I’m writing in celebration of Founder’s Diploma holder and US Chief instructor Darren Levine’s promotion to 8th Dan Black Belt.
While I had the privilege of first drafting the letter requesting Darren’s promotion to the Krav Maga Association of America’s Board of Directors, I feel strongly that a public follow-up letter is appropriate given the nature and context of this promotion. My goal in writing is not to advocate for promotion, as that has been achieved. Rather, my goal is to put into print those things we must not forget as we celebrate Darren’s promotion and as we go forward into our collective future.
Let us remember that Darren has been the driving force behind the global growth of Krav Maga – an effort that Imi would be proud to have witnessed. While many have labored and efforted for decades to support this growth, that loyalty and drive was and is to this day, inspired by Darren, his love for Krav Maga, and his steadfast devotion to those around him. While Darren is the Chief Instructor of the largest Krav Maga organization on the planet, I have personally seen him make time for every student seeking his council after long days of training and teaching seminars. Darren is a leader, a teacher, and an advocate for Krav Maga through and through.
As for me, Darren has become a mentor and brother, owning a place in my estimation reserved for very few men in this world. His tireless devotion to that which is good, right, and fair – including justice – is a testament to his ethos and a window into his true self. He has never waivered from his path and has always persevered despite setback and betrayal from those who owed much but took much more from him. Darren has made his life’s work about teaching and protecting others, and his life’s work is secured in many of us as we teach Krav Maga and honor his example.
It is not just Darren’s efforts that have been the predominant driving force behind the growth of Krav Maga; it has been who he is that has mattered most. Darren has chosen to lead from the front for many decades, and he has given his utmost for Krav Maga – including his spirit and body. It is my sincere and honest hope that we all will remember what Darren has done for us, what his teaching has meant for us, and keep that remembrance in the forefront of our minds. Darren deserves this promotion, and he deserves our loyalty and respect for his tireless and continued work in keeping communities safe and in supporting each of us in becoming much more.
As we gather to celebrate Darren’s promotion, let each of us consider what Darren has done for Krav Maga and for the many people he has touched through the years. No one has done it better, has done more, or given more. Darren is at the top for many reasons, let us consider and hold onto them all as we honor his achievement.