May 15, 2023, Schipol Airport, Amsterdam, the Nethelands (Holland)
There are different kinds of martial arts instructors, Mr. Miyagi represents the kind, patient, wise and understanding instructor. John Kreese represents the trouble, ego driven, Bad Ass wanna be guy, overcoming childhood inadequacies.
God works in mysterious ways.
After a wonderful trip in Holland (Netherlands), I was at the airport on my way home. Actually, most of my trip was in Gelderland. For those that do not know, Holland is only one of 12 provinces in the Netherlands. Holland is the most well known outside of the country and it is how it is usually referred to. But the name of the country is actually Nederlands, or The Netherlands. (The lowlands).
I arrived at the airport early, hoping to spend some time in the Business Lounge before my flight, but alas this was not to be. We were told the Business Lounge associated with El Al Israeli airlines is under construction. Instead, we were given a voucher to be used in one of the local restaurants or cafes. I was not happy, not at all, and neither were the other elite customers. But there was nothing we could do.
Reluctantly I took my voucher and decided to make the most of it. I ordered a cup of coffee and a few other items meant to reach my voucher value of 22 Euro. I was short 80 cents. The Israeli guy waiting on line after me kindly offered to pay the difference. I declined as I searched for change. I found a Euro, paid and got my change, and thanked the young man for his kindness and thoughtfulness. During this brief encounter he asked if I lived in the Netherlands, I said, no, I live in Israel and was in the Netherlands to teach Krav Maga.
I struggled with my tray, my coffee, my hand luggage and lap top bag. Again, the young man offered his help, but again I declined. Ironically, or not Later on the plane I would watch a film recommended by my friends Amy and Harry, called "Otto", and in this film an older gentleman would consistently turn down help from others, from younger well-meaning people. Is this a common trait? I guess we do not want to be seen as people needing help. We will manage on our own, thank you.
Sitting down enjoying my coffee, which was quite good I admit, the same young man came over and sat next to me. He wanted to ask about Krav Maga. He must be in his mid-twenties at most, but he said he was afraid, concerned, can someone like him learn Krav Maga?
Why such a question? I have heard this question so many times, but usually from petite women, or old men, or people with disabilities or handicaps, and my answer has always been that I can and do teach everyone, but it depends on the system. But such a young man! Why the question?
Let us call him "Matt", (He is Israeli, and this is just a similar sounding name to protect his privacy). He explained that he has low self-confidence, does not feel comfortable in groups, and is a little overweight. He wanted my advice.
I told him that it all depends on the instructor, and on the style. Sadly, there are instructors who see their purpose as proving themselves as Bad Ass Tough Guys/Girls. Their ego and image shape the class. Qualities such as kindness, forgiveness, empathy and sympathy, play no role, in fact they are seen as indicating weakness. The original Karate Kid movie perfectly captures this attitude, "There is no weakness in this dojo, there is no mercy in this dojo, etc etc"
I told him, yes, of course he can learn and excel in Krav Maga, IF he has the correct instructor, and the correct system. He told me he attended a class where everyone put on boxing gloves and basically pounded the crap out of each other, each trying to prove "his worth". He did not feel comfortable in this environment.
I told him that this was not real Krav Maga. There was not real self-defense being taught, there was no technique, no understanding. Any Neanderthal can teach such a class. (No disrespect intended towards Neaderthals). I find it so sad that those who truly need Krav Maga self-defense are pushed away by the immature ego of instructors who use Krav Maga as a way of overcoming their own inadequacies and insecurities.
I told Matt that certainly he could learn Krav Maga, absolutely no reason why not. I have taught hundreds of people like him. He only need find the "Miyagi" type teacher and not the "John Kreese" type.
He lives a bit far from me, but I gave him my card and said, "be in touch, let me help you from a distance, you are a good kind soul and I want to help such people".
Yes, now I am happy that the lounge was closed, I am happy that I temporarily was short 80 cents, and that I had trouble balancing my food and luggage. This young man showed me his true kind soul. and he deserves a teacher that is worthy of him.
On the way to my car I boarded the wrong shuttle bus, once again, but realized my mistake and got off. As I was getting off I saw Matt, and I realized that this too was not a coincidence, God sees all. I said, "Matt, keep in touch!" and I drove off in the night heading for home....
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?
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