Our Team

by Krav Maga Experts

Krav Maga Experts Team

The most certified Krav Maga team in New York City!

TSAHI SMEMESH, founder and chief instructor, began his Krav Maga journey in Israel, 1988, where he trained under Imi Lichtenfeld’s (the founder of Krav Maga) very first students. During his three-years in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Tsahi served in the paratrooper’s brigade, trained in dignitary protection at the School of Counterterrorism, completed the commander’s course, VIP protection program and civilians instructor’s training. He served in the West Bank and holds a Sergeant First Class rank. In 2007, Tsahi obtained his Krav Maga Instructor certification at the Wingate Institute – Israel’s National Center for Education and Sports. He also completed the Krav Maga Instructors course certified by the International Krav Maga Federation and held the positions of USA Director and Instructor Course Trainer in Gabi Noah’s Top-Team.

In 2010, Tsahi established the first Krav Maga Experts (KME) flagship location in New York City.  He certified dozens of instructors and trained thousands of students from all over the world – both domestically and overseas. Besides KME’s full-time program, Tsahi and his team also lead various initiatives including the Columbia University Club, Pace University, NYU, EMTs, NYPD’s police officers and contributory workshops at domestic violence organizations. Tsahi’s national television appearances as a self defense and personal safety expert have featured his signature Rape Prevention Series and Counter Terror workshops.

CARLOS GUTIERREZ is a G-5 Level Krav Maga Instructor, Carlos began his martial arts training at age 5 at the National Shotokan Karate where he achieved his brown belt. Carlos began his vigorous Krav Maga training in 2008 and by 2011 became Krav Maga Experts’ Lead Instructor after completing with honors both levels G1 & G2 under the instruction of Tsahi Shemesh and Gabi Noah (Master II). Carlos is the Youth Program Director at KME, where he utilizes his vast experience and passion for teaching kids of all ages.  In addition to his Krav Maga experience, Carlos has obtained a Level 1 CPT certification from the Personal Training Institute (2006) and in 2011 he earned his certification as a TRX Air Suspension group instructor. He also holds a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

RAZ CHEN is an Expert Level II instructor, Raz was born and raised in Israel. He joined Krav Maga Experts after several years of being a Senior Krav Maga instructor for top Israeli Special Forces, including the Lotar Counter Terrorism unit and Oketz, a special K9 unit. As head of the Krav Maga division of the Kfir Brigade, he taught over 10,000 soldiers, including US Marines and special Israeli police unites. He was a Special Operations Infantry Combatant along the West Bank and holds a Sergeant First Class rank in the IDF reserves. Starting in 2003, Raz trained under Master Gabi Noah in Netanya and with his extensive training, he completed the Civilian Krav Maga instructor course at the Wingate Institute. Raz won first place in the IDF Krav Maga championship in 2010. Additionally, he is a certified Fitness Instructor with multiple certifications from Wingate Institute and Israel’s National Center for Education & Sport.

KIRA ARNOLD began intensive training with Krav Maga Experts in 2013 and completed her Instructor’s Course in 2014 – becoming one of the first women certified under KME. She taught hundreds of female college students and currently co-leads KME’s signature “Rape prevention” series. Blending her pre-medical training and twelve years of dance experience, Kira uses her extensive knowledge of the body’s muscular movements to help students quickly gain muscle memory, body awareness and power in their training. Aside from Krav Maga, Kira is a practitioner of Judo, Qigong, and Yoga. She is a passionate instructor and an avid believer that everyone should have the tools to defend themselves.

BEN RONNE is an enthusiastic instructor that brings contagious energy and 12 years of self defense and martial arts experience to every class. Previously, he was an instructor for two years at a Krav Maga school in Los Angeles. After moving to New York, he trained in various disciplines including MMA, boxing, and Muy Thai before joining the KME family. Ben is also a firearms enthusiast and regularly participates in tactical training exercises here and in California.

MEGAN DORN’s journey with Krav Maga began when she was 13 years old. When she was 16, three years later she became one of the youngest certified Krav Maga instructors in the United States and had since taught Krav Maga across the country. Megan also has extensive experience leading youth Krav Maga programs and teen Krav Maga programs that focus on bullying and abduction. A certified Krav Maga Experts instructor, with a background in dance, yoga, and fitness makes Megan a great addition to Krav Maga Experts team.

DANIEL BERCOVICH began his Krav Maga training at the age of 14 and at 16 he had already won Israel’s Championship. Daniel was the lead commander of the Krav Maga Department in the Kfir Brigade and top Israeli Special Forces. As a lead commander, he trained and certified over 10,000 soldiers from various IDF units. He was a Special Operations Infantry Combatant along the West Bank and holds a Sergeant First Class rank in the Israeli Defense Forces. Daniel is Krav Maga certified in the law enforcement, military and VIP protection disciplines. He also specializes in private security and brings years of experience in both the private and business sectors.

ALON DAGAN was born and raised in Israel. He started his journey with martial arts in 1995 while training in Kyokushin Karate and today he is holding a 2nd dan black belt. Alon joined the IDF to teach Krav Maga to Israeli soldiers. He was nominated to be the chief instructor at Wingate, the official IDF Krav Maga school and certified thousands of instructors during his service. Alon he holds a Sergeant First Class rank in the IDF reserves. In 2011 Alon was certified as a lead instructor for the Israeli Police. He joined Krav Maga Experts after five years Alon was teaching professionals in the Israeli Counter Terrorism school. In 2015 Alon was competing in the world championship in full contact fighting and achieved / finished in the top division.

BYRON BRONSON’S is KME’s lead BJJ instructor for the past four years. Byron’s interest in martial arts began at age 9 with his first Tae Kwon Do class, and he was hooked. Over the years he’s trained various martial art forms including Aikido, Wing Chun, and Boxing. Currently, Byron is studying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with world-renowned master Vitor ‘Shaolin’ Ribeiro and has been successful in winning his division at several competitions, and received his Brown belt in record time. Whether your goal is to get in shape, or ultimately compete, Byron’s technical expertise and easy to understand teaching style will help students of all ages and levels achieve success both on and off the mat.

TIM CARPENTER began training at Israeli Krav Maga Connecticut in 2009. After his first 3 years of intensive training he founded and instructed regular self defense and fitness classes at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York and also began cross-training in Muy Thai. Tim joined the Krav Maga Experts team in the spring of 2016.

MIGUEL BANTIGUE is from the Philippines, Miguel grew up learning Judo and Muay Thai, the latter which he carried over having moved to the United States in 2008. In search of a system most applicable to street scenarios where there are no rules with a possibility of facing multiple opponents and situations, Miguel joined Krav Maga Experts. After two years of intensive training, and having completed the Instructor’s Course, Miguel teaches class and continues to train to further hone his skills. Miguel is passionate about the values of KME – beyond a great workout and self defense is a foundation for mental/physical durability, an attitude to keep learning, and never giving up.

MELISSA CHANG joined Krav Maga Experts in 2014, trained intensively under the instruction of Tsahi Shemesh, and completed her Instructor’s Course in 2016. Melissa’s passion for fitness and self-empowerment drives her to continue learning, training, and teaching the principles of Krav Maga. To supplement her training, she also practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, yoga, and weightlifting.

J.W. SEO‘s martial arts training began with Tae Kwon do when he was 10 years old in Seoul, Korea and earned a black belt from Kukkiwon. After moving to New York, he started his training Krav Maga at Krav Maga Experts and became an instructor after completing the Civilian Instructor Course. He is fascinated by different perspectives of school of martial arts and he is actively incorporating different arts into his training and teaching methods in order to improve himself and his students.