August 13, 2019, Johannesburg, South Africa
Krav Maga is about survival. As such we are constantly reevaluating everything and testing it around the world. Sadly many of our students have also had the opportunity to test these techniques in real life violent encounters. Fortunately the results have been very successful.
When I travel and conduct seminars all over the world I often see some of the students using or teaching outdated techniques. These are techniques that we once used but have now abandoned. In some cases we have simply improved and updated them while in other cases we have abandoned them completely.
But what about the old techniques? Was learning them a total waste of time? must the student/instructor now delete or erase them from his memory?
The answer is no. But it is a Talmudic no.
In the Talmud questions are raised and heated discussions follow. These discussions began over 2,000 years ago, are recorded in the Talmud which was composed between the years 0 and 500, and continue to this very day. As we speak there are two students, some place, in some rabbinic academy, debating and discussing some Biblical passage or the words of an ancient rabbi. The discussion never ends.
Our rabbis teach us that every opinion has value, as long as it is based on knowledge. As such all the opinions and all the discussions are recorded. As a young boy I was learning the words of rabbis from 2,000 years ago, even if the law did not follow their point of view.
I asked why: Why must we spend time learning opinions that were rejected 2,000 years ago?
The answer is profound; no opinion is ever totally rejected, for there may be a time, a place, a circumstance where this "rejected" opinion is actually more relevant. There many be a place where only this solution will work. There may be a time in the future where this idea will be relevant for a future discussion. Thus a rabbis opinion from second century Jerusalem or Babylon may suddenly find life in 2019 Brooklyn.
No opinion is ever totally abandoned. It is there in the process. The abandoned idea is contained within the current solution, it is part of the process that led to the current idea. You might say that this old opinion is "absorbed" into the current law.
We grow from the discussion, so even if one mans' opinion is not chosen as the one that will become law, his opinion is still part of the process for the "back and forth", the discussion. The heated debates that took place are what lead to the final (current) law or position.
The application to Krav Maga should be obvious by now.
When I teach a technique I explain it in great detail and demonstrate it fast and then slow, and then fast again. Then I ask, Does this makes sense? Now you try it and let me know what you think. We are not moving on to the next technique until everyone is convinced this makes sense, I want your feedback.
Everyone then must learn it, try it and test it for themselves.
Over the years many techniques have changed. Sometimes an instructor will feel that he wasted time on the previous technique but it is not so. That older technique was part of the process. The lessons from that older technique live on in the current technique, which might in turn be replaced in the future. The process that came to create the current technique includes all the trial and error, all the discussions, that preceded it. Without the "Abandoned" techniques the current techniques would not be possible.
IKI Krav Maga uses the Talmudic approach to developing techniques while honoring the process that created them, and honoring all the participants in the discussion.
About the author:
Moshe Katz is an internationally recognized expert in Krav Maga.
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