December 2, Thailand
We must always be adapting. We must always be taking in new information and improving our situation. Unless we want to remain where we are, and fall behind the rest of the world,...we must adapt and change.
Even the most primitive societies are constantly adapting and adjusting. It may appear to outsiders that no changes are taking place but yet a careful study will show that in fact great changes have taken place.
When we study "primitive" societies we discover that in order to survive they had made constant changes and improvements. Some of the inventions they have come up with are simply beyond words, phenomenal and ingenious. In the way they preserve water, collect food, stay warm and safe from the environment and enemies; constant adjustment and improvements, and so must we.
On Tour and Train we visit Masada and students always ask; but how could they live up here? How did they gather food and water? The answers show that in many ways they found solutions far superior to what we have today. While our food is genetically modified to last a few weeks King Herod had organic food that was still fresh seventy years after he left it. And while today our top scientists are still struggling with the water issue King Herod, and later the Jewish rebels, never lacked for water, in the middle of a desert, on the top of an secluded mountain.
I am currently in Thailand, much is new and different. As always I try to prepare by reading about a culture, by speaking to those who have been here, but yet it is never enough. The basic principles of keeping your eyes open, watching your back and expecting the unexpected still applies.
While it is true that "people are people" there are still major cultural differences around the world and different cultural norms. Not knowing the local rules can get you in a lot of trouble.
While researching a culture is certainly helpful there are still some things one must learn on their own, and we try to learn them without a heavy cost. As we always stress at our seminars, our classes and during the Tour and Train program....Self Defense/Krav Maga is much more than physical. We have a mind and we must use it.
You can train all day but without the correct mind training it will be of little use. Just imagine a plumbing problem; a man comes in with a bulldozer, a sledge hammer, a drill and just starts smashing things up. That is what dentistry used to be like, destroy the tooth and build a new one. Terrible waste. Taking the time to see the problem fully, to understand where the danger might come from, and the correct measured response, is far more useful than the number of push-ups you can do or how many punches you can throw per minute.
As we stress in our DVD "Defeat Hamas" there is a huge difference between Anticipation and Awareness, sadly most instructors miss this point. The physical will only get you so far.
While walking around Bangkok last night with my friend and fellow IKI instructor Tyler Collins we observed people's behavior. I offered my thoughts while he added more useful information based on living here for nearly a year.
Watching people, how they interact, how they are dressed, even the depth of the tans...reveals so much. Self defense, survival, Krav Maga is a matter of constantly observing people, picking up detail, noticing the nuances.
While my observations were more general and superficial Tyler was able to offer more insight having spent more time in Thailand. Things are not always as they appear or as you read on the internet. Personal, hands on experience, is necessary. We must always be learning. We must be paying attention.
Our self-defense training is constantly evolving. It is not only physical, it is not only watching your back, it is also monitoring the political and social environment, it is being aware who might decide to hate you for reasons only they understand. Self-defense is following the political and social climate changes. In Thailand no one seems to know anything about Israel or Jews, thus wearing Jewish attire puts you in no trouble at all. Yet on many college campuses in the Western world today just wearing any sign of Jewishness or support for Israel will put you in grave danger. Even wearing our Krav Maga T shirts has been enough on occasion to "provoke" haters and racists into abusive and violent behavior.
Keep training, stay in shape, sharpen your mind, keep your eyes open and watch your back. Training never ends.
Watch your step, look both ways before crossing the street and...train in Krav Maga.
With IKI instructor, Black Belt, Tyler Collins.
The rabbis said....If not now, when?
Do not say I will train when I find time for you may never find the time.