May 22, 2015, Antofagasta, Chile
Having coffee with a local resident of Antofagasta named Esther, one of the few Jews in this area, along with Yuriko and Ramon, the question of fear and trust came up; El miedo o la confianza.
She felt that living a life of fear is no way to live. Always worrying about attacks, assaults, robberies, rape, home invasions etc is simply not a happy way to live. She said she is happier trusting people. Trust is a more enjoyable way to live.
I agree. But the reality of life is we cannot trust everyone. We must be careful whom we trust.
Years ago I trusted a stranger and allowed him to stay in my dorm room in the university. While I was out attending prayers he was busy going through my things and stealing everything of value. By the time I returned he was gone along with all my cash and electronics.
I accepted invitations to teach seminars abroad only to be disappointed at the end when I was told "we have no money to pay you".
I have learned to be more careful, that is why if you want a seminar you will have to pay me a deposit before the deal is sealed.
We live and learn.
My new friend found it difficult to understand the balance between trust on the one hand and precaution and preparation on the other.
But this is not new. The rabbis told us years ago, "Respect him and suspect him". And yet....even those we trust can stab us in the back.
Et tu, Brute?
And you too Brutus? The legendary last words of Julius Caesar in the year 44 B.C.E. (The ides of March) as he discovered that his friend and protege Marcus Brutus was among those who came to kill him. If this is the case, he felt, I resign myself to death.
If one is betrayed by those they trust the most, indeed is life worth living?
And yet we chose to live, to live in a very imperfect world. We can both respect and suspect those around us. We can "proceed with caution".
This is not to imply that we cannot develop true friendships. This does not imply that all is lost. This does not imply that life is dark or bad.
It only is a statement that we must accept the reality of life and we must be prepared.
We take out insurance; car insurance, home insurance, life insurance etc because...we do not know what the future will bring.
We build walls, we have a standing army, a police force, a fire department; all to protect us from the dark side of life, the things that we hope will never happen.
We have doctors as we are concerned about illness and death.
Krav Maga is exactly the same. We cannot live with illusions. We must accept that living implies dangers.
There is evil in this world and we cannot ignore, but that does not mean that life must be unpleasant.
Having life insurance and paying for a fire department does not mean that we live in constant fear, but we must take these precautions.
It is the same with Krav Maga. We must be prepared, we must take precautions, we must train in Krav Maga.
But it need not be in a harsh or militaristic atmosphere. Just as we can pay our insurance bill with a smile we can also train Krav Maga with a smile.
Life with Krav Maga can be quite pleasant, and ....safe.