November 27, 2014
Self defense at the Hilton Sandestin hotel in Florida. Simple and realistic. With David Julian, black belt and head of security at a major American store.
Warning: This blog will not contain anything original. But it WILL contain some very important information, And you should read it.
In fact you should read it more than once.
Like the Five Books of Moses, nothing has been added for over 3,500 years yet we read it every year. The year ends and we start reading it again from the beginning. And while there is no new materiel there is always more to learn.
Far be it from me to compare our Krav Maga to the Bible but I do see this as a matter of life and death. So please take this seriously.
Our goal with Krav Maga is very simple: For as many people as possible to have the ability to defend themselves and get home safe. Period.
Now in theory that is the goal of all martial arts but somewhere along the line they got all fancy and acrobatic. And somewhere along the line people began to believe what they see in the movies. And somewhere along the line instructors began to believe that they can really pull off all the flips, and throws, and joint locks and wrist take-downs.
(and no disrespect intended towards those styles)
I do not share this belief. As my friend Hal says...he is a member of the Church of the Painful Truth.
I believe that is a good organization to belong to. It has far too few members.
I can list my black belt ranks. I can tell you how many years I have been teaching and the awards I received, but none of that really matters. There are people who have been teaching longer than me, have higher ranks and more black belts and many more awards but still they teach the acrobatic martial arts.
I cannot answer.
But I can tell you this. Every technique and concept we teach we test, over and over again, all over the world, with different kinds of people.
You will not see IKI flips, why? because the vast majority of people cannot do them.
You will not see wrist flips.
You will not see little people throwing big people around and please do not send me black and white video clips of small Japanese masters throwing big guys around. Those are not from surveillance cameras. I can do that too. Just give me a willing student and a video camera and I can do the same thing.
But it will not work on the street.
You can bet your life on it, or will you?
Here is a little test you can do. I do it all the time.
Look at your student, really look at him. Now imagine this is your son, or your daughter. Now look at him or her again. Imagine the worst; Imagine the worst kind of attack.
Now think about your techniques and ask yourself, but please be honest; will I trust the life of my child with this technique?
Will my daughter be able to grab a man and throw him over her shoulder? Is this really what you want to teach her? Will she be able to disarm a man with a knife?
Answer honestly, this is off the record. Be truthful with yourself.
Last night a new student came in. He works in security and recently completed his three years of military service. Great kid. He served in the paratroopers, combat soldier.
I watched him grow up.
So he finally came to train for the first time. He had some Krav Maga training while serving in the IDF and he noticed that what we do is very different.
He said he was taught a knife disarm. I asked him to show me but he could not remember how it went.
You see, I said, that is not good. What use is a technique that is difficult to remember. He showed me some disarm but got all tangled up in the process.
I tried my best to explain our way of thinking to him. At first he was surprised by the lack of "aggression". Now of course we train to be aggressive but first we train what to do, the techniques. And we see no point in hurting our students.
A thought crossed my mind. He expects aggression, disarms, perhaps I will lose this student? What is the old saying; give the people what they want?
By I choose to keep teaching the way I always teach.
At the end he came over to me. He was so excited he could hardly contain himself. "This is the best training I ever had. I can't believe all these years there was this gold mine so close to home, a true gift, and I never realized it. This stuff really works!"
Needless to say I was happy.
I did not compromise and he saw the truth in what I was teaching.
I looked at him, as I look at all my students. I looked him in the eyes, I looked at his face.
I saw a beautiful person, a wonderful young man, and I asked the question, will these techniques save his life?
I believe we offer the best Krav Maga training in the world. Yes, I truly believe that. And yet we are always striving to improve. We are always striving to improve because I am teaching my children, all of you!
The young, the old, I view you all as my children and that is a responsibility I take seriously.
As such please understand that our techniques will change over time.
When my new student mentioned knife disarms I told Baruch to attack me. In seconds I blocked and did a disarm. My new student Yoni was totally impressed.
"Wow, that was amazing".
"No", I said, "it was not". I did that for years but I realized that it does not work 100% of the time and it is easy to mess up when under pressure.
Then I showed it to him again and told Baruch to not allow me to do it. Yoni saw the faults.
I did that technique for years with Itay Gil but then we dropped it. I cannot teach that to my children. So it goes into the Krav Maga museum.
Sadly when I see others teaching I see that they teach the material from the museum. And it make me wonder...it does..
Every now and then I receive an e mail from one of our members that truly makes me smile.
"A" and I were figuring out that if one of your newer techniques has updated an older version, it's because the newer one involves fewer steps, less complication, or more simplicity to accomplish the end.
And all I can say is YES, Sature! Amen
Somebody gets it.