Ask Questions
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

October 8, 2015, Woodmere, NY, USA

Krav Maga Tour

There are many advantages to the Hi Tech age. One of them is that rather than just remembering things we can actually record them and listen back.

Wouldn't you like to hear Moses Speak? How about hear King David recite his Psalms?

The printing press was considered a great invention and innovation. Instead of having to copy a book by hand now it became possible to print thousands of books. But the digital age has taken a step further. Now you can hear the great master, even years after his death, in his own voice. Amazing.

Personal Interaction

However, it is still not enough. Our wise rabbis understood thousands of years ago that the key is not the written word, nor any recording, but personal interaction. In ancient Hebrew it was called Serving the Master. This was not meant as being demeaning, as "serving" but rather as the privilege of being one of those in the inner circle of the teacher. That is why it is always amazing to meet someone who actually trained with Bruce Lee, or hung out with the Beatles, you learn more from them than from the written or recorded word, you get the personal touch and real insight. 

You have to interact with your teacher. You have to watch him closely, and clarify any doubts. That is the Jewish way of learning. When I was in high school playing football we had a coach who didn't get that. He would shout out the orders, long, short, cut across. I would say, "Excuse me coach, let me see if I got this straight, you want me to run along this line, make a sharp left and then prepare to catch the ball?"

He would look at the other players and say, "What is wrong with this guy,  is he stupid?"

They responded, "Actually no, he is one of the best students in the school, he is just very thorough, he wants to make sure he understands it correctly."

I ask questions, I never assume I got it right the first time, I assume there is more than meets the eye. I clarify the matter until there is no doubt. Other people just give up, or assume it just does not make sense or that the teacher does not know what he is talking about. When I was at Karate College Renzo Gracie referred to me as "The guy from Israel who is always taking notes". He jokingly called out to me during a class, "Hey, give me a copy of your notes, I want to publish another book."

These days with Krav Maga we have the advantage of DVDs and on-line video training, but it is not enough for most people. When I teach my seminars I find that many are making small but significant mistakes. That is why I travel, to be with the students/instructors in person. This is crucial!

One of our top instructors in Florida enlightened me by saying, "I like attending your seminars, not only for the techniques but each time I understand you and the world view a little better." (this is an inaccurate paraphrasing, but it was something along these lines and it deeply impressed me).

Receiving the video clips is great, but often not enough. Having the clips is like reading the required text books in college. You still need the professor to elucidate, elaborate and make sense of it all. Otherwise just buy the book and skip college; be your own teacher.

Sometimes in a short video clip it is difficult to convey the entire meaning behind the technique. It is not the same as "being there". When in doubt it is best to ask, to clarify, before just assuming that this is an ineffective technique. 

Three Options

If the technique does not make sense there are basically three options: either the instructor does not know what he is doing, or the student is missing something, or the student stumbled across something that no one else has noticed.

Today one wise student came up with two excellent questions. We filmed them for our on line training program. Our members will receive these soon. We are always open to exploring new situations. There is hardly a seminar without some great questions and a few new innovations, all of which we film. 

Where else do you see new techniques being developed live?


So we are open to questions, but please, do not take a look at a video clip, and assume "it does not work". Be a little bit humble and assume that perhaps you may have missed something. Perhaps another video clip is on its way with a better angle that will clarify your doubts. 

And remember, you need to ask questions.

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