Five Thousand Dollars Revisited

2009 - 2019

I originally wrote this blog back in 2009 and it is based on an experience from years earlier, let's just say that DVDs were not yet invented. So this goes back some time. 

I have used this story all over the world to inspire and motivate people. Some of those people signed up their entire families for self-defense lessons, some of them are now black belts.

I believe it is a powerful message and I want to present it again, in an edited version. It is a true message. Since I first wrote this our system has evolved greatly, I have traveled the world and reached many thousands of people. Many instructors are now teaching our system and helping people stay safe. The message is as potent today as it was when I "experienced" this back in the 1980's. 

John Lennon wrote his fantasy song "Imagine" and concluded with the words, Perhaps some day you will join us and the world will live as one

Yes, as he said he was a Dreamer, and the world is more violent today than it was when he was gunned down in cold blood on the streets of Manhattan. A man of peace shot down; a musician silenced.

I too am a dreamer and I have a dream that all good people shall live in peace, but it must start with self-defense training. So perhaps someday you will join us, and you will become a Krav Maga instructor, so that others may live in peace. 

Krav Maga, What Price?

The $5,000 dollar Question

$5,000 for a Weekend of Training?

A few years back I saw an advertisement in Black Belt magazine that caught my eye. It was another video set that promised to the best, the deadliest techniques that will instantly transform you into the world's best fighter, defeat any opponent large or small, etc. etc. Now Black Belt Magazine is filled with these; "Underground systems", "Secret methods", "ancient styles" “native warrior” etc. and although they were always tempting, I generally managed to overcome the urge, put back my credit card, and hide my wallet someplace where I could not find it until this urge passed.

But this advertisement got me. It was a six-part video set, not cheap, the highlights from a weekend seminar that cost the participants $5,000 each. "Wow", I thought, "People paid $5,000 to train from Friday morning until Sunday night, this must be good, I certainly cannot afford to be without it, and, there is a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied." I bought it.

My disappointment equaled my anticipation.

I sat through six entire videos, waiting, hoping, praying, to see something that justified my enormous expenditure of time and money, not to mention that of the participants who left $5,000 poorer than when they arrived. But alas, much like the Rolling Stones, "I can't get no satisfaction".

I pondered this question; Why did they pay so much money? (Note: in 2022 my two-day seminars go for $100- $150 and more than 12 years ago these people were paying $5,000). I looked through the written material, as I packed it all up to send back and get my refund, and finally, the answer came to me at last.

I read about the people who participated in this costly seminar. Over 70% of them had either been victims of violent crimes or had a loved one who was a victim. I got it.

Was it just a matter of picking up some useful techniques? No.

Is it that suddenly they realized that self-defense is important for everyone? No. For this people do not pay $5,000, no sir. But there is something for which they will pay not only $5,000 but much more, and this clever businessman, sorry, instructor, tapped into it.

So I got to thinking, what can I do to get some of this easy cash from victims of violent crimes? No, seriously, I got to thinking, what is it that motivates ordinary people to finally get off their butts and train and pay $5,000 for 3 days of mediocre training.  

Here is the answer.

Imagine, God forbid, that your daughter was raped, not just date raped, but violently raped. What will her life be like now? I will tell you: Loss of interest in life, loss of self-esteem, constant therapy (time consuming and costly), years of trauma treatment, perhaps she will fear men, perhaps she will fear intimacy, perhaps she will never marry.

The pain will last for years, you will spend all the money you can to help her. You will drive her from one therapist to another. You will stay up all night listening to her tears but coming up with no good answers.

Now what if I came up to you and I said, "For a certain fee I can turn back the clock. I can make it the day before she was raped." How much money would you offer me?

I will tell you, in a minute.

Another scenario. It is your anniversary. You are out with your wife and children. Walking back to the car from your favorite restaurant you are filled with the joy of life, your wonderful family by your side. But then! an armed hoodlum approaches you. He pulls out a knife and threatens your family. You panic, you don't know what to do or say. You feel you are about to make in your pants. Your children look to their daddy for guidance, but you have nothing to offer but fear. Your wife turns to you but all she sees is a confused little boy. You are anything but her knight in shining armor. You are then robbed and humiliated. You whimper as he takes your wallet, your watch, the wife's jewelry, her wedding ring, (and your dignity); even the children must empty their pockets.

Now what happens tomorrow? I will tell you; you look at your wife and kids and you know they will never look at you the same way. You have failed them, you have failed as a husband, a father, and a man.

Again, I say to you, what would you pay me if I could turn back the clock to the day before that incident? What would you pay me to bring back your dignity, the respect and admiration of your wife and children? Or in the first case, what would you pay me to bring back your sweet innocent, pre-rape, daughter?

What would you pay me!! Answer me!

Now I will tell you.

You will be willing to pay me every last cent you have. Yes, you will. To restore your life, your self-esteem, your manhood, you will pay me whatever I demand, and you won't even put up a fight.

Would you pay $5,000? You would pay 5 million dollars if you had it, yes you would! So, is $5,000 a lot now? It is the bargain of a lifetime. To restore your self-esteem, to restore your honor, you will pay, and you, a top executive who bosses people around all day long will submit to some crude boot camp sergeant who will boss you around all weekend long, and you will do as he says.

Now listen; everyone in this room, everyone whom I am looking at now, has actually been a victim of violent crime. Some of you have been robbed at gun point, some at knife point, some have been raped, others suffered home violent invasions. 

But I have erased all that. I have sprinkled magic snowflake powder on all of you and you have no recollection of any of those events. I have erased it from your memory. It no longer exists. It is as if it never happened. You and your family have no memory of it whatsoever. And now listen - This is your second chance, this is your second opportunity, and you will have not have another opportunity. So now it is time to start training so that these events do not happen again. 

I am not asking for 5 million dollars, I am not asking for $5,000, all I am asking of you if for a commitment, to come to class and train twice a week and pay your fees. 

Make a commitment to train, not later, not tomorrow but today. Tomorrow might be too late. 

Summary: Tomorrow, when you face the violent criminal on the street, or in your home, it will be too late. Today is the time to start training, today is your chance to prevent this violence from occurring. Today you have been given a golden opportunity. Why waste it? Why squander this great opportunity?  

This is not an article for martial arts instructors/Businessmen, on how to make more money, not at all. This is about feeling the pain of others and motivating them to take action. Sadly for most people it will take a violent experience and a long process. 

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