Fitting the Krav Maga Image
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

September 3, 2014, Chicago

Sitting at the airport, flight delayed, again, the mind wanders.

On my way to Springfield to teach a seminar at what was the very first chapter of IKI I think about the changes that have taken place in the Krav Maga world over the years. Krav Maga has become more popular but that has been a mixed blessing. We have certainly experienced The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

If a martial art only experiences the "good", it will never truly grow into an effective system of self-defense. We can call the "good" that aspect which every martial arts business owner wants to see, the beautiful commercial dojo, the exciting tournaments, belt promotions, trophies lining the walls of the dojo along with a few newspaper clippings. Cash flow is good, everyone is happy and content and there is no reason to change a blessed thing.

For a system to grow it must also experience the "bad"; the defeats, the setbacks, students being beaten not only in tournaments but on the streets. One of my instructors was teaching the traditional way for years, until one of his female students was murdered - it caused a complete change in his approach. He became an innovator and a martial arts crusader for change.

All the "bad" stuff, the violence, the hatred, the pain is what pushes us to improve our way of fighting, to hone our self-defense skills. This is what makes Israel such a fierce fighter.

But there is also the "ugly". The ugly is the betrayal that makes you appreciate honesty and integrity, the ugly is being stabbed in the back by people who trusted. The ugly is the jealousy that makes you truly understand the falsehood and emptiness of pride. All these are challenges that make you stand up for your truly believe in. The martial art is a reflection of these challenges.

All the truly great warriors I have met are also truly humble. How did they achieve this? Simply by living and observing life. The more you experience life the more you see that there is no room for ego in our lives or in our martial arts. Life humbles us all.

True heroes have experience fear and pain and have learned that you cannot overcome it but you can learn to adjust to it. Life is stronger than all of us and is the greatest teacher, if we are willing to open our eyes.

Moshe Katz with two legendary warriors. Warriors do not always fit the image that Hollywood and the Madison Ave create for them. True Warriors come in all shapes and forms.

I just concluded a series of seminars on the east coast of the USA. My students included the toughest of the tough, real life heroes; men and women who serve in the top undercover police units, the most dangerous prisons and the worst neighborhoods. Protecting US vessels aboard or US citizens right here they have experience the reality of fear and danger.

I teach in a soft way. I do not yell, and I make every effort to never hurt a student. I do not feel the need at this stage of my life to impress anyone with my toughness, my skills and my students' accomplishments speak for themselves.

Sitting here, mind wandering as I wonder when I will reach my next destination, my thoughts turn to some of negative changes in the Krav Maga world. It seems everyday there is a new "bad ass tough guy" on the scene ready to try and take our place, the veteran proven instructors. Big muscles will never defeat great minds. The world has proven that. The gladiators have been long since replace by the Iron Dome and smart bombs. Intelligence is key.

When I was coming up the ranks I personally never turned down a fight and I participated in every type of fight there was. I have the scars, the aches and the pains to prove it. And sometimes I think; why be different? why not fit the Krav image created in America and Europe today, wear camouflage pants and beat up a few students?

I remember my karate instructor, Saiko Shihan Shigeru Oyama, saying "There is the easy way and there is the correct way". Fitting in is easy but it is not correct. I am different but not for the sake of being different but for the sake of being true, authentic and real.

I will always strive for truth, for the reality of self-defense and survival, I do not care if I fit in or what others may think or say of me. In the long run none of the matters. What matters to me is the countless testimonials from students from all over the world, in all lines of work, of how IKI Krav Maga techniques have saved their lives.

Single moms, police officers, bouncers, commandos and kids have written to me describing how IKI techniques and concepts worked in the moment of truth and how our training prepared them for the reality of a violent encounter. I imagine that for each person that tells me their personal story there are dozens who keep it to themselves, does not matter. All that matters is that we are making a difference, that we are helping create a change in the way people think, that we are teaching people that they do not need to be a victim.

If you are ready to change your attitude, we are ready to train you.

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