Krav Maga and Ethics of the Fathers, Chapter One
Ethics of the Fathers is the name of a section of the Talmud, the Jewish book of laws and customs, moral teachings and life lessons. It is studied by the Jewish people on an ongoing basis. Its phrases have become part of daily life and common conversations. Let's take a look at it and see what it can teach us about Krav Maga.
Moshe received the Torah (the Bible) from Sinai (Mount Sinai) and handed it down to Yehoshua (Joshua); Yehoshua to the Elders; the Elders to the Prophets; the Prophets handed it down to the Men of the Great Assembly. The latter said three things: Be cautions in judgment, raise up many disciples and make a fence for the Law
Now my friends, lets study…
With a martial art many people are caught up on lineage. Now it is important to know some lineage. In particular if you yourself are not an expert and not able to personally judge the ability of the martial arts instructor, then you will want to know who certified him. Who trained him? Thus comes in lineage; Moshe received his teachings directly from God on Mount Sinai and passed it down to his student Joshua and so forth. We now know where it all came from, but yet, this is not enough.
Faith is not enough. Your teacher may make claims, "I was trained by Bruce Lee!", but do we know this to be true? So the Ethics begins with Moshe received it from God, and all of you, all of Israel were there at Mount Sinai to experience that directly. "Behold I am coming to you in a thick cloud so that the people may hear when I speak with you, and then they will also believe you forever." (Exodus, 19:9) "You yourselves have seen it." (Exodus 20:19) In other words, this claim is verifiable; this is not belief but actual knowledge. The nation of Israel was at Mount Sinai, heard God's voice and shared the experience. It was not a private session between Moshe and God.
Be cautious in judgment - This means be careful in your application of the law. "Consider each case on its own merits and from every possible angle and do not render decision in routine fashion." Let us apply this to Krav Maga; do not have a rigid list of techniques. Do not force a technique to fit a situation but let the situation dictate your response. Do not be technique based but be concept based. Apply the concept to each situation has it appears to suit it best, consider "every possible angle".
Raise up many disciples - We want as many people as possible to have access to this knowledge which we consider so important. We want each person to know it and understand it for himself. In Krav Maga our goal is for as many people as possible to have effective tools to defend themselves.
Make a fence for the Law– This means preserve it, make sure it does not become diluted, watered down. Protect it against misuse. May it always serve the purpose for which it was originally given.