Focus on What Matters
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

January 5, 2017, Israel

I saw this phrase on some advertisement, I do not recall what they were selling but it makes perfect sense.

Most people waste most of their time.
"Success experts" tell us to focus most of our time on the things that matter most and relegate the rest for our extra time. Imagine you were just informed that a guest is coming over in half an hour and your house is a mess. If you focus on cleaning one tough spot in the kitchen you will not have time for the rest of the house. And odds are your guest will not be in the kitchen. But if you focus your limited time on hanging up those coats that were on the couch, putting away the kids toys that are lying on the living room floor and getting rid of some other objects that are a real eye sore, you will have at least a respectable looking house for the visit.

Successful people focus on what matters most, on what has the most impact. Editing a blog for the fourth time to make sure there are no punctuation marks is important but will have no business impact. On the other hand responding to e mails about seminars and flights must be done in a timely manner or you will lose your main source of income.

Paying your bills so that your business does not shut down or prevent your website from being removed from the web comes before making sure you have your favorite T shirt cleaned for the next class.

Learn to focus on that matters most.

In most martial arts we spend endless hours on drills, forms and movements that may be important but will amount to little. We have to face the facts that most students will not stay with us for very long. Just study the trends of the past 30 - 40 years and see how long most students have stuck it out. Some instructors will view these students as cannon fodder. i.e. It does not matter how long they stay, they pay the bills so that the serious students do not have to carry the entire burden themselves.

But if we are looking to give our students and ourselves the maximum self defense capability in the shortest amount of time we must learn to focus on what matters most.

With us that means working on the basic knife block, again and again until the weakest student in the class, the slowest learner, can use it reasonably effective in a real life situation.

Notice what I said, not perfect, but reasonable, enough to survive a violent attack, God forbid. We have realistic expectations.

So when a new student starts with the "What If" questions we have to tell him politely that they have not earned the right to ask those questions yet. One step at a time. Before you go into the three legged monster who grabs you in the dark, left handed with a gun and a knife, well, first focus on the attacks that are most likely. Focus on what matters most.

When you have more or less "mastered" the basics then you can start exploring the unlikely situations that come up now and then. I still get questions about situations that in over thirty years of training I have never come across, and we do answer them, but only if the person asking has reached a level where it makes sense to answer this without totally confusing them.

The vast majority of attacks are quite simple. They do not involve a nunchuaku or a Chinese Broad sword. Most thugs are not martial arts experts. So we see what is most common and we devote most of our time to that. For the teacher this can be boring. I would much rather work on the various "What If's" but the class is not for me, it is for the student. If you really want him to get home safely focus on what matters most.

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