Dishonesty in Training Krav Maga

March 27, 2023, Israel

Dishonesty is something we can rarely afford, but we can sometimes get away with it, for a while. Entire industries are built upon dishonesty and sometimes they can get away with this for an entire generation, selling useless crap to gullible customers. On the other hand, in other industries the Karma is instant and the dishonesty will explode in your face. 

When an Israeli construction company built a faulty bridge over the Yarkon River, the entire Australian team that came to compete in the Israeli Maccabee games, fell into the polluted water. An investigation followed immediately. When an army is using outdated tanks and planes, they can get away with it as long as there is no war, but as soon as war comes it becomes clear that someone has not been doing their job. You can claim your gun is clean but if you actually have to use it for self-defense it will jam. Instant Karma is going to get you. 

Sadly, martial arts and so-called self-defense systems, including many forms of Krav Maga fall into this category as well, rampant dishonesty and self-deception. I see all the time; the instructor fully anticipates the attack, although they claim they do not. Thus, when the attack comes, they are fully prepared and do an outstanding defense. If you watch these videos in slow motion, very carefully, you will notice that in most cases the defender begins to move before the attack actually commences.  They are physically and psychologically prepared for the "attack", and they want to look good and impress the audience, this is natural. 

The truth is it takes a lot of training to be able to be natural in training. It takes a lot of training to be able to train realistically. New students are often tense and totally anticipating and preparing for the attack. This negates the value of the training. In order for training to be realistic we need to simulate reality as much as possible. Our training must mimic the reality we will face, this is the true definition of reality training, not the macho crap you see advertised, i.e. wearing combat fatigues and running around in the mud.

Our training must simulate the situations we will face on the street, or wherever an attack might take place. i.e. We try and we train to be alert, but we cannot anticipate the attack. If in our training we anticipate the attack, our training has no value, and this is true of the vast majority of self-defnese systems. The value of the training is lost because they fail to train realistically. They train for the dojo, they train for a situation where they are fully prepared for the attack. This has nothing to do with reality.

We learn the techniques slowly. and then, when the student is ready, we apply the reality training. This means being aware but not anticipating the attack. Often we will do a fake, i.e. we will not actually attack, and the student will already be moving into the defense, this proves that the students is totally anticipating the attack. This means the student is not ready yet.

To achive this level of training is not easy, it is to achieve a center sense of Zen Awareness. But we must begin by understanding that our goal is to recreate as much as possible the scenario in which an attack takes place. There is an old saying, a woman is most likely to meet the man of her dreams when she is at the laundry, dressed in sweat pants and an old T shirt and her hair in curles, i.e. when she is least expecting it. Likewise the attack will come when we least expect it. 

In the financial field surprise attacks are the norm. I worked in the financial with some of the brightest minds, and yet, when a sudden drop, a "correction", took place, everyone was taken by surprise. That is why all the experts advise on diversifying your investments. No matter how good you think an investment is, don't put all your eggs into one basket, diversify! Why? Because one industry can be suddenly hit, without you knowing it, so you need to have investments in other fields. If you invested in real estate, you should also have money in currencies, in Bonds and in bank deposits. Any industry can suddenly fail. Because the experts know the risks, they understand that being caught by surprise is to be expected. 

We should do the same in Krav Maga. We should realize that fooling ourselves into believing that we will always be ready for the attack, is suicidal. The problem is being that attacks are not so frequent for most people, they will never have that "correction", they will never understand that their training is false and ineffective. The financial expert has seen recessions, he has seen markets take a deep dive, and he is aware of this. Most Krav Maga practitioners have never seen a real attack, thus they are safe in their delusions.

Bottom line: in order for our training to be effective, we must be brutally honest with ourselves. We must be humble. We must allow ourselves to be caught by surprise because that is the only way to simulate and prepare for a real-life violent encounter. 


Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.

Understand the Israeli Fighting Mentality - Israel a Nation of Warriors by Moshe Katz


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