Sports Self Defense
By Moshe Katz
CEO
Israeli Krav International


August 2, 2015, Durban, South Africa


Sports skills take years to develop. If you wish to be a star baseball player, a competitive player, you will have to train hours a day. You will have to perfect your swing, learn to run after fly balls and dive to catch line drives. 

If you wish to be a star hockey player you will spend hours and hours on the ice and do endless drills. That is the price to be an athlete. It is not for everyone. 

The same is true of sports martial arts. To be a champion MMA fighter or BJJ, wrestler, whatever, it will take serious training. You will have to train to compete against other athletes hell bent on winning. It will take some serious devotion.

My problem is when people try to apply this to real self-defense situations. There is really almost nothing in common between sport martial arts and real self-defense.

The skill-sets that sports martial artists have developed are not relevant for most people. Krav Maga is for "most people", not only for top athletes in the prime of their lives.

Sports martial arts depend upon anticipating attacks, being ready, and being in ideal situations such as on a mat or in ring. None of this has anything to do with a real violent confrontation.

Applying techniques that were perfected in the ring to real-life violent situations is impossible and highly dangerous. All the circumstances are different. Ready is replaced by surprise, prepared is replaced by exhausted, in proper sports attire is replaced by a business suit, young and fit is replaced by any age and any level of fitness. You are not in the gym, you are walking home after a long day of work. The last thing you are ready for is a fight.

And yet I constantly see sports techniques being applied to self-defense. I say the entire starting point is totally different. These are two totally different fields of expertise.

I have trained in both, for decades, and have come to realize that mentally and physically they are totally at odds. The mindset that it takes to succeed in one is irrelevant to the other. They have little in common.

I recall when the great basketball star Michael Jordan tried his hand at baseball, I admire him for this courage. As you may recall he was a total failure. I greatly respect him for not being the Star but being humble and giving it his best shot. He tried something new, and he tried it in front the of the camera with the world watching. Baseball and basketball are different. The ring and the home/street are different.

Please do not get them confused. 

With sports fighting you are watching your opponent, you are observing patters of movement, of attack. You are dancing around the ring and are in a "relationship" with the other fighter, as Bruce Lee would say. You are playing a game and looking for openings. You are mentally prepared, you have agreed to this fight, you knew ahead of time the time and place and opponent. None of this has anything to do with an armed assailant barging into your home in the middle of the night.

Please do not get them confused. 


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Tour and Train 2011, with John Deem who started his training by attending an IKI seminar in Richmond, Va, USA, continued with an intensive Tour and Train program, flew with me to South Africa for another 5 days of 8 hour per day training. Today he completed another 8 consecutive days of 8 to 10 hours per day of training.

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