MARTIAL ARTS: Education-or-Indoctrination

May 30, 2023, Israel


Teaching in Costa Rica, 2023, practical techniques and concepts that can be applied as needed. 

I have never been content.

If I don't like something, I set out to do it differently. My mother, may she rest in peace, always said, "Don't complain, if you don't like it, do something about it." I have never been one to line up and fit in. Even as a child I was derogatorily called "The Individual". 

But I am not alone. I strongly recommend the book, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" By Robert M. Pirsig (1974)

It has proven to be a classic, but even the story of how the book came about is an indication of its nature, something very different. It's author, Robert Pirsig, received 121 rejections before an editor finally accepted the book for publication—and he did so thinking it would never generate a profit. 

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has become the best-selling philosophy book of all time. Can you imagine that?  So, what is it about? It is about life, the journey, it is about Quality and Truth. The Motorcycle is only a metaphor for things we need to take care of. It is about the search for and how to live meaningfully. 

Are you seeking truth or are you seeking to validate yourself and feed your ego?

Egotism may encourage one to believe misleading information or disbelieve a potentially inconvenient fact. Appropriate recourses include humility, modesty, attentiveness and skepticism. Now apply that to your martial arts training. 

The book is not about martial arts or self-defense, and yet it is. The author does not address the issue of martial arts, directly, but his words, his message are applicable to martial arts. One must fear any system, any society, that strives for uniformity, that deprives people of the right to individual thought, of the God-given right to be different, to march to the beat of your own drum. 

"...institutions such as schools, churches, governments and political organizations of every sort all tended to direct thought for ends other than truth, for the perpetuation of their own functions, and for the control of individuals in the service of these functions."(page 146) We can add dojos, martial arts schools, to this list.

My experience with martial arts schools and systems, spanning several decades, is precisely that, with few exceptions, such as Prof. Arthur Cohen, most seek to perpetuate their own system. Questions or questioning is unheard of, blind obedience is the rule. 

At IKI questions are the norm, we do not move on until everyone not only understands the technique but has tested it for himself. Part of the instructor exam is showing not only How we do it, but Why we do it a certain way, and Why we don't do it another way. Our very process leads to regular change and adaptation. Questions lead to new methods. 

The key is that every technique should be more than one technique but rather a concept that can be applied in many diverse situations. What we may encounter on the street will not match exactly what we have trained in the dojo, the training hall. Life is dynamic. We have to prepare for being unprepared, we have to know how to deal with the unknown, we must learn to thrive in the confusion and chaos of real violence. For this end we need to develop our tools but more so, our selves. We are the weapon. 

"We're living in topsy-turvy times, and I think that what causes the topsy-turvy feeling is inadequacy of old forms of thought to deal with new experiences."(page 163), again, he could have written this about martial arts, self-defense.

I have always been a bit of an outsider. Never enjoyed ceremonies or uniforms. I never fit in. This worried my mother. But this has served me well. In IKI Krav Maga we believe: 

You have to be able to think for yourself. 

Personal development is key, not just learning techniques.

In a real situation you will probably be alone. Learn to rely upon yourself.

In life and in combat you must learn to Adapt, Adjust, Apply. Such is life. 

Learning by wrote will not save your body. You must understand the concepts behind the techniques. You are free to question them. 

In life and in combat No Two Situations are Identical. 

We need to prepare for the unknown, to thrive in Chaos. 

The world does not stand still. Criminals have active and creative minds. As we speak someone is being robbed, as we speak someone's life is being ruined.

Daily we receive inquiries from around the world, questions based on fear, potential attacks or videos of actual crime that took place but was not properly handled and ended badly. This is our task. To learn, to teach, to protect.

Will you join us?


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


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.

Books by Moshe Katz

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