February 10, 2018, Colorado, USA
It is interesting how sometimes a line from the past can pop up in our minds and suddenly provide a powerful lesson.
I was in the Hebrew Academy, it must have been 8th grade. The basketball court/lunch room was full to capacity. We had a guest speaker and every student in the school was there. All I recall was that he was a Karate instructor and he was speaking about how dangerous the world is and that we should all sign up for his classes.
It had absolutely no impact on me and I was terribly bored. I was completely disinterested and never considered signing up for classes.
There is only one thing I remember, and I don't know why.
A girl raised her hand and asked, "And what should we do until we sign up for Karate classes?"
The instructor answered with something along the lines of, stay home, lock the door.
In other words he was saying until your come to my class and learn Karate you better stay home with the doors locked and the windows shut.
This incident took place more than 40 years ago and somehow it popped in my head now. Looking back I can imagine that the instructor had a contact with our school, the Hebrew Academy, and figured if he could get in this could be a gold mine of potential students. He probably figured this could be a lifetime source of students, and income. And yet on me and most others it had no impact whatsoever, just another boring speaker we were forced to listen to.
But now I think back at his answer: Stay Home. I could think of many self defense tips that do not involve any martial arts. There is a great deal we can do before we actually begin physical training. If he were a real self defense expert, and if he really cared about us kids, surely he could have offered many valuable tips that could save lives. A great deal of what I teach is non physical. Krav Maga techniques are for when all other options have been exhausted.
But there is another point, and I think that this applies to most martial arts; not stay home until you begin your lessons but stay home until you master the system of fighting and self defense. Until you reach that level you had better stay home and lock the doors.
And here is where I differ. With most martial arts that I am familiar with it takes a great deal of training until one has any self defense tools they can actually use. With us you are learning something you can use within the first ten minutes of your first class or seminar.
Last night I taught a seminar, many of the participants were first time Krav Maga students. The consensus after the first 3 hour training session was that everyone had walked away with something they could use in a real situation.
With many styles the grand masters, the 10th degree black belts are indeed impressive and can use the techniques effectively. But what about that girl in 8th grade that had the courage to raise her hand? How long would it take her to be able to defend herself?
And that my friends is the entire difference.