Do You Know Who You are Talking To?
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

January 12, 2016, Israel

We all know the expression, "Do you know who you are talking to?"

What people mean when they say this, do you have any idea whom you are talking to? Do you know how important I am? How dare you speak to me that way!!

Yes, some people feel terrible important. This might make sense if you see someone parking outside a building and you saw that parking space first, and now you walk over and berate and rebuke the driver. He responds with, Do you know whom you are talking to? I am the CEO of this company.

You had come in for a job interview, well, I guess you do not need that parking space after all. You can head back home.

The sad truth is we should not speak that way to anyone. Everyone is important, even if they are not in a position to cause us harm.

So I pose the question: when we speak to someone, do we really know whom we are speaking to?

I do not pose it in the sense of, is this person in a position to harm me. I pose it in the sense of; before I start lecturing this person, do I really understand him, because if I do not then we are all wasting our time.

Imagine this...a woman is morbidly obese. She hates her body and is determined to do something about it, but ...she lacks the motivation. After years of struggling she finally goes on a weight lose diet and losses a great deal of weight. Feeling great she goes out shopping. As she enters the store a man is walking out and finding her rather large and getting in his way he shouts out, "Hey lady! every think of going on a diet?"

Of course this callous insult hurts deeply. This man does not know whom he is speaking with. He does not know the great efforts that she made to reach her current situation.

How about a couple trying to have a baby for years without success. They attend a family function and some well meaning person comes over, "Have you two ever thought about starting a family? You have been married for ten years why don't you have a baby?"

Both the above stories are true, the person speaking has no idea who he is speaking to. We say you must walk a mile in another man's shoes to begin to understand him.

How many people preach religion and faith to someone who has suffered terribly at the hands of religious zealots.  A Union soldier survived a near death experience, he found God. He left his family to preach the Gospel. His wife and five children said, but who will provide for us? The man said, God will provide.

God did not provide and the family suffered terribly. One of the boys grew up. His daughter began dating a clergyman. The father broke off the relationship and sent his daughter to France. "No daughter of mine will marry a man of God". If we know his story we can understand, for him a man of God means a life of poverty and neglect.

We should not preach until we know whom we are talking to. Before we talk we must listen.

These are all true stories.

A rabbi, a very learned man, was encouraged to seek the advice of a mystic. The mystic was dressed in a long robe had a long flowing white beard. He lay on a couch and spoke to the rabbi. The rabbi told me, "He spoke of heaven and earth, of the body and the soul, of things above and things blow, things of the flesh and things of the soul."

After about half of an hour of this the learned rabbi had quite enough. He said to the mystic, "I have no idea what you are talking about, I do not know if you know what you are talking about, but I can you this with absolute certainty, you have no idea whom you are talking to." and the rabbi walked out.

Before we talk we should listen. Before we give advice we should have some idea who it is we are talking to.

With Krav Maga it is the same. We must get to know our students, we must observe and understand them and we must understand their past traumas.

We must understand what brought them to our doors. If it is a person who was a victim of rape we do not start with ground defense techniques, if a person survived a shooting me must not start with pointing a gun at their heads.

First Listen, then Talk, otherwise we are all wasting our time here.

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