Saturday night, February 26, 2022, Israel
Friday night, the Sabbath eve, is a time to put business aside, shut down your computer and cell phone and other gadgets, go to the synagogue and connect with a higher Force. After services comes the Friday night dinner, one of the highlights of the week. As you enter the home you are filled with a feeling of warmth and the smells of the delicious foods that have been prepared throughout the day. It is a time to relax, sing, and discuss the spiritual matters of the day. The father of the family will begin with a discussion of the weekly Torah reading, he will ask the children, or the grandchildren some questions, provoke them to think. It is a time for spiritual reawakening.
This past Friday night I was privileged to be invited over by the rabbi of the synagogue near my home. The lady of the house was a good friend of my mother and visited my dear mother in the hospice, as the end was nearing. I shall never forget her kindness and how much my dear sweet mother enjoyed Golda's visit. She woke my mother from her mental drowsiness and got her telling her famous stories once again. My mother shone again, just as her light was simmering and dimming.
So this Friday night the rabbis' son was visiting, along with his wife and six children. He is the principal of a boys rabbinical academy, a Yeshiva High School. In the military he served in an elite combat unit and saw action. In particular his unit had a lot of experience with terrorists. He asked me what I do for a living. "I am a Krav Maga instructor", naturally the answer surprised him. Yes, I do not look the part.
I explained that we the Jewish people have always been known for wisdom rather than muscle. We certainly have a glorious fighting history which I covered in my book, "Israel A Nation of Warriors", but we are not known for our size or physique, more so for being clever, and this is what our style of Krav Maga is based upon.
He of course trained in Krav Maga in the military, in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and had little to say that was flattering. He did not realize that he was speaking to the correct person.
"I have found that Krav Maga is useless in real life confrontation", he told me. "As soon as a real event begins, everything we learned is forgotten and we just go crazy with hitting the terrorists. We can't remember any techniques, it all disappears as soon as the stress of a real life terrorist encounter takes place. I found the training to be totally impractical".
He did not know that he was barking up the correct tree. He did not realize that he was validating everything I have been saying for years. No, I am not IDF certified, and no I do not endorse those other styles of Krav Maga, for precisely the reasons this combat soldier was relating.
I surprised him by agreeing with him totally and then we began a discussion of the difference between what I teach, IKI Krav Maga, and the other, more traditional styles that have not changed in decades. I explained that our style was Biblically based, using sound concepts rather than rote memorization, how just as the Bible was meant to be flexible and reinterpreted in every generation to meet the needs of the new generation, Krav Maga too must never be stagnant. Moses did not have to deal with electricity or with heart transplants, but the principles of how to handle these issues is in the Bible, the Torah. We are a concept based system, learn the concepts, understand the principles and you can reinterpret the Krav Maga to suit every situation you may encounter.
I explained that he is correct; most martial systems fail in real life encounter as the brain cannot process what is happening, and the techniques that were memorized for your black belt test are like tools in a locked box and you forgot the key at home. That is why we stick to a few simple techniques but can apply them to an endless variety of situations. We have our Universal Block, two knife defenses, and only two gun defenses. The rest is...interpretation.
We discussed Moses gathering the people and guiding them with wisdom, the grandchildren asked questions and told stories from school, the proud grandfather was in his element. He spoke of his dear late father who was one of the signers of Israel's declaration of Independence. Friday night dinner, everything goes, including Biblical Krav Maga.
Have a good week everyone.