July 7, 2014
I paid my martial arts dues, I rose up the ranks the slow and traditional way. I studied various forms of Karate, Kung Fu, jujitsu, judo, wrestling, Brazilian Jujitsu, Hapkido, Kickboxing, Pressure Points, and of course Krav Maga.
I was up at 5 am each morning to take the train to class, heat or snow: I was there.
I was motivated and made great sacrifices for training. I saw that many many students came and went but I was told that I am different. I was told that I am the one who is going to make it because I have heart and devotion and dedication.
I was given the traditional wisdom: I was told "Of all students who put on a white belt only 6 will one day wear a black belt".
Later on I heard it was only 2 of 1,000. the poster above says 10, that must be the updated program with more lenient standards.
Recently I saw this beautiful, motivational, poster on Facebook. Someone tagged me on it, clearly meaning well. Clearly the intent was to offer praise. For today I have hold the rank of...Does Not Matter Anymore.
I did not accept the tag.
Last night I asked Laizer, a true Krav Maga black belt, to stay after class. I said, "Pull up a chair". I set up a few chairs to look like the front and back seats of a car. He smiled, he knows me well. He knew what I was doing, he knew where my mind was going.
It was eerie, I set up the chairs to recreate the situation the boys faced just a few weeks ago when they were taken hostage and then executed in the car. We went through a few different scenarios of what the boys might have faced. It only took a few minutes. Although we had never trained in this situation before the IKI gun defense principles easily answered the situation with clear and simple and easy techniques.
Being a black belt is important but I do not accept that poster. I do not like it, not one bit. That is the old way which I reject for us. For us it is not applicable.
If only 1 out of 10,000 reaches a competent level then in essence the system has totally failed. That means that 0.0001 of all students reach the desired level. What about the other 9,999? What if they are attacked?
What if they are among the next group of kids to be taken hostage????
NO, 9,999 failures out of 10,000 is not something to celebrate.
Even most styles of Krav Maga are filled with too many techniques, too much memorization, too much everything!
It took me a long time to face the facts: People do not have the interest or the time or the attention span to learn that much. They simply will not. So our choice is simple; find a method that is Easy to Learn, Easy to Apply in many diverse situations, and Easy to Remember. Or...Go home.
Most Krav Maga systems require: Coordination, fitness, athleticism, strength. These are all great attributes to possess, but if you have those only in short supply?
Years ago I took Dassi to see the Chinese acrobats performance in Israel. We were amazed by their amazing skills. We commented that they must have been training since childhood and have devoted their entire lives to their art.
Now I can understand if you tell me that only one out of ten thousand will be able to do those amazing juggling acts and be a member of the Chinese national acrobatic performers association. I can accept that. But I cannot accept that only 1 out of 10,000 ordinary people will be able to defend themselves. That is unacceptable.
So everyday we receive your questions, from our On Line Krav Members, and everyday we try to solve the problems that emerge. And we try our very best to keep it simple so that 10,000 our of 10,000 can be Krav Maga Black Belts, or at least be able to survive a violent situation.
Luis (Puerto Rico) grabs Michel (Chile), in the background Srdjan (Croatia)
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Two weeks of intensive training combined with touring the land and seeing sites of historical, religious and combative importance.
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Mike (Colorado, USA) kicks Colby (Michigan, USA), in the background Laizer (Israel)