July 5, 2015, Israel
There are different definitions of reality training, there are different definitions of what it means to be strong. Some of the strongest people I have known over the years could not win a arm-wrestling contest and some of the physically strongest were those who need to be carried by others.
Julie San - "I am not very strong"
Mr. Miyagi - "Many kinds of strong Julie San" (Karate Kid part 4)
There are different ideas of how it is best to train. I remember one traditional Karate dojo where I used to train. They treated it like a secret military compound. When one of the instructors discovered that I was taking photos he came over and demanded my camera.
In another gym, the Thai boxing gym of Kru Phil Nurse, the situation was different. Phil is a champion in several weight classes and divisions, he is as tough as nails, could break your leg with one kick, but his greatest weapons is his smile. With one smile he can totally disarm you.
When he saw my camera he too took it from me. Moments later I noticed him climbing the ring to take photos. He, the champion, the instructor, was taking photos for me. I will never forget that. There is more than one approach to teaching.
Training with Phil Nurse, all smiles, great training.
Smiling does not make you less tough. Those who need to put up a façade are to be pitied.
When Yuriko and Ramon first came to my seminar in Argentina, hosted by Jose Nacul, they had already been training for many years. They said that after ten minutes they understood that their fourteen hour bus ride was well worth it. How devoted. One of the many difference they noted with our style of Krav Maga is that we smile. We enjoy our training. Yuriko said that in her former style of Krav Maga smiling was never allowed, it was seen as a sign of weakness. Krav Maga had to be hard: No smiling!!
Of course we know that a tea spoon of sugar helps the medicine go down, i.e. everything is easier if you are enjoying it.
But is there a place for anger?
I believe there is. We need a balance between the two. We must find the correct balance.
I would never want to be a part of a class where the instructor was always angry or mad, or sad. Never. I think this would be a horrible training environment and very difficult to learn anything. It would never work.
Most of the time we need to smile, to enjoy our training, to look forward to the training. Now and then we need to get a little "dark" and put some anger and fear into our training, to prepare us for the reality of an attack.
But I do believe that if the training environment is always filled with fear and anger very little actual learning will take place.
Fear and intimidation has never proven to be a successful educational method.
First seminar in Argentina, all happy faces and great training. With Jose Nacul, Yuriko and Ramon from Chile and IKI Argentina.
A Word about Krav Maga
In Israel the term Krav Maga is not regulated. The term can be applied to any martial art. A judo instructor can be called a Krav Maga instructor because in fact he is teaching contact combat. Thus here the term becomes rather meaningless. People outside of Israel do not seem to be aware of this.
What is sad is that many instructors of other martial arts become Krav Maga instructors overnight, or with the pressing of the "print" button. I find it sad when a respected instructor of karate or judo suddenly offers a Krav Maga seminar.
Did he train in Krav Maga? Did he retrain to become a certified Krav Maga instructor? The answer is NO. He simply took a gun and a knife, applied his jujitsu, karate, or judo background and declared that it is now Krav Maga, plus, he served in the army, so he has the complete package and can begin traveling the world and offering black belts in "Krav Maga" under some new name that he came up.
I find this very sad. I find it embarrassing. I will never try to teach something I am not properly trained and certified in.
There is the additional phenomenon of former IDF soldiers creating their own styles of "Krav Maga" (or whatever name they chose to use). No one certified them, no one supervises them.
All I can say is - Public beware!