December 13, 2017, Israel
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Sometimes troubled teens are brought to me for "Krav Maga Therapy" as many therapists recognize the value of martial arts in helping people release anger, relax and find themselves. We have seen amazing results over the years.
But others questions this notion, "teach violence to violent kids?", does that make any sense?
In fact why teach violence to anyone, they wonder.
The fact is we live in a violent world. There is no denying this and we must be prepared. Pretending the problem does not exist is not a solution. So people come to martial arts classes, self defense classes, Krav Maga classes and learn to punch and kick. Most of this training is useless and will prove totally ineffective in a real life confrontation.
To succeed one needs a combination of the physical and spiritual. One needs proven simple effective techniques. One needs techniques so simple and intuitive that they can be accessed during the most stressful times. Anything other than this will fail.
I repeat our mantra: all techniques must be
Easy to learn.
Easy to apply in a variety of situations.
Easy to remember.
Otherwise we are wasting our time.
But the physical must be joined by the psychological/spiritual. For without the mind the body is useless. They must work together, we must have a plan.
Some teachers feel that students must develop a violent mindset, they must become "street thugs" in order to deal with street crime. But we do not want to change our personalities, we do not want to become the enemy. We want to remain peaceful happy people.
During the Holocaust the Jews who came from tough backgrounds had an edge. The street toughened Jews fared better than the gentle office workers. The Bielski brothers were familiar with crime and violence and this helped them save over 1,200 helpless Jews.
The question is: Do we need to become the Tough Guy, the Bad Ass? Is that the only way to deal with violence?
My answer is no. We can remain who we are but we must have another personality as well. We must have our "Angry Personality".
This is the personality where we keep our anger, our dark side, our frustration and bitterness. And when we need to we can access that.
Now think about this for a moment. The criminals know their job, they check you out and decide if you are worth attacking. The Arabs even have a manual to teach this and what kind of target to look for.
Now you can get a few scars, become a body builder, get some mean looking tattoos and try to scare them off. But if you do not want to go for that look? That is why I refer to our other personality, our angry personality.
I was asked about this once in Mexico. They said you look like such a nice guy and you are so gentle and you teach with such softness, but we here face violent crime.
I responded that in fact I have real anger issues but I hide them well. I told them that I am a very old man, about 3,800 years old and I have a lot of anger towards those who have harmed my people. I am angry at the Babylonians, The Philistines, the Greek Hellenists, The Romans, The Muslims, the Catholic Church, Martin Luther, the Nazis and most of Europe who assisted them. I am angry at most of the world for the way my people have been treated. But today...for the most part we have become friends. But my historical anger and frustration remain. Just push me, I tell them, just push me a little bit and all this anger which is simmering just under the surface will explode in your face and you feel like you have been hit by a Mack truck. You will be run over so fast you won't know what hit you.
That is my angry personality.
Just touch me and I will think of my great grandparents, and how only 1 of 11 siblings survived the world, the one who came to America. Just touch me and I will think of my paternal grandfather's village between Tarnopol and Lvov where in 1943 the Nazis came and brought the entire Jewish population to the woods and shot them all dead. Just touch me the wrong way and my personality will shift.
Now let's not become confused. We must never allow our anger to control us, we must always control our anger. But anger is just like happiness, it is a form of energy. When we need that angry energy we can turn it on. So we utilize our angry personality to generate the force we need to respond to violence.
Look at it this way; the criminal saw our pleasant soft side and chose us as a soft target. They tried to hurt us and rob us, and then we made a switch, Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hyde and we turned to our Angry Personality.
This is not the personality they expected. Suddenly they are shocked as they meet your other personality, the not nice one. So this switch has a double purpose, it generates the aggressive energy that you need and it shocks the assailant as now he is facing a totally different opponent.
You choose your state of mind. As the Bible teaches
עִם־חָסִ֥יד תִּתְחַסָּ֑ד עִם־גְּבַ֥ר תָּ֝מִ֗ים תִּתַּמָּֽם׃ עִם־נָבָ֥ר תִּתְבָּרָ֑ר וְעִם־עִ֝קֵּ֗שׁ תִּתְפַּתָּֽל
With the pious man you show yourself pious; with the pure man you will be pure; with the loyal you shall be loyal, and with the crooked you shall behave crookedly. (Psalms 18)
With the criminal you will show him that you are a worst criminal than him. And then you return to your happy peaceful self.
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