Our Chief Instructor



After nearly 4 decades and countless hours of training, Mike Mihalkanin, head Krav Maga instructor for MMA Academy, was recently promoted to 3rd Dan Black Belt (1 of 29) by Darren Levine and Krav Maga Worldwide in October 2017.


Darren Levine, a sixth-degree black belt, U.S. Chief Instructor and CEO of Krav Maga Worldwide, imported Krav Maga to the U.S. in 1981 after studying in Israel from Grand Master Imi Lichtenfeld, the late creator of Krav Maga.



Lichtenfeld, the son of a highly respected police detective and trainer, was a national champion of gymnastics, Boxing, and Wrestling in his native Czechoslovakia. He began to develop Krav Maga just prior to World War II after arriving in the Middle East. When Israel became a nation, he was handpicked to train Israeli military forces, Anti-Terrorist Units, and Security Forces for real combat.


Since Krav Maga emerged in an environment where extreme violence was common, it had ample opportunity to be tested. No defensive tactics program in the world is more battle tested than Krav Maga.


In 1981, the Krav Maga Association of Israel and the Israeli Ministry of Education held the very first International Instructor’s Course for Krav Maga. Darren Levine was hand-picked for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He trained under Krav Maga founder Imi Lichtenfeld, earned his black belt & full instructor’s certification and brought Krav Maga to the United States.

Darren opened the Krav Maga Worldwide Training Center in Los Angeles. It was the first of its kind in the world. Many gyms offer self-defense classes, but when you want to train under true leaders and innovators in Krav Maga, a certified Krav Maga Worldwide training center such as MMA Academy is the only option.


In addition to the current rank above Mike's past achievements in self-defense are;

  • 6th Degree Black Belt with the World Martial Arts Ranking Association (WMARA)

  • Advanced Certified Civilian Law Enforcement instructor through Krav Maga Worldwide’s elite Force Training Division

  • Advanced FAST Defense Instructor

  • Expert adviser numerous times for local television and radio segments on personal protection including being the technical advisor for an Emmy Award winning short documentary tilted “Surviving an Active Shooting”

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