September 12, 2023, Delta Airlines flight 242, Boston - Israel
When I was a graduate student at the Bernard Baruch school of Business, I found an interesting situation; each and every professor began his first lesson with an introduction explaining why his course in particular was the most important one we would be taking this semester. Each professor stressed the importance of devoting ourselves to his class.
I wondered, how can each and every course be the most important? surely some are less important than others. Or perhaps each professor was so arrogant that he felt that his course was the most important?
I had counted on working harder on some courses and breezing through others which seemed less serious. But now I was confused, where they all that important? But then it occurred to me, this makes sense, and this is how it should be; each professor is teaching the course and the subject matter that he considers most important. He has devoted his career to the subject that he finds most significant. I would rather have a professor who is passionate about his subject than one who was simply assigned a topic and is teaching it reluctantly, just to fulfil some random requirement.
and now the Krav Maga application.
I have studied many styles over the years. I have challenged everything I have learned. I have tested everything I have learned; as a student, as a practitioner, and as an instructor all over the world. Therefore, just like my professors in graduate school, I teach what I believe in, I teach what I am passionate about. I do not teach what I consider less effective, or less important. My passion comes across in my teachings.
But there is more to it than that. Many styles, many instructors, will boast, my style is the best, all the rest are nonsense, no more than dance moves. This sounds empty, hollow and arrogant. But what if you truly believe that what you are teaching is the best?
Years ago, a student who was also an instructor and a school owner, challenged me. He said, Moshe, I want to ask you a question, but only answer it if you can be totally honest, do you agree to these conditions? I agreed to his terms, not having any idea what he was about to ask. We were sitting in his truck, late at night after a seminar, and he said, "Moshe, do you believe that you are teaching the very best self-defense in the world?"
The question caught me totally by surprise, this was not what I expected, and yet I had agreed to answer totally honestly. I had to answer even though I was embarrassed to say it, yes, I truly and honestly believed that I was teaching the best self-defense in the world. To this he countered, "Then why the hell don't you charge accordingly?"
Now that is another issue for another day, but the point is that I believed then, and believe now, that I am teaching the best self-defense in the world. This does not mean I am the best teacher, or that I am the best martial artist or fighter, of that I am certain that I am not. But to the best of my knowledge, I am teaching the best system of self-defense.
Over the years I have taught in many schools that already had a self-defense system in place. These were not my schools, IKI schools, they had learned another system. As such, it was of course a challenge to show them something different. In all cases, when we took their techniques and mine, and compared them honestly side by side, step by step, they came out convinced that my moves were "the next generation of evolution"(to quote an instructor at a recent seminar in New Orleans, USA). In South Africa a self-defense Krav Maga instructor kept saying..."I need to wrap my head around this, this blows my mind".
I am willing to take my techniques, line them up, side by side, take an honest view at them, and then say, Now you decide for yourself, what do you think is better?
I leave it up to the student, you are intelligent enough to see the difference, understand what is easier, more effective, user friendly. I present the techniques honestly and say - now you try. If a mistake is made, I correct it so that the student can truly test the technique as it was intended, not a broken-down watered-down version that they learned third hand, but the real technique, from the source.
True violence is chaotic and unpredictable, no system offers a perfect defense or a perfect solution to all problems, but we continually strive to improve.
Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.
What is the cultural background of Krav Maga? What makes it unique? What makes the Israeli military so effective? Why are Israeli security systems used all over the world?
What are the Biblical origins of Krav Maga and who was the first Krav Maga instructor?
What weapons and military strategies did our Biblical ancestors use?
How has Krav Maga developed in Israel and what are its goals?
All that and more in this unique book.
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