Goal Driven Black Belt

June 22, 2023, Israel


What is the secret to success in life?

Wow, what a question, and how many "Self-help" books have been written on this concept: How to Succeed, How to Become Rich, etc. etc. 

There is no one answer, there is no formula that works for all people at all times. If you are living in one era, in a certain country, the rules or formulas of another era, another country, might not work for you. 

Success can be measured in many ways. To me it is how you feel, how you see yourself. Are you happy in life? Then you are successful. Are you rich but miserable? Then you are not successful. 

The basic question to me is, what do you want? What are your goals?

There is an old parable, a story, of two men sitting by a lake and fishing. One man tells his story of success; I was born poor, I started by selling newspapers, I eventually opened a store, and so on and so forth. Now I am a wealthy man and I can afford to retire, I don't have to work anymore, and so now I do what I want with my time, which is to sit here and fish and enjoy nature. 

The other man says, Well, my friend, I am not rich, I do not own a business, I don't have much in terms of material wealth, but I too come here daily to fish and enjoy life and nature. I am content

Both men are in the same place, doing the same thing. The point is both men are content, but they have found very different ways of reaching their destination. Which one is better? Depends on your nature. Each one of us has our nature and our path in life. 

Now if you are, for example, the "Dude" in the classic film, "The Big Lebowski", so, hey man, whatever, let's go bowling. The movie begins with "The Dude was a lazy man, perhaps the laziest man in Los Angeles county, which places him pretty high for laziest man worldwide."


The Dude, taking it easy for all of us. 

So, if you can live that way, and you are happy, and you are not causing anyone any harm, more power to you! I lived in LA and still am closely connected; I know a lot of people like that over there. I also know a lot of very ambitious people there, and both are OK. So, if you are happy and content living that way, fine. You are not frustrated by the lack of "success" because you don't need it. You have already achieved your retirement goals, your peace of mind, you Nirvana. Good for you. You have achieved enlightenment and are free of worldly concerns. 

Of course, if everyone lived this way and took this approach, the world would probably collapse. Someone needs to work, someone needs to have ambition, goals, and look to the future. We all enjoy the benefits of modern technology, flights, medical innovations, rapid communication, etc. 

So now let's look at the more conventional concepts of success: You want to achieve something, you want to become something, you want to be noticed and recognized, but essentially all of these are just the path to happiness. Money, fame, professional recognition are means to happiness. 

Now, how is this achieved? That is the big question. 

I believe it is achieved by having: 



Good habits

Fire - Passion.

There was a sentence my dear father, of blessed memory, use to read each month from the pulpit. He was a congregational rabbi. As each Jewish month ended and another Jewish month began he read a special prayer/message. I recall that it included these words...may each day bring us closer to some worthy goal.

These words have shaped my life. 

What is this goal? It could be anything. It does not have to be a summer home in the Hamptons and a yacht. It can be overcoming anger, becoming a kinder person, completing reading the entire Bible, or a tractate of the Talmud. It can be earning a college degree. It can be writing that great novel, or composing a song, but it should be a goal. 

Now the process should be a pleasant process. I.e. I do not believe any good comes from being in a constant state of stress, anxiety, fear, until you achieve that goal. The process is the key here. The process is in itself a goal. I know people who have achieved their goals, but they miss the process of getting there. Sometimes they want to go back to the starting point. I know martial arts masters that put on white belt and entered another dojo, another style, as a total beginner, they wanted that process again, of earning their first belt, of moving up through the ranks and earning a black belt. 

Most of us have goals but few of us achieve them. How many want to learn a foreign language but give up? How many want to earn a black belt but give up? I don't believe there are any actual statistics on either topic but "it is said" that of every 10,000 students that enter a martial arts dojo, only 6 will earn a black belt. 

Now of course some people lose interest along the way. Some discover that this is not what they want. But those vast majority who do not succeed, what could they have done differently?

I think of my father's message...may each day bring us closer to some worthy goal. Hang this on your wall, write it in your heart. When you wake up in the morning ask yourself, what am I doing today to reach my goal.

When the evening comes, and you just completed a long day of work, your body says Stop, no more. Your body says, I have had enough for today, I just want to go home and have a pizza and a beer. I know the feeling. I recall after finishing a day's work at the bank I did not feel like going to a 3 hour Krav Maga class. I recall waking up early in the morning in New York, and not feeling like going out in the cold and taking the subway to the Oyama dojo for Karate training. I recall those feelings vividly. 

But I also recall my inner words...may each day bring you closer to a worthy goal. I had a goal. I wanted to advance in the ranks. I wanted to succeed. At those late hours of the evening, or the early hours of the morning, my motivation was not so high, but my discipline was. I developed good habits. So, I dragged myself over to the dojo and as I left, I felt super. Yes, I did it again, I overcame my lazy side, and I went to class and yes, I am tired, but I moved ahead in my goals. 

Bruce Lee, when he was a poor immigrant, used to have little motivational messages around his apartment, encouraging him to not lose hope, to move forward towards his goals. Do you have a goal? What are you doing about it right now? Every day is part of the process. May each day bring us closer to some worthy goal. This was my father's message to me, and it has served me well throughout my life. I am still pursuing many goals. 

What are your goals and what are doing to achieve them?



Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.

Understand the Israeli Fighting Mentality - Israel a Nation of Warriors by Moshe Katz


What is the cultural background of Krav Maga?  What makes it unique? What makes the Israeli military so effective? Why are Israeli security systems used all over the world?

What are the Biblical origins of Krav Maga and who was the first Krav Maga instructor?

What weapons and military strategies did our Biblical ancestors use?

How has Krav Maga developed in Israel and what are its goals?

All that and more in this unique book.

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