Chicago, Illinois, USA, May 2018
A HANDSHAKE AND A SONG CALLED DON’T STOP AT THE TOP(by the Scorpions-1988)…..AN OVER HEAD KNIFE ATTACK LESSON
A beautiful day for baseball and spring is in the air. I am standing outside awaiting the arrival of my VIP, to escort him and his family to the next location. The next thing I hear is the call over my earpiece, “ VIP package is 5 mikes out”. 10-4. Copy that.
And then, as I continue my visual scan for any potential threats, to my right, approaching with a towering presence of humbleness, a man reaches to shake my hand with his massive grip. A man who has lived every young kid’s dream of playing a major league sport. The great Fergie Jenkins, (one of the greatest pitchers in major league baseball history, specifically for the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox). I won’t go into all of his accolades except for the fact that he was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991 and he struck out a whopping 3,192 batters in his illustrious career, winning the greatest award a pitcher can receive outside of a Hall of Fame Induction, the Cy Young Award in 1971.
So what does Fergie Jenkins have to do with Krav Maga? Well, only one thing……Follow through. I do have to admit that I feel a bit like my Teacher, Moshe Katz here due to the fact that I am sitting here at the airport thinking about my encounter with Mr. Jenkins and drinking a cup of coffee (Not Israeli, but Starbucks will have to do) getting ready to fly home from my assignment. And of course I hear a song by the Scorpions called, “Don’t stop at the top” and BOOM! A blog is born!
So what made Fergie Jenkins (full name---Ferguson Arthur “Fergie” Jenkins Jr.) stand out? What made Fergie Jenkins, amongst other baseball greats such as Nolan Ryan, Cy Young, Catfish Hunter, Robin Roberts, Greg Maddux, Sandy Koufax, Lefty Grove and Mordecai Brown so great? Why was he able to reach 20 wins 7 times in his career? (Okay so that was another stat). How did he do it with pinpoint control and able to effectively change speeds? FOLLOW THROUGH
“He has great stuff and great control. He pitches from behind as well as anybody I’ve ever seen. He never gives up!” - Chris Cannizzaro. New York Mets (MLB career 1960-74).
How did he accomplish his feats of greatness? He used and easy, uncomplicated motion. Let me write/type that again. He used an easy, uncomplicated motion. HMMMM……IKI…must be easy to learn, easy to use and can be applied to many situations. HMMM. Moshe, I think you’re on to something here.
The overhead knife attack or Dkira Ilit, is one of the first techniques Moshe will teach you when you start training in real Krav Maga. Why? Because it is one of the most important life saving techniques and one of the most common attacks we have seen and studied over the years here at IKI.
As an instructor, one of the biggest issues I see most, is new students and some older students/instructors make with this technique/defense is that they usually tend to stop at the top. This however, is not correct. There must be a follow through, even in training, but that doesn’t mean you
have to maim or injure your training partner as other Krav Maga or martial arts schools (and I hesitate to give them that distinction) do. The technique must have follow through. You cannot stop! This is a serious and life threatening attack. He doesn’t care about you.
There is no time to think here. You must do apply whatever you know in that moment. What’s going to happen? Adrenaline dump, loss of awareness of surroundings, sweat, nerves, you get the point. What is going to save your life here? An easy uncomplicated motion! Gross motor skills. Fancy is dead and Hollywood is hype. Don’t get caught up in this (that’s another whole blog itself).
As Moshe writes in his book, Footsteps from Judea, my Journey in Life and Krav Maga, Volume 2 page 53, “Extra moves destroy your defense”. As I tell my students, utilize little, be effective with that and your mind will be able to overcome the fight/flight response defensive mechanism a little better- C. Esposito. And yes I say a little better for a reason. To not give them a false sense of security as Hollywood does. At IKI we train for reality with practicality and common sense.
Side note here-----Please purchase and read every book Moshe has written (9 total as of 2018), and every DVD Moshe and the staff have produced. If he is truly your teacher than invest in him. Practice techniques daily, read the daily blogs, read the books, watch and study the DVDs, go to seminars and last but not least and the most important….GO TO ISRAEL to train with your teacher in his homeland and his home. How many world class instructors do you know that will allow you into the privacy of their homes? Not many. Moshe has put his heart and soul and his time, which is a commodity you can’t buy, into all these works. His love for all his work and his students truly shines here. It is the mission G-d has given him, I truly believe.
Now back to the over head knife…..Follow through in Dkira Ilit, just like a pitch in baseball has to be there. If a pitcher doesn’t utilize complete follow through he cannot and will not generate the ample and optimum velocity and/or direction of the pitch. The arm doesn’t stop at the top of the release. They follow all the way through. This will not only allow for a greater percentage rate of success but also minimizes injury. I cannot stress this enough here and yes I am beating it to a pulp, that’s the point!
In closing, let me just say that all of us need to go back to the basics and train on them again and again and again and again. All of us here at IKI under the tutelage of Moshe Katz needs to grasp the basic concepts he takes so much time to teach us. Go all in and follow through with your training. Ego out, practicality in. If you can grasp this simple thought, you can succeed in IKI.
IKI Black Belt Instructor
Executive Protection Specialist