Defending Self Defense
By Moshe Katz

May 11, 2019, Israel

When a mature man is insulted he often responds with, "I have been called worse things", not only does this help avoid an unnecessary fight but there is a valuable life lesson here; even the insults you receive are an indication of your character. 

One of the worst insults heaved on me (via anonymous people on the internet) is that I am a "nice guy". What they are trying to say is that I do not produce videos where I come across as an out of control violent lunatic, i.e. the classic Krav Maga "Bad Ass".

One of the comments I least enjoy hearing at parties, or when being introduced is, "He is a black belt in multiple styles, don't upset him". I never laugh at this. What this implies is that if you offend me I will break out into an uncontrollable violent rage. 

No, that is not me at all. I am a nice guy who knows how to use violence, as needed, in a controlled manner. I am also mature enough to walk away from a fight. My ego is not that fragile. 

I was once asked by a college student at seminar in Philadelphia how I would deal with a taunt from a criminal. When I replied that I would walk away calmly he challenged me, "But what about your street creds man?"(I.e. your street credibility). I replied that I was not terribly concerned what pimps and drug dealers thought of me. 

What most Krav Maga schools fail to understand, teach and convey is that self defense is not only about getting physical. Not only that but inappropriate use of violence will get you into trouble. The prisons are full of people who claim they acted in self defense. 

There are people serving life sentences for "self defense" because the court did not see it that way. 

I have seen Krav Maga techniques that involve the unrealistic idea of disarming a knife threat (pure fantasy) and using that knife to stab the attacker multiple times. This act of "self defense" can earn you a life sentence in a very unpleasant place. 

I have also seen Krav Maga students showing me how to "finish the guy off". Now while that may be appropriate for dealing with a terrorist, in most such cases, again, you will end up in jail. Even in Israel soldiers have gone to jail for "finishing off" terrorists who were no longer a threat. 

Why? As Arthur Cohen taught me, there is a Force Continuum, how much force you are legally allowed to use in each case. I have seen Krav Maga students who call their style "Military, or IDF Krav Maga" teaching that once you start you must totally destroy your opponent. While that may look cool on YouTube it will feel less cool in court. Now you will have to defend your self defense. Your "Bad Ass" bravado will only make things worse for you in court. 

Of course self preservation comes first and we don't want to stop and read law books while we are being attacked, but we must train sensibly. That is why I don't like the slogan "Touch me and your first lesson is free", for again that implies that I have no self-control whatsoever, you touch me and I will go all Monkey brain, ape all over you. That is not our approach. 

Learn to defend yourself, and learn to defend your self defense. You may have someone to answer to. 

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