January 3, 2024, Israel
Around the world people are saying Happy New Year, in Israel we are saying that we are still in October. I believe today is the 89th day of the war, so people say it is October 89th, i.e. we are still stuck on October, when the terrible invasion of the Arab forces took place along with the unspeakable horrors that are gradually being revealed.
No, we are not drinking champagne, our soldiers are drinking Turkish coffee deep in Gaza where they are purifying the area from terrorists. We are at war, a very bitter and difficult war, and everyone is worried. We are fighting not only in Gaza but also on the border up north and also in Judea and Samaria. i.e. the local Arabs, many affiliated with Hamas, are fighting here as well. Just the other day two of our security guards were stabbed. We are surrounded by Arabs. Where I live, for example, we are far outnumbered, yes, in our own country there are areas where we are far outnumbered by those who identify with our enemies. Naturally, people are concerned.
Security measures are being increased but we have seen that relying on the government and the military is not enough. We saw how the people were failed by the optimistic childlike, flower childlike, beliefs, or fantasies, of the government and the "intelligence" community. We have to form local militias, as America used to have.
The demand for gun licenses has skyrocketed. Hundreds of thousands of civilians now feel the need to be able to protect themselves and their families. But is this the solution?
I made a comment on social media about the need to train in Krav Maga, and it was pointed out that Krav Maga would be useless in such situations and the only solution is guns.
Let us analyze that intelligently.
On a very simple level, yes, that is true. More than 3,000 heavily armed terrorists invaded southern Israel on a sleepy Saturday morning. The army was asleep in more ways than one, the delusional belief that "Quiet will be answered with Quiet" was replaced with, "While we were sleeping, they were training." We allowed ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security. (When I say "we", I don't include myself and those who think like me, we are not in power, the solutions that people are waking up to now I was advocating more than 45 years ago). So yes, it is true that with a force like that Krav Maga would not be enough, we cannot use hand-to-hand combat against hand grenades, RPGs', machine guys, drones dropping bombs, and a barrage of rockets. But guess what, neither is a pistol with 30 bullets a practical solution, certainly one held in the hands of someone who did a basic course and perhaps once a year shoots 50 bullets against a stationary target in a comfortable range.
And yet, both Krav Maga and a handgun can, and have, played a role. So listen up. In terms of handguns, most people who own handguns will not react fast enough to use them. Without the proper fighting training, or Krav Maga, or counter-terrorism training, most handgun owners freeze, react too slowly, or miss. In many cases they shoot innocent people by accident, in many cases they harm themselves. Many handgun owners are actually a danger to the public safety.
However, in the hands of a trained professional, a handgun can make a difference, as it did on October 7, 2023. Now please note, I said in the hands of a trained professional. Those who were able to use their guns to some effect were either police officers, members of the local First Responders, or counter terror experts. They were not just people who took out a license and passed a one-time quickie course. These were people who had vast experience, combat veterans, people who killed terrorists and buried dear friends. These were not "Sunday drivers" these were hardened warriors.
Even so, the handgun is rather limited in such situations. In one kibbutz a group of men with handguns, together with a few with long weapons, M16s, were able to mount a successful defense against the invading Hamas terrorists. They were aware of the invasion and were prepared. They ambushed the terrorists at the entrance to the village and managed to hold them off, for a while. Those with handguns had to be creative and kept moving around as they were no match for the well-armed terrorists. As one man said, I had a handgun facing a terrorist with an AK 47 assalut rifle, hand grenades, and another guy with an RPG, what could I do? The effective range of a handgun is much less than that of a rifle.
In another well documented case, a top Israeli police officer was specifically targeted by the terror group. They had his address and were coming for him. He knew this. He was armed only with a handgun, but he did have many magazines full of bullets. As an expert he was able to drop a magazine and reload quickly. He moved to room to room, to create the illusion of more than one fighter, went to the balcony, to the roof and eventually neutralized about 14 terrorists. He is truly a hero but clearly, he is not the norm, he is the exception. In the context of a home, he was able to defend himself and his family. He was prepared to die in the process but was not going to be taken hostage. He told his wife that in the event that he could not fight off the terrorists he would kill his family and then himself. This is not your average gun owner.
Now let us address the Krav Maga factor; can Krav Maga make a difference in the event of a terrorist attack, and did it make a difference on October 7, 2023?
First, Krav Maga is not only physical training; it is a warrior mindset, Krav Maga people are not the same as the general public. They learn to look at situations differently, with eyes wide open, seeing danger where others see Pleasant Valley Sunday. Some will say we are a depressing group, but we undertand the that often this is not a "Wonderful World" but a world filled with a great deal of Darkness. Welcome to the Machine, welcome to the Dark Side of the Moon. When I would drive around with Prof. Arthur Cohen of blessed memory, he would point out different locations, and say, "There, look Moshe, under that bridge, a gang rape took place, and there, at the train station...etc".
We see the danger; we prepare for it. We are not caught by surprise as some people are. This mentality makes a difference, this warrior training allows one to respond quicker. Those who responded first and most effectively on October 6 were warriors. Whether it was Krav Maga, or MMA, or police training, they were not caught like a deer in the headlight. They immediately understood the full ramifications of the event and went into action. They grabbed their guns, dressed for combat, and sent out messages to like-minded warriors. They did not wait to be called by the army, they got in their own cars, picked up fellow fighters along the way and without waiting for orders went in and saved people. Sadly, many of these heroes died heroically in the first few hours but they saved many lives.
Krav Maga is also important in terms of an overall view of life. Many woke up after October 7, 2023. A change took place in their way of thinking. For me, that change happened many years ago. I grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust and it never left me. At age 13 the Yom Kippur war broke out as we were once again attacked by our Arab neighbors, a surprise attack. In school we were asked to write a composition as to our views on the causes of the attack. I recall my answer; If the Arabs attacked in order to regain the territories they lost in the 1967 war which they initiated, then why did they attack in 1967 when they had these lands? In 1967 they attacked us in order to regain what they lost in 1948. In 1948 they attacked in order to prevent us from establishing the State of Israel, in 1936 they attacked us, in 1929 they attacked us. Clearly it is not about a piece of land. Clearly something else is bothering our Arab neighbors, and this is us, Jews.
A few years later at the ripe old age of 17, I heard a man express the same idea, but much more so. His name was Rabbi Meir Kahane, may God avenge his death. He spoke to us at the university and like a prophet he outlined everything that would happen unless we changed our attitude. He predicted all the violent events we are experiencing now. He was clear in his thinking and in his words. I paid attention. He encouraged us all to take up martial arts and I soon followed his advice and began training in Shurin ryu Karate, that was my beginning in martial arts. He warned us about what could happen, what would happen, if we were too soft on our enemies, he spoke of "the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv flowing with Jewish blood", he said a generation of Arabs would arise who would not know the humiliating Arab defeats of 1948 and 1967. They would be brazen, they would attack Israeli soldiers, something unheard of at the time.
This mindset, if followed correctly by our leaders, would have prevented the October invasion from ever happening. I will repeat that, when we look at the warrior training, at Krav Maga, at a self-defense way of thinking, the measures to prevent such attacks would have taken place long ago. This is another factor Krav Maga plays in a defense against such events as October 7.
Krav Maga plays another factor. Viewing the videos of hostages taken during the unfortunate "Rave" (Psychedelic trance party) we see that there were many instances in which Krav Maga would have made a difference. In our Krav Maga Online program we have already sent out some of these situations. Allow me to explain this; at the party there was mass confusion. The terrorists were firing, the partygoers were running in all directions. Some, with military training, actually picked up the weapons of those security guards who were killed in combat and continued fighting. These guys fought back and killed terrorists and saved a few lives. What I am saying is that small individual actions can make a difference. It would not change the overall picture, but it could save a few lives. There were thousands of people at the party.
Let us examine this without being judgmental. There were reportedly more than 3,500 people at the party. They were between the ages of 20 to 40, i.e. young and fit (they were dancing all night, they must be fit). We speak of going like sheep to the slaughter, but what happened here? The partygoers clearly outnumber the attackers (about 50 terrorists). True, they were mostly unarmed (poor planning) but the sheer numbers, one would think they could do something. In the photos and videos, we see people being taken hostage and there are possibilities of fighting back and disarming a terrorist, taking his weapon and fighting back. I recall the story about Franceska Mann who attacked a Nazi officer in Auschwitz just before entering the gas chamber, she took his pistol and shot him dead, she succeeded in shooting a few others. Individual actions add up. If more people had this "Krav Maga mentality" the results would have been different. If we can learn anything from those early hours of October 7th it is that individual actions, individual bravery and initiative, overall saved thousands of lives. Yes, the terrorists were armed, but it was 3,500 vs. 50, and they did have some armed security guards.
Krav Maga is about the fighting mentality and about unarmed vs armed attackers. No doubt panic set in, no doubt that odds were bad, but to say that Krav Maga would play no factor, is incorrect. We have seen cases where unarmed defenders made a difference, took weapons from assailants and used them. No doubt it is risky but running away has its consequences. When we think of the brutal gang rapes that took place in at least 7 different locations, when we think of the humiliation and degradation, we must understand that this is unacceptable. Like the police officer with the handgun, I believe it would be better to die fighting and then to be treated this way. Yes, I believe Krav Maga makes a difference.
The "successful" attack of October 7 has encouraged Arabs throughout Israel to take up the cause and attack Jews wherever possible. Many of these attacks have taken the form of stabbings. Just the other day two security guards in our own town were stabbed. No one is safe. Defense against knife attacks is one of the specialties of Krav Maga. While there no guarantees in life this training can make a difference. That difference might be your life.
To summarize how I believe Krav Maga training can make a difference is such horrific circumstances.
Warrior Mindset - Krav Maga training provides a warrior way of thinking. Those with this training responded quickly, understood the situation and took action that saved lives.
Politically correct outlook - The wishful thinking that lead to this situation could have and should have been avoided. Know thine enemy. When you face an enemy, remember, he is not your friend.
Individual Actions add up - While one handgun cannot stop an invading army, and one trained martial artist cannot stop an army, trained individuals taking action does add up to significant resistance. The USA eventually gave up on Vietnam, the fighters in Gaza are counting on wearing down the IDF with such Guerrilla tactics.
Defense vs Armed Attackers/Active Shooters - We train to defend against active shooters, armed attackers who enter an area with unarmed people.
Knife Defense - We train to defend against all types of knife attacks.
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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