Roots and Branches
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

July 17, 2015, Israel

Strong roots equals many branches, eventually.

I enjoy gardening, I enjoy watching things grow. But it can be frustrating, not only does it take plants, flowers, and trees a long time to grow but initially you do not even see it. For before a tree can grow up it must first grow down.

In this day and age we want results and we want them now. And if you can't give it to me I will go someplace else and buy it. The pressure is on. But that is not the way of nature, and the results will not stand the test of time.

A purchased diploma is just a piece of paper containing lies.

Many people come to me with demands for immediate rank recognition, whatever they did in their life until now, they feel, is justification enough for an automatic rank from IKI. My answer is always the same, no.

Roots. You can take a plant out of the ground and stick it some place else. Initially it will look nice, beautiful leaves and flowers. But if the roots are not strong, if the plant does not "take root" it will soon wither and die, and all the beauty will be lost. The above ground beauty is fleeting.

As a child I loved to take the avocado pits and watch them grow. But first came the roots, always the roots. It was a long time before anything began to show on top. But a valuable lesson was learned. You must go deep before you can go high.

The rabbis say we should be like a tree with deep roots, and not a tree where the branches are greater than the roots. For a tree with deep roots, all the winds in the world can come but the tree will not be toppled. But a tree with branches greater than the roots will fall with the first strong wind.

The lesson is clear.

When I was working for the Israeli Ministry of Education as a Krav Maga teacher and curriculum adviser, I was frustrated. I was frustrated that they did not see why I should be paid more than a 21 year old who just completed his military service. Yes, he completed his three week military Krav Maga course and was fully qualified by the IDF, but no, he was no where near me in terms of ability, understanding. He did not have my roots.

I attempted to explain that my thirty years of experience should mean a few more shekels per hour. But they did not buy it. The younger guys had the branches; the leaves, the flowers, i.e. .the youth, the "look", the muscles. But I had the roots. The roots are not always visible to the naked eye.

As part of our IKI Membership package, our On Line program, I send out hundreds of video clips per year. Sometimes I send out the same technique more than once. I enjoy comments from members such as Hal Herndorn in Georgia, USA. ..There is ALWAYS something in the clip or dialogue that is constructive, enlightening and instructive.  Even clips (e.g., from the DVDs and in general) I have viewed numerous times offer new “little things” when I go back and review them a good bit later.  Being open minded AND “listening” is learning…..As GM West said…..”Some of us have just been beginning a little longer"

Not everyone can see the roots right away. For some it takes time. But the roots are there and they make all the difference.

Compare this to the bass guitar in a rock band.  The bass guitarist is rarely the most famous in the band, most people cannot even identify the bass line. But if you take out the bass its absence will be greatly felt and noticed. Without the bass there is no rock and roll band.

We want to see our tree growing tall. We want to see leaves and flowers and fruit. The roots are boring, under ground, not visible. But strong roots are the key to everything.

Remember, many vegetables are roots. Asparagus, potatoes, carrots, what is visible on top is not important, it is what grows beneath the ground that sustains us. The root vegetable is the key.

Often I receive inquires from "martial artists" who spend a few years here, a few years there, some time with Krav Maga IKML and some time with SuperStasticKravMaga. This is a person without roots, he is a wanderer. You cannot add up 5 girlfriends to equal one happy marriage.

Go to any job interview and show a resume that includes five jobs in eight years. The interviewer will surely ask you why you can't stay in one job for any length of time. Roots.

Roots, the foundation. Practice the basics well, again and again. This is the foundation for everything that will come letter, for the branches, the leaves, the flowers. And even when those blow away with the wind the solid foundation, the deep roots will allow the flowers to grow back again.

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Getting ready for the Sabbath in Israel. Tour and Train June 2015, IKI Germany led by Jurgen Kohler

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