Fight or Not
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

July 5, 2019, Israel

A timeless lesson. 

I am a strong advocate of self defense. I am a strong advocate of zero tolerance towards bullying, I am a strong advocate of women's rights to self defense, (with an award from the Jerusalem municipality). I am a strong advocate of every one of God's creatures to have a life of dignity. 

But I am not a brute and I know that one need not always match force with force. A wise man knows when to turn away.

A wise man knows whom should be ignored. A wise man knows that sometimes a look, or a word, is all that is necessary.

My relatives who walked proudly in the gas chambers displayed the greatest human dignity. One rabbi turned towards his Nazi persecutor and said, You shall not outlive this war. Your due punishment shall come. That is dignity. 

A young boy I knew was the victim of pranks. His weakness? His classmates knew he could be easily provoked. For a good time, provoke this kid, he has no self control.

The 7 year old boy would be provoked. Soon he would be throwing chairs and knocking over tables. His parents were at a lost. They turned for professional help. A wise consular recommend my karate class and that the boy should take up puzzles. The karate would channel his aggression, the puzzle making would teach him patience.  

In my entire living area there is but one work of art. It is a puzzle. What you cannot see is the back of the puzzle, it is a message of thanks to me, the karate/Krav Maga instructor. The puzzle and the martial arts were this boy's salvation. That puzzle is priceless to me. It symbolizes all that I stand for.

The boy grew up, got married, graduated at the highest level of science. Now he his a family man. At his wedding I was given the greatest honor, to stand by his side as he married his wife. When the wedding ceremony was taking place and I was called up, many were in shock. Who is that? Why isn't the chief rabbi being called up? Who is that man?

The local guests knew the answer. He is the Krav Maga instructor. 

But why was the Krav Maga instructor given this great honor?

I do not teach young people to be brutes. I do not teach - Touch me and your first Krav Maga lesson is free. No, not at all.

I teach the Miyagi way, I teach the way of the holy Torah. I teach wisdom as it has been passed down to me. 

I shall decide when to fight or not to fight. I am in control. I shall not be provoked into a fight that does not serve my purposes. 

I always teach; you enter a restaurant with your girlfriend, perhaps tonight is the night you will propose. A stupid excuse for a human being taunts you, mocks you, calls you a loser and challenges you to a fight. What should you do?

Should you "impress" your girlfriend by "beating the crap out of this guy"?

Well, I would not be impressed with a woman who was impressed by that.

Rather my response would be to say to her, loud and clear: I apologize for bringing you to this restaurant. Clearly this is a low class joint not worthy of your presence. Any place that allows this type of person is not worthy of you. Come, I will take you to a more dignified place with a higher class clientele.  

An insult is only an insult if you accept it, just as a gift is only a gift if you accept it. I chose not to accept any interaction with this sort of sub-human mistake. 

This applies to all matters of interpersonal conflict, physical or verbal. Israel responds strongly to acts of terror, but not to all acts of terror. Each act of terror by our Arab neighbors must be weighed carefully.  Sometimes we ignore them, sometimes we respond with force. Not every act deserves a response. Sometimes letting it go is wiser.

Israel broke international rule by abducting war criminal Adolf Eichmann from his hiding in Argentina and taking to Israel for trial. His trial and conviction were a very important matter and a made a point: Jews will no longer be victims. However, during the next year, many attacks took place against Jews in Argentina. A few Jewish girls were killed, another had a swastika carved into her chest. A threat was uncovered, just in time, that involved killing 100 Jewish school children. Israel decided not to pursue another case like Eichmann, even though other Nazi war criminals were hiding in Argentina. The point was made, now it was wiser to let go. 

The idea of...touch me and I will lose all control and go berserk on you, well, Daniel San, remember balance, not just in karate, in all life.