Aggression or Technique

July 18, 2023, Israel

There are many well-meaning instructors who believe they have unlocked the secret to effective self-defense. There is a great deal of disagreement in this field, and the stakes are high. I have seen instructors, self-styled instructors, who believe that aggression is the key to self-defense. I could not disagree more. I think this comes from simply not having enough training, a lack of education. The belief that aggression can overcome everything is like the belief that Love conquers all. 

Let us take a couple of examples.

Interrogations: I have followed countless interrogations. The interrogators do not just walk in aggressively and accuse the suspect of murder, they use their skills, they use tack, and at the appropriate moment they can become aggressive and pressure the suspect. This takes skill, training, tact and appropriate timing. Self-defense is the same. 

This is also true in combat. The Zulu warriors were tough, and brave, there is no doubt about that. However, in the war with the Dutch Voortrekkers all their aggressiveness and toughness amounted to nothing as the Dutch had the greater skill. This culminated in the Battle of Blood River of 1838. Less than 500 Dutch defeated between 10 and 15 thousands Zulu warriors, the river became like blood, thus the name.

You cannot just charge in like a bull in a China shop. The same is true for self-defense. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. 

The idea that aggression can compensate for a lack of technique, or that the more aggressive person will overcome the technical expertise of the other, is not founded on reality. I have seen this and experienced it myself. Being big and bad and strong is not a guarantee of success in a fight or in a self-defense situation. In fact, the entire history of Israel is just another example of this. We are the little guy, outnumbered more than a hundred to one, and yet, thankfully, we have won every war and every encounter, superior technique. 

One does not just charge into the enemy, that leads to a slaughter, one needs to plan, to think. It is the same with personal self-defense. If a guy pulls out a knife or a gun, we don't just move in aggressively, we need to have a technique, a plan that we have practiced. If we just charge in we will get shot, or sliced up. Sometimes people say, it is not the style or the system, but the man. I strongly disagree.  

Does the school you attend make a difference in terms of your future? Of course. You may be very bright, but you need to attend a good school with respected teachers. 

Love does not conquer all, and aggression is not the answer to self defense, training is. 


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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