In Israel all my students join the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at age 18. Nearly all go into combat units. They train hard and ask me for special programs to prepare them for the physical and mental demands of the top IDF units. Many serve with distinction in elite combat units.
Today as I was driving home I spotted one of my students hitch hiking, trying to get a ride home. Of course I stopped for him and drove him to his door. Those who serve our country deserve special consideration. They deserve a little more of our time.
He was armed to the teeth; personal hand gun, assault rifle, extra bullets. Nechemi is serving in the elite Duvdevan unit (Cherry), a unit that is tough to get into and even tougher to stay in. The mental pressure has been known to break many strong men. The training is down and dirty and brutal, it has to be.
Many of those who can not survive Duvdevan are sent to other combat infantry units, also something to be very proud of, but only the best of the best stay in Duvdevan.
Of course I asked about his training, in particular his IDF Krav Maga training. Needless to say it is very demanding. Nechemi told me that his childhood years spent with me in full contact kickboxing and Krav Maga prepared him well, but still this training was tougher. He said he has already suffered a torn eye lid (stitched back together), some broken ribs and three broken fingers. He told me this very calmly and matter of fact, no emotion, just reporting about the training. I was proud of him. He does much and speaks little.
As expected the training focuses a great deal on fierce aggressiveness, battling fatigue and fighting in extremely stressful situations. As much as possible I try to incorporate these elements into our civilian training and the training I offer our international Krav Maga visitors.. But, there is a limit. After all this is not the army. For health, insurance, and safety reasons, there is a limit to how much we can push people. And of course, unlike the army, students are free to leave. There will be no latrine duty for those who bail out.
Still, we incorporate these elements into our training and strive to make our training as realistic as possible. We train to be combat ready and street ready. Train hard, as they say in the IDF, "Tough in training, easy in combat."