The Ocean, the Wave and Krav Maga

The Ocean, the Wave and Krav Maga

In Judaism we have the Torah, and then we have the Mishna, which is the age old oral tradition which was written down around the year 200. Then we have the commentary on the Mishna which is known as the Talmud. On each page of the Talmud you will find commentaries on the sides of the page, on the bottom of the page and, in the back of the book. In addition to these commentaries, written about one thousand years ago, there are many more recent commentaries which appear in separate volumes, used as an accompaniment to the Talmud.

This is why we are called "The People of the Book". In this tradition I would like to offer my commentary on a wonderful blog written by IKI Black Belt Instructor Craig Grey of Grand Rapids, Mich. His blog column is called "The Ocean and the Wave".

In his blog he writes about a flying experience during which he was told that the way to save the plane, at a certain point, was to "just let go" and the plane would assume a gliding motion. From that point he would be able to stabilize the plane.

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He concludes his blog with the following words of wisdom,

"That lesson in the skies over Grand Rapids once again confirmed many things for me. Being able to better identify a true emergency vs. merely a challenge was invaluable; Sometimes our natural perception is counter intuitive regarding overcoming the challenge that is in front of us; Knowing and trusting our equipments limitations makes your trip not only more enjoyable, but safer for everyone; The value of good instruction and mentoring; and maybe the biggest lesson of them all: Having faith and knowing when to just let go!"

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Craig, third from right, in Israel for Tour and Train

From a Krav Maga perspective and for life in general, there is much to comment on here.

First; identifying a true emergency vs. merely a challenge. So many times in life we feel we are facing a real emergency. We should stop and ask ourselves; how serious is this situation? What are the worse potential consequences?

Incorrectly identifying a situation leads to panic. We are stuck in traffic, for example, and are worried we will be late to some appointment. Stop and think, if I miss this appointment how terrible will that be? (Now I am not encouraging one to be lax about keeping appointments, we must make every effort), but what is the worst that will come of this?

I have been stuck at airports due to weather conditions or administrative mishaps by airport workers. I felt it was an emergency, I must, simply must; make it to my seminar on time. But guess what? Sometimes I simply could not and the world did not come to an end. Sometimes another instructor was able to fill in, sometimes I lost the seminar. Life went on, some people were disappointed, I lost some money but in the long run it did not cause my world to collapse.

Perhaps the worst part of those ordeals was the stress I put on myself trying to fix the "emergency". It was not an emergency, it was a challenge. The difference is important.

In Krav Maga, in any real life encounter, we must understand what is actually at stake; we must correctly evaluate the situation. Emergency mode can lead to panic, and panic is not the way to handle a situation. Again, understand the difference between emergency and challenge.

Craig writes: "Sometimes our natural perception is counter intuitive regarding overcoming the challenge". In our Krav Maga training sometimes a new student will react a certain way. In a knife threat he might try to move away when in fact it is better to move inward, inside the attackers circle. Sometimes our natural perception is counter intuitive to overcoming a situation and that is why we need training.

Our training does rely upon natural body movements but sometimes the correct method of operation is not obvious at first. As Craig writes, "The value of good instruction and mentoring". We need to find a teacher, a mentor, whom we can trust. We must let this teacher guide us with our training.

Craig talks about "knowing our equipment", Indeed in Krav Maga we learn about our equipment; our hands and legs, our fists and palms and knees. We need to learn about our equipment, what it can do and what its limitations are. Watching too many kung fu films can give you an inaccurate perception of your abilities.

Craig concludes with powerful words: " and maybe the biggest lesson of them all: Having faith and knowing when to just let go."

Now I have known Craig for a long time and don't think he is talking about the Church going type of faith or a particular religious faith. I believe he is talking about faith in the nature of the life, in creation, in the way God, or the Great Force, or our Spiritual Guides intended it.

The law of the universe is that simply sometimes all our human physical efforts will just not do it, we have done all we can and nothing has changed. Sometimes we have to just "hand it over to God" and say, "I have done all I can, now I am handing it over to you, I am relinquishing control. It is in your mighty hands".

And sometimes that is when our personal redemption comes. Sometimes God wants us to act, but sometimes He wants us to admit that our "equipment" and abilities are inherently limited. It is time to give it over to the Big Guy.