Control and Lack of Control
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

December 21, 2014

I was the victim of a home break in. Two cowardly individuals, (based on police guess) broke into my home when I was out praying and visiting family and friends and ran off with a great deal of valuables.

It has been a very difficult time for me.

From the very first moment I accepted the fact and tried to deal with it the best I could. No use crying over spilled milk; we cannot change the past, we can only learn for the future.

I have tried to apply the lessons learned to our Krav Maga training, to make us all better instructors and to help prepare our students for the reality of a violent world.

Yes, it is a wonderful world but every 15 seconds in the USA alone there is a break in. Probably similar around the world. We must be prepared for every form of violence.

In my studies about crime, violence and home invasions I came across some simple facts:

Successful defense is rarely the product of great athletic ability.

Successful defense is rarely the product of great martial arts expertise attained over decades of training. But there is one element that is common among those who survived these types of situations. As one woman said "What made the difference is that I think of things ahead of time."

This woman survived what could have been a very violent encounter. She knew how to act. But how?

She had never taken any courses of any types relating to home invasions. What she did is she imagined this before it happened, as she said she simply "thought about it".

Simply by thinking about it she became better prepared than most people. That is all it took. She reacted calmly. She thought about her options, she did not panic. She was mentally prepared for such a situation and that made all the difference.

And that, my friends, is a key issue: most of us never "think about it ahead of time". As such we are caught totally by surprise.

Looking back I know see things I should have noticed. I should have noticed that there was a wild tree growing near my house. This allowed the criminals to climb up and get over a very steep incline.  I would take a photo for you but they stole my phone.

Colby Taylor, training in Israel, Tour and Train June 2014

I am so fortunate to be blessed by great friends, our IKI family. Your words of comfort and encouragement mean a great deal to me.

I want to address an important issue raised by IKI Black Belt instructor Colby Taylor from Michigan, USA.

He wrote, "... I have been very inspired by your attitude in the midst of it all.  It would be very easy to have your mood dominated by fear or anger or something else negative but you've chosen to use it as a learning experience.  Thank you for setting an example of maturity and character.       
      There are really very few things in this world that we actually have control over the exception would be our attitude.  Strange how the one thing that we do actually have control over is sometimes the hardest to control.  Thanks for setting an example for us all, how to control the one thing that you can

Colby is correct, and I had not focused on this.

To be honest, I am a bit of a control freak. Amazingly I had not noticed this at all until my friend Myron pointed this out to me. I was working at the warehouse, both Esther and I took a job loading trucks and doing other jobs around the warehouse, packing, organizing, lifting, moving. Good money for hard work, the way it should be.

Loading and unloading trucks is an art, more than it may seem at first. Having a masters degree in business and economics did not help me, but Myron and his son. "Too Tall Jones" as I call him (actually Ariel), showed us the way.

One day while enjoying our break, sipping cheap coffee and eating stale biscuits, Myron turns me and says, "Moshe you know you are a control freak."

No, I had not known that. But thanks for pointing it out.

I just thought I was normal, average, this is how things are done. Over the years I pondered his words and realized the truth in them. Of course in a positive way.

I always sit in the aisle seat on the plane, I can't bear the thought of someone controlling me, of stopping me from getting up whenever I want.

I need to know the exact dollar shekel exchange rate, I need to have my entire Krav Maga tour arranged with every detail in place months in advance. I need to know all the plans in advance. I am not one for surprises. I guess being a Krav Maga instructor is also a form of taking control over my life; no one will push me around and no one will take what is mine.

That is what makes this entire situation that much more difficult. I cannot get my hands on the criminals. There is nothing more I can do beyond what I have done, only prepare better for the future.

But what Colby wrote is correct, I am in control! and we are always in control of what matters most. We are in control of our minds, our own attitudes.

We cannot control world events. We cannot control the behavior of others. The Communists tried that but ultimately it does not work. We only have limited ability to control what happens around us but we can control the way we respond and our inner attitude.

As Colby wrote it is indeed strange. We want to control outside factors but we cannot, and yet we can control our own attitudes but we let this go.

It is our own attitude that will save us.

I was violated.

I was robbed.

Criminals stepped on my personal bed with their muddy boots.

They stole money from seminars that took months to organize. I traveled all the way to China and Australia to earn that money but these bastards just took it. How low they are!

But my attitude is they have taken nothing of real value. They remain criminals and my main asset, my mind, my skills, they cannot touch. What is truly mine they can never even touch.

Cowardly bastards.

I will have more seminars, I will make the money back and I will make my home as secure as possible and reach conclusions how to proceed. But all the experts agree that no home is 100% safe from criminals. They all say...If someone wants to get in, there is no way to stop them.

Of course we must do our best.

One of the worst aspects of being a victim is the feeling of violation, of no longer being in control. But we are in control. We are in control of our minds, our attitudes, our responses and that is the key.

We must not have a victim mindset. We must take control of our lives by having the correct attitude, by preparing the best we can for the troubles that may come our way. We must protect our homes in any way we can, and we must train in Krav Maga to protect ourselves.

Never Give Up

Every nation has had its ups and downs. All great empires have fallen. Where is the Roman Empire, The Egyptians, The Byzantines, The Persian Empire, The Arab empires. What is left of the British Empire, on which the "sun never set"?

Where is Genghis Khan and the Mongolian Empire?  The Nazi empire, the Soviet Union?

The lesson is that your home may be your castle but every castle has fallen at one point or another. The question is will you survive, and this depends largely on your attitude.

I have been victimized but I am not a victim. Those cowardly bastards cannot hurt me. I have my skills which took me decades to develop. No one can rob me of those.

Jerusalem has been in 52 battles and has changed hands 44 times but today it is ours. We are a people that does not give up.

You can knock me down but I stand up stronger and better prepared then before, so give me your best shot, I am ready.

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.