Do Not Panic
By Moshe katz
Israeli Krav international

March 21, 2020, Maaleh Adumim, Israel

Israel's national airport, photo taken by our student Mike on his way home after participating in our Five Day Training Camp.

Some time ago, with fellow students and instructor Itay Gil. 

We are going through challenging times. Many are in home quarantine, many business are shut down, travel plans cancelled, Krav Maga seminars postponed. My friend has a shirt factory, sales are down 80%, people are not in the mood to buy new things, the economy slows down. Even my blogs, which I post for free, have seen a decline. Seems all people want to do is focus on the Chinese Coronavirus stats, like a new national sport. People are offering home remedies, strategies to avoid getting sick, arguing over how serious the threat is,  etc. 

I am taking the attitude of - Take all necessary precautions but don't panic. Some feel I am taking a "light" approach. I am not. I believe I have chosen a wise path. 

Since this began I have advised my dear mother not to leave the house. I take care of all her needs and keep all others at a safe distance. She is in the high risk category. I take precautions for her sake. She is totally calm and enjoying the quiet and the lack of pressure; no need to rush anywhere. 

It is not easy to see months of hard work go down the drain, it is not easy seeing one's income practically disappear. I feel the main thing we can do, besides taking all the recommended precautions, washing our hands, avoiding unnecessary travel, eating healthy, building up our immune system etc is to stay calm. And yet, it seems panic has taken over the world. Panic is a deadly killer.

People who want to avoid physical contact are rushing to stores and buying out supplies, seemingly not the least bit concerned with the crowds. People are posting videos warning of thousands of deaths to come, yet they continue smoking, driving, and eating poorly, which we know to be the leading causes of death. And I remember one of the first lessons I learned from my teacher, Itay Gil: Don't panic!

Itay served as a medic in the front lines, he saw his share of combat, injury and death, and he learned, not to panic. I recall my early days of training with him, we trained hard, lots of full force contact, and lots of injuries. We joked that our school was located next to the emergency hospital and we received a group discount as frequent visitors. I noticed something about Itay; whenever there was an injury he used the same words...Lo Kara shum davar, Hebrew for...Nothing has happened. He minimized the injury. Was he taking it lightly?

It made me wonder. I saw different types of injuries, some very minor, others more serious, and always the same response...nothing happened, nothing to be concerned about. I wondered what it would take for Itay to take an injury seriously. Turns out he indeed took every injury seriously but he made sure to downplay it as he treated it. I later understood the logic: it was Israeli military logic. 

The point is that a person who suffers an injury might naturally go into panic, and panic is bad!!  Panic is very bad for the human mind and body. and Panic spreads and causes more panic, and anxiety. When people are panicking they cannot act rationally, they cannot handle problems correctly. When the body is in panic it is more dangerous for the patient, when the mind is in panic one cannot think clearly. Often a person who is panicking cannot be helped. They need to be calmed down. I have seen this done often, sometimes medications were needed. I worked in a high risk school for special needs children. 

Itay was displaying, and showing by example, military combat discipline, the caretaker must never show panic, even if he is afraid. The healer must remain calm, even under combat conditions. Panic helps no one. 

These days I find that that is an important lesson to remember. We take necessary precautions, we consult with the experts and keep things in perspective. Every life is precious and every death is tragic, but we must understand the risks of taking certain actions and the harm in not taking certain actions. In fact we do this every day; nearly every action involves some risk.

We must remain calm and level headed. And...we must learn lessons for the future to prevent the actions that lead to this current virus. 

Having panic attacks is exhausting. This can cause insomnia, sleepiness, and fatigue. Panic attack sufferers often have nightmares as well. Generally, the sleep system is compromised in some way and that can cause a slew of other health problems.

Anxiety causes gastric upset, which can turn into more serious stomach problems if the panic attacks are left without treatment. Ulcers, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, and heartburn are some of the effects chronic anxiety can have on our bodies.

Sometimes panic attacks cause the body to turn pale. What happens is that the blood vessels in the skin move to other necessary parts of the body. The body moves the blood to other organs and muscles (the heart and lungs, for example) needed for flight or fight. The skin is not one of those organs. This causes the skin to become pale. Color will return when the panic attack subsides.

(health guide

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