Angles of Surprise

November 12, 2023, Israel


Knife Attack, Old City of Jerusalem, difficult angle to defend against. 


Terrorist, knife attack, Israel, the angle is not an easy one. (It is narrower than the classic knife attack, not as easy as it might look to some people)

Speak to a man at 18, speak to the same man at 40. Plans, dreams, expectations, experiences, things change. 

When I first started training in martial arts, knife attacks were not addressed, not in Karate (various styles that I studied), not Judo, not Jujitsu. And then in Krav Maga they were finally addressed but honestly, looking back, it was not realistic at all. We all knew what was coming, we all knew the "correct" attack to anticipate, the correct angle and trajectory. Everyone played their part. 

and everybody knew their part.
From a feint into a slip and a kicking from the hip
Everybody was Kung Fu fighting (huh!)

In life, things come at you from unpredictable angles. Angles of surprise.

I am 14 years old, standing at the foot of the staircase to the 3rd floor of our home in Merrick, NY. I am talking with my dad, may he rest in peace. "Dad, where will we be five years from now?", Dad answered, "Son, I don't know where we will be tomorrow."

within a few months we were living in Florida, in a totally new environment. Life, Angles of Surprise. My dad taught me words of wisdom. Life will hit you from unpredictable angles. You cannot have a pre-planned response; you must become the response. 

October 7, 2023, Moshe Ohayon and his son Aviad hear shooting in the town of Ofakim, southern Israel. They grab weapons, they engage the terrorists, they prevent them from entering the home of their neighbors. Shots are exchanged on the streets, the same streets that just a day before families went strolling, people walked to and from the synagogue as it was the Sabbath. But today this pleasant quiet street is a battleground. Father and son fight side by side until the last bullet...

The wife lost a husband and a son on the same day. The other children lost a beloved and admired older brother and a father that was known and respected throughout the community. Angles of Surprise. Unpredictable angles.

When I first learned defense vs a knife attack, it was so simple, so predictable, so logical, responsible, When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful. But then they send me away to teach me how to be sensible...Life, Angles of Surprise.

I look at real knife attacks and I realize that most of what I have learned did not prepare me. I teach on military bases, and I see that the soldiers, while very adept at using weapons are not only ill-prepared to defend against a knife but most don't even seem to realize how real the danger is. 

I have changed our approach to defense vs a knife. We have taken into account the Angles of Surprise, the unpredictable angles. It is not simple, but we simplify our defense to make it more practical. Thank God the results have been well, and the soldiers we have worked with have seen the light. The commanders have adopted our methods.

When all hell breaks loose it is those who have devoted serious time to training that will prevail. On that fateful Black Sabbath, October 7, when the army was nowhere to be found, it was individuals who were highly trained, some of them martial artists and champion fighters, who prevented a much worse catastrophe. As Bruce Lee said, "Train your tools and they will respond at the right moment". 

We need to take our training very seriously. We must cover actual cases of knife attacks. We must use realistic weapons; we must speak to those that survived such attacks. As they say in the IDF, Tough in training, easy in combat. i.e. the better you train the easier the fight will be. As we speak our forces are fighting on three fronts, may God be with them. 


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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