November 14, 2023, Israel
I have traveled all over Israel teaching IDF soldiers.
We all like being right. We all like being correct. In most cases this is a murky area, in life there is very little black and white, there is a lot of grey. Who is better for president of the United States of America? Which candidate? raise this question and fights will emerge. Everyone will quote statistics, price of gasoline, levels of unemployment, the rate of the dollar, but ultimately no one can really prove anything conclusively. Which martial art is the best?
Which band or movie is the best? (The Beatles, the Big Lebowski)
Often it boils down to - you say Potayto and I say Potahto, you say Tomayto and I say Tomahto....we all have an opinion, let's agree to disagree.
I was told once that there are very few moments as satisfying in life as when you have a hands-down victory in proving that you are right, when you have that Checkmate move and you stare at your own opponent, knowing that they have been beaten. Such an example is when you are driving, (before GPS or Waze) and you say, it is the next exit, but you wife "knows" that it is this exit. You continue driving while she calls you a stubborn mule headed idiot. You reach the next exit, and voila, it is the correct exit! It says clearly "Hackensack, NJ, this exit" only. Ah ha!! You look at your wife and say, "I told you so", and there is nothing she can do but sit there looking miserable, utterly defeated.
Now of course it takes an immature man to gloat in such circumstances. Our goal should simply be to reach our destination, but I am making a point here.
Since before the inception of the modern state of Israel the people have been divided along ideological lines. These divisions did not even originate in Israel. Every major Israeli political movement can trace its origin back to the Jewish communities of Poland. How to respond to the Arab threat is a key issue not only in every election but in everyday life. Marriages between those on the Left and those on the Right, are rare. But that Ah ha moment came, unexpectedly. And it happened in only a few hours. Sadly, it took a major tragedy to bring about this change.
On the morning of October 7, 2023, the Hamas Arab terrorists inflicted unspeakable horrors upon the people of Israel and the many foreigners who were among them. When I say "unspeakable", I mean it literally. The videos of the actual horrors, which were taken by Hamas, are so brutal that they may not be shown to the public. They are only shown to political leaders and journalists. Even soldiers are warned not to watch these. The actions committed were truly grotesque. Those who survived the European Holocaust, say this was worse in its cruelty.
Overnight, nay, not even overnight, it was faster than that. Instantly the Israeli Left disappeared. It was a total collapse. The ideology of the left; land for peace, two state solution, empower the more "moderate" Arab leaders, give them money and improve their standard of living, "answer rockets with Silence, and - quiet will bring quiet." Everything, gone. An ideology collapsed in hours, in many cases in minutes.
Entire organizations changed direction immediately. One organization that was among the leaders of the protest movement, they had called for civil disobedience, they had said they would not show up for military reserve duty, they divided the country, suddenly, total change of direction. The very same day, the very same day! they started raising money to provide the soldiers with everything they need. Soon they were purchasing military equipment for the soldiers, protective vests, helmets.
The bankruptcy of the policy of appeasement was exposed just as it had been in World War Two when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin famously waved a document he had go signed with "Herr Hitler", promising "peace in our times".
It is rare that such moments happen in history. It is one of those "I told you!" moments. Only we are too polite to say it openly. If you watch the Israeli youtube videos these days, they are filled with former left wingers expressing their complete transformation.
All it took was a massacre and the brutal murder of 1,400 innocent people.
And here I want to apply this to Krav Maga. For years I have been crying out like a prophet in the wilderness, the king has no clothes! Those who listened, joined me, and trained in our style of Krav Maga. But many held on to the myth that the IDF - the Israeli army, taught the best Krav Maga. To be honest, many former soldiers used this to their advantage. They used the prestige of the Israeli armed forces to advance their own careers as Krav Maga instructors. They perpetuated the myth that every Israeli was a Krav Maga Rambo.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I have written many blogs on this topic over the years, exposing this marketing myth. I will add the links below. I call them "Military Secrets" and the secret is that there are no secrets.
The fact is that no wars were ever won with Krav Maga, thus the prestige of the Israeli military has nothing whatsoever to do with Krav Maga. It is a false association. Now, the Israeli Krav Maga system is good at using the rifle as a blunt weapon, and they are good at fighting, i.e. punching, kicking, and at developing aggressiveness. but there is nothing unique about this. You can get the same training, or better, at any Thai Boxing or kickboxing club. When it comes to knife attacks, or gun disarms, they are severely lacking. In fact, Israeli soldiers and police being stabbed by Arabs without putting up any serious defense, is the norm. One would have to search long and hard to find any successful defensive attempts. The proof is simply lacking that the training provided by the IDF offers any solution to knife attacks. And yet the myth persists.
And now comes the "I told you so" moment. In the aftermath of the October 7th attack I have volunteered to teach at IDF bases. With my team of instructors, we have encountered the same phenomenon again and again. That is, that the soldiers do not know how to defend themselvs against knife attacks. We have not encountered one soldier who could successfully defend himself.
It is a very sad "I told you so", and we are doing our best to correct this. Our methods have been accepted, adopted and approved by soldiers and commanders. We hope to keep spreading this truth.
Let's drop myths and seek the truth.
Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.
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