What is that old saying? "Objects in the rear view mirror are closer than they appear"?
In fact most of life is not as it appears. People dress up and make a certain impression, is it really them or just the outfit? The entire advertising industry is devoted to making us see things as they want us to perceive them but not as they really are. How easily we are fooled. And they use these tactics to take our money away, not to mention our traditional values.
There are deep spiritual disciplines that are devoted to helping us see things as they really are but these are not commercial enterprises and they do not seek you, you have to seek them. Truth is elusive my friends.
Israelis have no choice but to be exposed to reality. Male and female soldiers at the bus stop in Jerusalem, armed with automatic rifles.
How difficult is it really? How challenging is it really to see things as they are rather than as others would have us believe, or as we would like to believe?
My friends, it is very difficult. It is so difficult that most of us will go through a lifetime and never see the truth. We will die with a false impression of the world.
In the Talmud the following story is told; The son of Yehoshua Ben Levi became ill and died, and then 'recovered' and returned to life. (i.e. he had an out of body experience). His father asked him, "My son what did you see over there?" and the son answered, "Father, I saw an upside down world. People whom we admire are not esteemed over there and people whom we belittle and treat as insignificant are revered over there."
The wise father responded, "My son, you did not see an upside down world, you saw the world of truth."
In Krav Maga it is our desire to help ourselves and others see the truth, see reality. It has taken me over twenty years to understand that most martial arts are false because they do not begin with a search for reality. They begin with obedience to the master, with devotion to preserving a certain "history", and to following the rules of the particular style. Outside styles are not to be studied; existing concepts are not to be challenged.
If you can not see reality then you are blind. How can you possibly defend yourself if you are so blind that you never understand what is in front of you? Of what use are techniques if you can not see the truth of a situation? You will never even know when to use the techniques.
This is where Krav Maga begins, not with techniques but with a reality check, with a smashing of false gods, with the desire to see the naked truth. If we cannot see the truth of a situation we are hopeless in our efforts to confront it, for how can we deal with what we can not perceive?
Therapists deal with opening ones eyes and ears to reality in many aspects of life. "Sounds of laughter, shades of earth are ringing through my opened ears, inciting and inviting me." (Across the Universe, John Lennon) The purpose is to enable people to cope with life and improve and enrich their lives. In Krav Maga we try to open our eyes to the reality of violence, fear, the unpredictability of the street, and our own limited physical abilities.
Violence – We train in the dojo with our friends. Do we factor in rage, passion, destructive behavior? Do we deal with an individual who has lost all respect for life, yours and his own? Do we deal with a person who is excited by the sight of your fear and blood?
Fear – Most styles do not take into account the effect of fear on the human body. Can you recite your speech alone in the bathroom? Yes? Wonderful. Does this mean you will be fine tomorrow night reciting it in front of the entire company? You must take fear and anxiety into account, otherwise you are doomed.
The Unpredictability of the Street – Do you live in a nice neighborhood? Are you relaxed when you take a walk outside? Do you have any idea what it is like to be on a street where a ten year old is pushing drugs and his 16 years sister is selling tricks and their parents are long since out of the picture? Do you know what it is like on the street where all hope and dignity has been lost? Do you think your comfy karate class at the local gym two nights a week has prepared you for the cruel reality of life on the bad streets? Do you think that kata will take out a couple of street thugs with knives?
Our Limited Physical abilities – Oh how we love illusions and delusions. Yes, we all imagine ourselves to be Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jean Claude Van Damme in the movies. (Even they are not like this in real life). Have you ever tested yourself in a real situation when the pressure is on? Do you really think you could pull off half the stunts you do in the dojo?
In Krav Maga our first aim is to shatter all these illusions. Once this has been accomplished we say, "Welcome to reality, now let's train."