January 24, 2017, Morelia, Mexico
In life there are and always have been rich and poor, happy and sad, healthy and sick. To me what appears to be of critical importance are choices.
When analyzing the Holocaust for example, as the years went on the Jews have fewer and fewer choices. One could choose to continue to struggle or to give up and die. But often even this was not a choice. One could choose to stay in the ghetto or run away to the forest, but again even this was often not a choice.
The questions we deal with in analyzing the past is - What choices did they have, if any, and how did they make those choices.
Perhaps one of the greatest contrasts between modern times and Feudal times are the choices we have. It is said that in most feudal societies people had no choices. You would die in the same village in which you were born. You would learn the profession your father learned from his father and you would toil in this profession your entire life and pass it on to your son. You would never rise above your current position in life.
In some places in the world people still have very few choices, if any. I feel having a choice is a truer sign of freedom that having possessions. To have a choice is to have options and opportunities.
And yet some people who have choices live a life without choices. When I left my job the bank many years ago my coworkers were jealous; if only I could leave!!
But they could leave of course yet they framed their lives and their thoughts in such a way as to remove the feeling of choice and create the sad illusion of no choices. We are stuck in this job forever.
What is worse, to have no choices or to have choices but yet create a mindset where you are trapped and feel you have no choices?
When I teach Krav Maga I try to empower people with the feeling that now they have choices, options. This does not mean that there is a solution to every problem, this does not mean that "all will turn out well", it just means that now I have some options to consider and option are power.
Krav Maga does not mean that now you can take on 100 attackers and be the next superhero. It means that now you have a choice, now you can consider if you should back off, negotiate, or fight back. This alone improves your chances of survival. i know a man who was faced with several armed attackers, with automatic weapons. He told me Coach you saved my life.
I did not understand how. He said that having trained in Krav Maga he evaluated the situation and bought off his attackers cheaply. He did not panic, he felt he was in control the entire time. He was a man with options and he chose what suited him best at that moment. A life without choice is a life without hope. A life where we fail to see the choices available to us is a life misused and an abuse of those who truly do not have choices.
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was about choosing to die with dignity rather than be taken away in cattle cars and gassed like termites. Training in Krav Maga is about taking control of your life and giving yourself choices and options when facing really bad situations.
The choice is yours; to choose or not to choose.