Simplicity in Training
By Moshe Katz

November 15, 2011

"It's more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long difficult words but rather short easy words like 'What about lunch?'"

(Winnie the Pooh)

I remember a movie where there was a dire air traffic situation to deal with. People's lives were on the line; any mistake by the decision makers could result in great tragedy.

The guy in charge was not an expert in each and every aspect of aviation safety but he was an expert in human management. He knew he had to get the situation under control, and fast. He would turn to each member of his staff, each an expert in his own particular field, and say, "Explain it to me like I was six years old."

What is the message here? The message is that when lives are on the line we have no time for pretense and phoniness. We have no time for "keeping up appearances". The bottom line is survival, not ego. So instead of pretending to understand the fancy "professional" words of an expert in the field, this expert was saying – forget ego, you are the expert, not I. I must understand this here and now so I can make a good decision. I am not going to be a pompous intellectual. I need it explained to me clearly and simply- the way you would explain it to a simple child.

He was saying - it does not matter how I appear at the end of the crises, my image is of no consequence at all! All that matters are the lives that are at stake. So I don't care if I come across looking like a simple child.

In fact, chilren are innocence; they say it like it is. They do not worry about what impression they are making.

In the quote at the top of the blog Winnie the Pooh, a "real" fictional character, is not afraid to admit that he does not understand or appreciate fancy dialogue. He finds it more fun to be with someone who is direct and to the point. "What about lunch?" is as direct as you can get, there is no ambiguity and no chance of misunderstanding. Winnie has no time or patience for people are trying to make an impression.

The question is - do we want to be real or do we want to be full of hot air? Do we want to be ourselves or pretend to be something which we are not? It is not much fun always trying to be someone else and it is not much fun being around such people.

There is one potential downside to this approach – you might not impress some people. One of the visiting Tour and Train students was driving with one of my veteran black belts. The visiting student said, "I like the way Moshe teaches, it is simple and easy to learn, but his knowledge seems to be limited to simple Krav Maga techniques."

The local student, who had been training with me for many years, responded with surprise and said, "Do you realize that Moshe has high level black belts in many styles!? Don't you realize that what he has done; He has taken his many years of training and distilled it down to a simple method of self-defense that you can learn and use in a short amount of time?" Yes, sometimes it is difficult to impress some people with simplicity. However, impressing people is not our goal. Yet it is gratifying to see that those who know the most are in fact quite impressed with simplicity. High ranking black belts, veteran police officers and combat soldiers are those who take most quickly to our IKI method of Krav Maga. Having spent many years training and having been in life and death situations – they immediately see the advantage of the simple approach to training.

Soldiers and police have very little time for hand-to-hand training. Anything but the simplest techniques are a waste of time and resources. We must constantly refine our techniques; distill them down to the most basic movements, and save lives.

King Solomon said, "There is nothing new under the sun", and indeed 2,000 years ago the Chinese philosopher wrote:

"In the pursuit of knowledge, something is added every day. In the pursuit of enlightenment, something is dropped every day." (Lao- tzu)