A Tale of Two People

January 9, 2023, Israel


Regular girls training in Krav Maga in Israel, not super athletes, not fitness models, just girls who want to be safe. Is your system good for them?

I was discussing Krav Maga with another instructor. He told me of an instructor whom he used to work with, someone I am well aware of. I will not say what I know. This colleague/student told me what this individual charges for training, I was flabbergasted to hear of his fees. Not double, or even triple what I charge, but several times more. I decided to research the guy and see what he was all about. I do not want to criticize, and I will not expose the individual's name, it is not relevant for our purposes here, I will make my point. 

This individual is a fine instructor, well-spoken, articulate, he does a fine presentation. He could be a success in any field that involves making presentations, or sales. He has leadership abilities, and he knows how to take charge of an audience. In terms of his Krav Maga techniques, I don't care for them, mostly old-style, nothing terribly innovative, very different from what I teach. He is a very big man, large and muscular, spends a lot of time lifting weights. I imagine he was probably always big for his age, and his techniques might, perhaps, maybe, work for him. He is certainly a warrior, and he has a warrior mindset, but no, his techniques will certainly not work for others, others who do not possess his physique, his warrior background and his massive physical strength and many years of training. Of this, I am certain. 

And now another individual. 

Last night we had a wonderful class. Among our students were several young women, ages 17- 20. One of them is leaving us, returning to her birthplace where hopefully she will continue her training. These young women are a bit unusual; they are all Orthodox religious Jewish women. These types of girls, or young women, rarely participate activities such as Krav Maga. As such, these girls are the exception rather than the rule. One of them will soon be teaching young girls who are "the rule", i.e. not terribly interested in training, not tough, not strong. 

Often, we see highly skilled women who train in martial arts, and we think; you see women can defend themselves. But we are making a mistake. These are the few, the elite, the fitness fanatics and those naturally inclined towards athletics, but Krav Maga is for everyone. 

A tale of two individuals, one a man, big and strong, a warrior, a military veteran. The other, a woman, small and petite. A tale of two cities; of two worlds. But we are supposed to believe that the system that works for this big guy will also be appropriate for these young women? for high school girls?

I watch his techniques, I watch as he explains and demonstrates how to control the arm of a knife attacker and I think of the women who were stabbed by terrorists here in Israel, and I shake my head, no sir, I am sorry, but you are wrong. Perhaps your big muscles have prevented you from seeing things from the perspective of a smaller individual, but you are wrong. I don't know many (any) young females, or old, who can pull off this stunt. 

Life is not easy; self-defense is not easy. Dealing with terrorists who are intent on killing you, or drunken jerks at pubs with knives, is not easy. We all are trying to find solutions, but those solutions must be ones that the average person can pull off under the extreme stress of a sudden violent encounter. We are not only dealing with gifted muscular athletes. I look at two individuals, so very different in every way possible, and I say we must put ourselves in the shoes of the intended victim, we must approach these techniques with a realistic view of what a high school can handle. That is our task. 


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Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.

Understand the Israeli Fighting Mentality - Israel a Nation of Warriors by Moshe Katz


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