March 14, 2016, Israel
How often do we tell ourselves that we are incapable of doing certain things, of learning certain things. We place artificial limitations on ourselves and deny ourselves our potential.
We truly believe we are limited.
And yet the evidence is to the contrary. The law of nature is the law of survival. Learn to swim or drown. Need is the mother of invention. When we need to - we are capable of incredible feats. But when we do not need to we can sink into laziness and remarkably limited abilities.
The case of feral children, or children raised by animals, is not only remarkable but can teach us a great deal. It can teach us a great deal about our potential to adjust, adapt and survive, even in the most unusual circumstances.
Stories have been documented of human children who were raised by monkeys. They had become so quick, just like monkeys, that they could catch a rabbit, snatch birds and other prey. For survival, and with the right environment, they were able to develop quickness that is "non human" and animal like. And yet we are convinced that such quickness is beyond our capabilities. These children, assuming the stories are accurate, surpass Olympic athletes in their abilities.
Cases are documented about children raised in the wild who were impervious to the cold. A child living with monkeys grew hair all over his body and could climb trees. Other children developed sharp teeth and claw like finger nails. Many children are documented as having developed a taste for raw meat and blood. When they were returned to civilization they still craved this food.Their digestive system could not readjust to cooked or "human" food. Many died in "captivity".
A boy was found in the Syrian desert with a herd of gazelles. He became know as the "gazelle boy". He had apparently grown up with these gazelles and had learned all their behaviors. He could communicate with them. Understand what the various tapping of the foot meant, how to find food. He eat using only his death, lived on roots and berries and occasional snakes. He ran on all four.
The Syrian "gazelle boy" was clocked at running 50 kilometers per hour.
He habitually twitched his muscles, scalp, nose and ears, much like the rest of the herd, in response to the slightest noise. Even in deepest sleep he seemed constantly alert, raising his head at unusual noises, however faint, and sniffing around him like the gazelles.
This frightened him off altogether, though he reached a speed of 32-34mph, with continuous leaps of about 13ft. Olympic sprinters can reach only 25mph in short bursts. (Jean-Claude Auger, an anthropologist)
We learn from these cases that children mimic the behavior of those around them, regardless if they are human or animal. What does this say about us? What does this say about the role of parents? What does this say about the role of teachers?
I think of this when I look at new Krav Maga students. Many are convinced that they are physically limited but yet I know this is not true. I know it is not true because I have been teaching for thirty years. I have seen the most awkward students become outstanding practitioners and excellent teachers. I know it is true because I have lived through this many times.
Thus I never accept the claim of "I can't do this". I know it is not true, it is simply a psychological limitation. I only need to be patient and to let the student know that while he/she may have doubts, I have none at all. I know what they can do.
Children often do not know their limitations. In the wild they can learn to run and climb and hunt as well as any animal but in "captivity" we teach them limitations.
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