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.
So, just 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 learn and develop to an extraordinary degree. 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 provides, 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 skilled an instructor as he is, those private sessions become 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 of Self-Defence Inc.
Krav Maga Training