Refael Rafizada-Kashani, Canadian National Director, IKM
Expert-level Instructor (E4)
Top Team, IKM
Rafi is The Academy's founder and principal instructor.
Rafi became involved in Krav Maga at an early age and progressed through the belt system with enthusiasm as a young man. At nine years old, he began training with the best Krav Maga instructors in the world; his first teacher and mentor was Eli Ben Ami. He later trained with such men as Avi Moyal, Eyal Yanilov, Gabi Noah, Amnon Darsa, Tamir Gilad, Yossi Shmueli, and Israel Tamir. He achieved his yellow belt (1992), orange belt (1993), green belt (1994), Assistant Instructor certification (excellent standing), blue belt (1996), brown belt (1998), and first Expert Level (2000) as he continued to develop professionally.
Rafi’s personal and professional timelines show an ongoing commitment to Krav Maga. He trained soldiers in Krav Maga while in the Israeli Army (2000-2005), having completed his Instructor Course (2002). In 2005, he concluded his time in the army with honours and the degree of First Sergeant, Headquarters. Rafi later arrived in Canada and focused on his own training under Eli Ben Ami and Gabi Noah, later returning to Krav Maga as a teacher. He achieved Expert Level Two in 2011, going on to achieve his Expert Level Three in 2015. In 2017, he achieved his Expert Level Four. He is now operating successful schools in Maple and Mississauga, both of which are under his direct management. In 2011-2012, Rafi was appointed International Krav Maga’s National Director for Canada.
Rafi has a vision for Krav Maga that extends far beyond the walls of his schools; Rafi says, “today, I am honouring my coaches’ vision, which was not only to train the general population, but to use Krav Maga to reach at-risk groups – those most often abandoned by other systems and methodologies. I am working to develop and deliver programming based on my coaches’ findings and beliefs, all of which aim to help the most 'difficult' of cases, such as children who have suffered abuse, or those for whom traditional therapies have proven ineffective.” His philosophy can be summarized by saying that each person’s strengths can be harnessed through education.
As Rafi states, Krav Maga is for everyone, regardless of gender, ability status, or age. Krav Maga can offer an alternative “solution” to youth, at-risk, and challenged populations the members of which may otherwise be without guidance and direction. Rafi says, “‘Krav Maga is for everyone’ are not just words to me; I am actually delivering programming that is accessible to everyone.” The tremendous, positive results that Rafi and his clients have seen in cases of attention-related and behavioural disorders underscore the effectiveness of Krav Maga training. Testimonials and references are available to those parents who feel that their children would benefit from the discipline and knowledge that are a part of this system of training. Rafi is a dynamic instructor who is not simply highly skilled – he is also very approachable. He welcomes all opportunities to discuss Krav Maga philosophy and training, and to answer any questions that you may have. Rafi says, “I invite everyone to my classes; our schools’ doors are open for everyone. May all of you walk in peace.”
The Academy of Self-Defence Inc.
What makes The Academy so special? Obviously, we're headed by an expert instructor with decades of experience, and that makes all the difference in the world. When your instructor has seen it all and has worked with everybody imaginable, you know that you're going to excel. Rafi, as an instructor of such veteran calibre, sees way past our imagined limitations and takes us further than we ever thought we could go. Each and every Academy student benefits from his knowledge and experience.
Rafi set out, several years ago, to build a Krav Maga academy where everyone feels welcome and where everyone can learn. Our training is open to everyone. Imi Sde-Or (Lichtenfeld), the creator of Krav Maga, said that everyone should "walk in peace." We strive to honour his legacy by providing self-defence training to men, women, and children of all ages and backgrounds so that they and their loved ones may do just that - walk in peace. As a result, every student who walks through our doors becomes part of a family. There's no ego here, just members who put their blood, sweat, and tears into becoming the most skilled, strong, and dedicated practitioners, graduates, and experts possible. Our members often remark upon the rock-solid leadership that Rafi and his team provide, which makes it possible to have a school that feels more like a community.
Of course, the outreach that we do in our own backyard contributes to our sense of being close-knit. Holding regular drives for the Mississauga Food Bank, participating in events like canfitpro, OSHF, and Trillium health expos, and donating to Silent Voice Canada and Peel Victim Services gives us all an opportunity to come together.
While Rafi has years of experience teaching full classes back in Israel, The Academy here in Canada started out with Rafi assisting burgeoning schools in the GTA, and teaching a couple of private clients in a family home in North York. Word of mouth travelling as quickly as it does, and Rafi being as extraordinary an instructor as he is, those private sessions became semi-private, and then full-out large-group classes with waiting lists. The Academy took shape in Vaughan while its current location was sought out - we had quite a few moves before we found a place where our no-holds-barred approach to training didn't frighten the neighbours. At around the same time, we opened a location in Mississauga as well, finally moving to our present Mississauga school on Universal Drive in 2015. During all of our growing pains, Academy members have remained the most loyal and most committed group of students ever, and it is with a lot of fondness that we reflect upon our journey to date and look forward to the future.
The Academy Team
Jordan Di Scola
Ricard Jacques is a certified IKM instructor and has practiced various martial arts all of his life. From Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and Muay Thai to boxing and grappling, he started training in Krav Maga in 2009. He has trained with Gabi Noah, Rafi Kashani, and Shahar (Sean) Or. In 2013, he decided to share the message of Krav Maga with others, which is to live in peace. He is a certified law-enforcement instructor with IKM and a certified personal trainer (CPTN-CPT). He believes strongly that everyone has a right to know how to protect him- or herself.
Frank began training with Rafi in 2012 and has been an avid student of Krav Maga since then. He's always had a tremendous desire to understand the techniques fully, which explains his impressive technical proficiency and fluency. Frank's dedication (we don't think he's ever missed a class) to Krav Maga is reflected in his energetic, forceful teaching style. He completed IKM's CIC in 2016 and is a valued member of The Academy's instructor team.
Shortly after starting KM classes, Jordan showed a natural ability to absorb the material and make it his own. With a wry smile and a dedicated approach, he is a popular member of the team. As a certified IKM instructor, Jordan combines an understanding of KM principles with a good-natured sense of humour. He's shown a great deal of dedication to his own development in the system, both in his own training and in terms of his position as instructor.
Fernando came to Krav Maga four years ago, after having run multiple marathons: Ottawa twice, New York once, and Toronto and Scotia Bank Marathons multiple times. His background in endurance sport also includes long-distance cycling with the Toronto Randonneurs – he’s been known to cover over 200kms in a day, doing so most notably for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Every year, Fernando does 100 kms plus with the Tour de Cambridge and has done the same with the Tour de Guelph since its creation.
Paul has an extensive background in martial arts, having started Shotokan Karate in 1997. He received his black belt in the discipline in 2005 and became an assistant instructor in 2011. He studied Kendo in 2010. His interest in training methods ultimately led him to Krav Maga in 2013; he became passionate about all aspects of the system due to its ability to help students to deal with all types of real-world situations. He appreciates the fact that Krav Maga remains relevant as things change. Friendly, respectful, and understanding, Paul is a martial-arts veteran who brings a true appreciation of the training to his classes.
Jeff Warrack is a certified IKM instructor level G1. Jeff has excelled in Krav Maga despite injury; he "survived" the twenty-day C.I.C course with a badly injured shoulder that nevertheless couldn't stop him. Jeff’s background includes many years of teaching standard first aid, plus rescues as an advanced instructor and lifeguard through the Lifesaving Society. He has his Emergency Medical Responder CPR-HCP AED, International Traumic Life Support, as has done many years of patient transfers for hospitals. Jeff graduated Seneca College Pre-service Firefighter with honours and is currently a volunteer Firefighter.
Sarah is The Academy's multi-tasking, multi-purpose admin-gopher and GM. She's the one who manages memberships, which means that she knows where you live, and is therefore the truly dangerous member of the team.... When you come to The Academy for the first time, you'll likely be speaking to Sarah; she's happy to answer your questions, both when you sign up and during membership. She can most easily be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edward is a certified IKM instructor whose training is augmented by a long-time martial-arts background (he started Tae Kwon Do in 2000 and attained his black-belt in 2007). His soft-spoken demeanor belies his great skill, which his classmates and students come to appreciate as soon as they begin to train with him. His precision and ability to apply KM principles are obvious, and students appreciate his detailed, easy-to-follow approach to classes. Edward is a respected member of the team.
Aliyma is a certified IKM instructor who is responsible for the holes in The Academy's walls and most of our bruises. She is a well loved (and generally feared) addition to our classes. Aliyma showed an immediate affinity for Krav Maga, and her dedication to the discipline extends beyond her own professional development. She can frequently be seen moving around the class, correcting, helping, and motivating other students. Approachable and energetic, Aliyma is a key feature in all classes and seminars. While Aliyma works with general students, she has taken special courses to work with law-enforcement agents as well.
The Academy of Self-Defence Inc.
Krav Maga Training
With a ready smile and laugh, Thomas is a certified IKM instructor who combines an approachable attitude with solid Krav Maga skills and a commitment to ongoing professional development. Taking his training very seriously, Thomas is a respected member of both the instructor team and classes in general. His command of KM technique and his precision in applying it make him a valuable member of The Academy family, as does his good humour. Both Thomas and his daughters, who are Junior Assistant Instructors, are excellent representatives of the system.