First Impression
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

June 30, Los Angeles, California, USA

I like California. People say that LA is superficial but I don't find that to be the case. Believe it or not I find the people here easy going, sincere and honest. And no, I am not a fool.

People are relaxed and not trying to make an impression. Of course this is not true of everyone. But overall, after having lived here and having visited yearly for many years I can say that I find that people are what they are, truly genuine, they are not trying to make an impression.

They dress as they want, talk as they want, relaxed, causal. They have their own style, their own way, but I find it sincere.

Yes, California is laid back, there is that certain energy, I feel it every time I am here. Just be you, be real.

Walking into a store and being greeted like a long lost best friend at first seemed fake, but not anymore. Once I learned to trust people a little bit more I find that they are just good people. Yes, there is something unique here about the culture, the friendly person at the store might actually just be a good person, and that friendly help is sincere, not just a sales pitch.

The positive energy is contagious. The good feeling makes it a real pleasure to come back here.

Bruce Lee said something very similar. "Freedom discovers the man the moment he losses concern over the impression he is making or about to make"

Showing off is the fool's idea of glory (Bruce Lee)

So I find that here in California people are less about trying to impress anyone. Like the Dude in The Big Lebowski, they are who they are, and that is all they are. People are pretty open, natural, easy.

And of course this fits in perfectly with the IKI Krav Maga way of thinking, which is totally at odds with other styles of Krav Maga. We start off from a completely different point and we end up at different points.

We are not at all about making an impression. We are not into the Tough Guy Bad Ass image that the others work so hard to cultivate. In fact almost no one thinks I am a Krav Maga instructor.

When people meet me they assume I must be doing something else for a living; I am not big, no tattoos or huge muscles, no "tough talk". I am a quiet mild mannered regular guy.

And so are most of you.

Universal Studios City Walk, LA, California, but there is more to LA than flash and celebs, there are real people here.

At IKI we are not about making an impression. We have matured past that, we are beyond that. We are free of that hang-up.

I personally have no need to impress anyone.

I impressed my teacher Itay Gil enough to be the only person ever to be awarded a 4th dan black belt by him. I have impressed the world martial arts community enough to be awarded a 6th dan black belt and numerous international awards. I have impressed myself enough not to have to make any impression on you.

All I care about now, is you, the student. For too many Krav Maga schools the goal is to impress: The teacher wants to totally impress his students so that they will worship him. The student wants to impress the teacher and win his blessing and approval. But what does any of this amount to?

When God forbid a deranged ex boyfriend or girlfriend walks into your house with a gun and points it at you, point blank range, what does your dojo image matter??

Side note: When we train we get questions from beginners who lack real life experience, who simply do not understand reality. Why, they ask, would anyone get so close to you with the gun? It makes no sense!

I always answer that we are not dealing with professional killers but with an angry person, they want to intimidate, so they get up close. And that is what happened to the dear relatives of one of our new members, back in December. Tragic. So we train for this, we do not train to impress anyone. I don't care what anyone thinks.

I know our Krav Maga is real, pure, authentic and honest. It is based on instinct, natural reactions and gross motor moves. It is not designed to make any impression on anyone, it is designed for your survival and nothing else. 

Impress your family by staying alive and coming home safe.

Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it. (Bruce Lee)

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