks some really tough questions and don't forget to watch the video as well. If you want to learn more  about CROSS Krav Maga then  check out his new site

1. Hi Keith thanks for taking the time to speak with us all about your system of self-defence. However please could you start by telling us more about yourself, who you are and what your experience and history in martial arts is.

Hi Andrew, well my names Keith Collyer and I started Martial arts training 17 years ago. I had always been fit, I was in Royal Marine Cadets and ran cross country for Sussex and also played American football for 3 years with the Crawley Raiders.

I first saw an advert in the local paper for a Kamon Wing Chun class starting up and went to a demonstration. I saw this littleguy (Kevin Chan) and he was so fast, I was instantly hooked and signed up and trained for along time with Kamon, earning my Brown 2 sash and was assistant instructor for my Sifu Bill Bostock.

I then left kamon due to changes with the system and started at another Kung Fu school, which was different again and had to go back to square one, had to learn my forms all over again and liked this system, but I joined the Certified Instructor Training and well, being honest lets just say I did not receive the training I was promised and what i paid for, so i got a bit despondent with martial Arts in general so I sought out and researched other martial Arts and Self Defence systems as I wanted to instruct.

I attended many seminars and boot camps and came across KravMaga, this really got me excited as with most martial arts you do not think of the psychological aspects of self protection, or the mind set needed to survive, this, with also the defending from weapons I felt more relevant to todays society.I enrolled on a two day Krav Maga Bootcamp, and loved it so I enrolled on a 18 day Krav Maga Instructor Programme with a large Krav Maga Organisation, that was honestly one of the hardest things physically and mentally I have ever done, passed and opened my first class under this organisation in Crawley. I was at this time working shift work on the railways, so I transferred to a day job ( nearly halving my pay) so i could open more classes in the evenings. I then opened other classes while working working full time, then eventually built up some savings and left the day job to teach full time.

Within this time, myself and another Instructor left the large organisation we were with and started up on our own and formed CROSS Krav Maga, we worked very hard together but differences of opinions meant we went our own ways.

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At this time, being inquisitive and always wanting to learn, i started training with other instructors from different Self Defence systems, this opened my eyes to breaking techniques, non compliancy and a whole different perspective of learning and training, i have become an instructor or coach with many of these systems and have evolved CROSS Krav Maga from my experiences and training.I also got introduced to Sifu Wes Hussey and started training privately with him and his Wing Chun Organisation WCK UK. He has reignited my love of Wing Chun and I have trained with him for along time now and now proud to say that i teach within his organisation. His a very talented and knowledgeable Instructor and I have learned so much from him. I still continue to train privately with him and am excited to be a Sifu and teach WCK UK Wing Chun in Crawley.​

2. Rather than do the old boring tell us about your style question lets try something new. You find yourself in an elevator with Richard Branson and he sees your t-shirt with cross krav maga on it, he then says he is looking to invest in a krav maga school. What would be your pitch to him?

Our CROSS Krav Maga is different, even though its based on Krav Maga, it also has elementsof Kapap, Wing Chun, Combat Clinchwork, Muay Thai, Old World war combatives (Fairburn ) andother elements of systems i have trained in.

I am always learning, evolving, I bring in techniques if they stand up to pressure testing or easier to learn/teach and to implement under stress , and if its better than what I already do it comes in, you must also look at the scenario and see if it works, but also where it could be weak, so to get a system based on principles is what I base our system on.We are a combat survival system, a self protection system designed for the types of attacks you could face in our society.​

3. krav maga has some pretty wide differences in standards across the world. What is your view of this and how is Cross krava maga going to maintain its standards?

​Great Question, I feel by constantly re evaluating , learning , being open minded and not being disrespectful of other arts or systems is my way of keeping our system in check and maintaining our high standards. I teach what works, end of, if you want fancy then go somewhere else that teaches that, its not what I do, my main ambition is to teach people to stay safe and can protect themselves and their families from aggression and assaults.

I also understand that the larger your organisation grows, so must you and appreciate that you can't keep high standards if you try and do it all by yourself.Yes the final decision is yours, but you must build a great team around you and let them also share in the responsibility and success of a great system. If you are all passionate and open minded I find that a winning combination.

All my experiences in the past have been a learning process, I know what works and what does not, I have learned from my own mistakes and pass my knowledge on.I will always continue to train, learn, incorporate, evaluate and find that honesty is the best policy, I am teaching nothing new, its all been taught before in some way or another, its just my interpretation and my experiences that have shaped and enabled me to create the system and version of Krav Maga.

4. I have been lucky enough to see your knife defence training on video and I thought it was excellent and realistic, what are your views on knife defence and how it should be taught and demonstrated?

Knife defence, pardon the pun, is a double edge sword!Unfortunately due to the rise in knife crime a subject that must be trained within self protection andself defence.That said, if its taught wrong, or the instructor is not that experienced and has notpressure tested and learned from a good source, then its worse than knowing nothing and here’swhy, it could give you a false sense of security and could get you maimed or killed.

I have trained with some great experienced instructors in this field and the reality is that if someonei s trying to stab you they are using deadly force, the only way to defend against this is to change your mindset, use medieval force against them, attack them, dominate, they already had the upper hand, switch that switch and explode in, take the position of tactical advantage, fight going forward, put them on the back foot, go berserk, scream like a banshee , add basic hard combatives, do what ever you have to do to escape.

I can honestly say that training and being a coach with Guy blooms FRACT system and training and being an instructor with Hank Hayes No Lie Blades system has been some of the best training I have ever received especially regarding knife defence. The Shock knife, a real psychological tool and the NLB tool, (a Knife that marks you and is solid and looks like a knife, not a felt tip pen)some great training aids and gets your training as real as it can be, by using these tools with the experience will show your weaknesses and strengths, they both measure these and then you can work on them.Keep it simple, abide by the principles , always try to escape if you were caught of guard in the first place, always assume there’s a knife, the attacker is the weapon, not the knife, take them out of the equation, expect to get cut, simulate and train for this, after all this is a worse case scenario, as all the other things you might of been able to do have failed to get in this situation.Flashy, movie type techniques will get you badly maimed or even killed, be honest with your students, there are no 100%’s , when it comes to weapons do not think of repercussions, or what level of force to apply, that indecision could be your last decision.​

5. You come across as a really experienced teacher, the art of teaching or coaching is in my opinion quite neglected in today's fast-moving world. How have you developed and improved your teaching style over the years and what processes to you use to ensure your teaching style improves?

​I think by training with lots of other instructors helps, it broadens your outlook, but the best wayto get your own style of teaching is to be yourself. I personally add humour to our classes, this makes a fun environment to train in and students learn more if they are enjoying the classes, that said, with some of the depressing content we have to teach within self protection humour can be a way of teaching this serious subject matter to all, even the less confident and new starters in the class.I have also been teaching a fairly long time now, I studied and received a teaching qualification and taught self defence in private schools.I try to have little ego, learn from others, learn from your students, keep testing and pushing yourself, that's what will ensure my teaching style improves!

6.Imagine it is 5 years in the future, what does cross krav maga look like now, both as a system and a business?

Well i am not looking to grow too big too fast, but essentially I am getting older, and feel our system could be passed along to honest caring instructors, I want our instructors making a decent honest living teaching the best system we can, something they can contribute to and evolve with the times.passion, Integrity and honesty are the attributes for us all and sadly lacking in an industry that promotes them but often does not abide by them.I want to have a viable business where everyone is a part of a team, I don't lead from the top down,rather from the bottom up!We will have decent rounded instructors teaching all over the UK, and the reason i know this is that I have learned from many mistakes , that knowledge I have will be passed down, greed will be eliminated from the equation, I have seen many businesses fall down due to greed, HONEST SELF PROTECTION, HONEST BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES.

7. Krav Maga, as we know is really big business these days. You built your school and business from scratch and I am sure have learnt a lot of lessons as a result of this. What however is the most important business lesson you have learned?

My Biggest lesson I have learned I have mentioned in the previous questions, but cutting corners, trying to do everything yourself, not updating your training in some form or other, being narrow minded, having a big ego, lack of confidence in your own abilities, I have made some of these mistakes myself, and have pushed past and just carried on working through them, I have a duty of care for my students, and teaching them to the best of my ability is my main goal and focus.​

8. I love the idea, I love the concept, so my next question and I am sure the question others are thinking. How does someone become a Cross Krav Maga instructor? Is it a franchise system or a course with a qualification?

have been working very hard on this aspect of our system, and I have the first CROSS Krav Maga Instructors course in December.These guys have been with me more or less from the beginning, have seen and adapted to thechanges and are passionate about our system.

They have all started from the bottom up, have also trained in and are instructors in other systems to keep an open mind, had previous martial arts background, they have been assisting me in classes and will be the first wave of CROSS Krav Maga Instructors and will assist on future course’s.Our instructor courses will not be franchise’s, I have my own reasons for this, I want an affordable good well thought out course that instructors can learn by modules, not a zero to hero type course.They will then be able to teach up to certain levels, and of course be given sufficient instructor training and support to open classes, they will have to of had previous experience in a striking based art or can work through our modules as a student and come on a course if of standard or aptitude.

They can up skill and further their levels as instructors, then specialising in a certain area of training, they will have many opportunities and help to see them grow.I am busy getting everything just right and in place, instructor manuals and pdf’s, video content,everything needed to start classes to help people to learn to protect themselves.

Everything I didn’t know and have paid the price on, they will get all this information, and also HOW TO TEACH, this is often missed out on instructor courses.​ I am not interested in how other instructors or systems teach or organise their own instructorships,only in the positive’s and not the negative’s, I am striving to make our courses great value for the best training, i will go 100% to achieve this, anything less is not good enough for me.We have our own venue,fully kitted out, great location in fantastic grounds that I have many idea’s to use and utilise.

9. Customer satisfaction question; A young lady comes to you looking for advice on self-defence and you have a chance here to sell a membership and make some money, most instructors would jump at the chance and give a sell, sell, sell approach, but I know that you are very different in this regards. What process do you go through to see if your service is right for the potential student?

​I always like to talk to the potential student first, and just have a chat about what they want, what they want to achieve and what their goals are.if I feel we are not exactly what they want I will try and put them in touch with someone who is, otherwise I am wasting their time and money, and its wasting my time teaching someone not suited or wanting something else, this also can be a distraction for teaching my students who do want to be there.

I am looking into ways where I get only qualified leads, this may be the way forward, but of course you always get the odd one who is super keen and leaves after a month, that's just the nature of what we do I suppose.This is a revolving door business, where you have students coming in and going out, thats life, andi prefer the door to revolve slowly, trickle in, trickle out, this way your students progress and stickwith it, getting a good base of mature students. If the door revolves too quick, then its a recipe for disaster, no substance, you will end up being a Mcdojo type club. Like I said, be honest, have some integrity, if its just the money your after, go on a stocks and shares course!

10. Last question but certainly not the least, one thing that stands out to me about CROSS Krav Maga is that it is all about quality coaching and ethical self-defence training. The doubters out there will be saying 'not another krav maga system'. What would you say to them? As we know there are lots of different branches and styles of krav maga, so what is your message to the doubters and the krav maga purists

Ok, well we are a combat ready offensive survival system BASED on Krav Maga, not another krav Maga System par say! Like I have said in the previous questions, its a system derived from my experiences, for my own reasons I have changed, thrown out or just simply kept krav maga techniques in our system.Theres good krav and bad krav, and my idea is to go back to the original idea of krav, a basic system that works, however in my view some, but not all krav schools have taken military fitness and sparring to represent over two thirds of each class, and teaching self defence for a small part of it!

I know the importance of being fit, but if you want just fitness go to a gym, sparring/ kickboxing go to a kickboxing school, they are better at it!I understand the benefits of sparring, and we do spar, but the whole syllabus is not based on this,its based on attacking the attacker, getting in, doing the job, getting home safe!I do incorporate strength training and fitness within our self defence training so you are always learning something useful, our sparring is not like a boxing match, but rather feeding techniques,where you are attacked in a more realistic scenario type way, also with pressure testing, fatigue training, pad drills, I love Lee Morrisons Urban Combative’s, look at that then look at some of the krav out there and look at the difference, well if you think about it, our system could be called Krav Chun, or Wing Maga, its exactly that, Krav Maga with wing chun principles and footwork, and other systems and arts that works. I could call it Scooby do for all I care, what's important is that it works, and I know this much for sure, I am teaching much better quality self protection now than I was when I was a run of the mill krav maga instructor for a big organisation.Our logo incorporates what we are about, the cross hairs represents FOCUS, the degree’s around this 360 degree’s awareness, the Shield is defence and the Wings the Freedom to train and learn with others.​

​I feel that most arts are good for their own reasons and you can learn from all of them, I just happen to have my preferences and have incorporated them into our system, that's exactly how any system is developed, even krav maga was built this way!Like i say, i am doing nothing different in approach, i just get results, ones i feel happy andjustifiable to teach.Just a big thank you to Everyone I have trained with and learned from, master Kevin Chan, SifuBill Bostock, Guy Bloom( FRACT), Sifu Wes Hussey and the WCK UK team, John Keely( UK),,Hank hayes (NLB), Anton St James (NLB UK), Imno Bob (CCW) , Dave Stopa (Kapap) Darren LeFevre (HaganaH UK) and many others. Also my assistant instructors Rene Chetty, Paul Warwickand Steve Jenkinson, fantastic teamwork lads !

Also to your good self for this interview and the help you have given me so far.Keith

 Keith Collyer CHIEF INSTRUCTOR- CROSS KRAV MAGA ORGANISATION

Andrew Holland

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