The Real Krav Maga Challenge
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

October 27, 2014, Israel

I was contacted by a certain European Krav Maga federation. Before accepting an invitation from them I contacted my representative in that country to find out more about them. I was told..."Typical tough guys who build their reputation on intimidating others, not what we are looking for."

Sad. I let them go.

Sad that that is the way Krav Maga schools work. It took me a while to realize this. Their marketing tactic is to create the bad ass tough guy image. What they do not realize is that they are alienating the very people who need Krav Maga the most.

Bullies do not need Krav Maga.

MMA champions and Boxing champions of course do need Krav Maga for real life self defense but we do not need to sell them the tough guy image. They are tough enough.

What this image does to the public is that just attending a Krav Maga class, trial lesson or seminar is the challenge. They are afraid to walk in the door. They are afraid to pick up the phone to call us.

Perhaps we did not succeed in scaring off the bad guys but we certainly scared off those who truly need us.

We have not created a welcoming atmosphere. We have not clearly presented our goals to the public.

The public really does not know what it is we offer.

Think about that. For these groups the street is not the challenge. The Krav Maga instructor is the one feared more. The Krav Maga lesson is the challenge.

These people who need Krav Maga are scared off by the brutal image created by the Krav Maga industry. For them the great challenge is picking up the phone and calling the school or actually walking into the Krav Maga training center.

The workout scares them, they fear being beaten up as some sort of twisted initiation ritual.

I have seen enough of these types first hand to know this is true. For most regular folks meeting these instructors and their top cronies is intimidating. There is the stare-down, the "making you feel small" interview, the destruction of what little self-confidence you have, the mocking of the "soft boys".

The real true Krav Maga challenge should be facing real life violent situations, the Krav Maga school should not be the challenge.

The goal should be survival on the streets, not survival of the Krav Maga lesson.

What I have found is that for most people Krav Maga becomes like running the marathon, or participating in one of those "Tough man challenges" or crawling in the mud.  The event becomes the goal.

That is not our goal.

The Krav Maga class is a means to an end, it is not an end in itself. For too many people the goal becomes success in class, being able to withstand the challenge of keeping up with the class without puking or being beaten up, proving yourself to your instructor.

How sad.

To me this is the "Military wannabees". And it is not real and I am not impressed at all.

I have had the privilege of hanging out with enough real true heroes not to be impressed by these civilian "military wannabe".

With these schools the class becomes the goal. Success is measured by winning the approval of the teacher and being able to survive the workout. This often empowers people in the daily lives (those that make it past the initial intimidation) and they feel like they have earned a badge of honor, which is great, but this is not the ultimate goal of Krav Maga.

The goal of Krav Maga, as we see it, remains the same; Get home safe.

We have one purpose and one purpose only in our training and that is to prepare you for the worst.

We do not aim to intimidate you but to make you feel comfortable.

We do not aim to scare you away but to make you feel welcome.

We do not aim to try and break you but to build you up step by step.

Our classes are not meant to be the challenge but to meet the true challenge of life, to build it up so you can deal with what the bad guys dish out. We are not the bad guys.

Hanging with heroes. Real heroes do not brag. Real heroes do not walk around in military fatigues bullying new students.

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