Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Dana Ben Kaplan. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Dana Ben, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Before we get into specifics, let’s talk about success more generally. What do you think it takes to be successful?
Honesty. That usually works for everything in life. It’s also what our founder, Imi Lichtenfeld, always said was the most important thing. Example: we don’t have internet ads, but we see other krav maga locations do, using “Krav Maga San Diego” in the title; click on it and of course it redirects to their website – trying to confuse students who’ve heard of us. Or they’ll suck people in with a “fitness challenge”, and try to convert them to krav maga students. We understand that students (and Instructors) who live by the Honesty rule will do well with KMSD; those who don’t, leave. We see people claim, “s/he was the youngest krav maga instructor in the world”; not true. Another, “s/he is one of the most experienced krav maga instructors in the world”; false. Those claims may fool a few students, but they’ll soon enough figure out who is honest, and who isn’t. At KMSD we simply state the facts. And Military operator communities and Law Enforcement DeTac communities are like small families; Reputation travels, and once lost, it can’t be regained. Being honest and having integrity are moral choices. This attitude extends to our realistic training atmosphere.
Dana Ben, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
My name is Dana Ben Kaplan, and I’m the Lead Instructor for Krav Maga San Diego, and have been with the program since it’s start in 1992, almost 30 years ago now. I moved to San Diego when I was hired as a Firefighter, and had previously been involved in boxing in Los Angeles (I’ve served as an Official with USA Boxing for over 20 years), and had also wrestled, so Krav Maga was a comfortable fit. We’re most proud of the serious, authentic Krav Maga training which we provide; for civilians, Military, Law Enforcement, women’s training, corporate and private training, etc. Krav Maga elsewhere has become a “martial arts program”: pay a monthly fee to show up whenever you like, in an industrial center or strip mall location; some even have the students take off their shoes. That is all fine if it’s what you’re looking for, and if it is, you’ll be happier training somewhere like that. Which is why we encourage students to go visit other places first. But honestly, that is not Krav Maga as it was intended (I’ve spent a lot of time training in Israel and traveling around the world with their Instructors, and speaking with the late founder, Imi Lichtenfeld). KMSD has always provided Workshops, Seminars, and a military-style 8 week training package, where students enter and exit a pipeline as a group. You’re paying us for self-defense and defensive tactics training, not fitness, fun, or social events. Our reputation is as a tough, honest organization, with the best Instructors, producing the most skilled students. Please don’t join if that won’t work for you.
What’s worked well for you in terms of a source for new clients?
Word. Of. Mouth. As they say, a satisfied student will tell someone else, but a dissatisfied student will tell 8 – 12 others. We provide serious training for those who really want to learn effective self-defense; not barefoot sportfighting, or recreational training, or simply providing an additional income stream for a martial arts instructor who trains children or casual drop-in commuters on their way home from work. We always have students from the Military and Law Enforcement communities (I’m a Firefighter) who appreciate that what they learn here can save, or not save, their life. We stress this type of honest and serious training.
What’s been the most effective strategy for growing your clientele?
- Website: https://www.kravmagasd.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kravmagasandiego/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KravMagaSD
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/KMSDinc
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/krav-maga-san-diego-inc-la-jolla-3