individual krav maga

November 4, 2013, USA 

Not sure what flight this was but the blog is written on a United Airlines napkin...which of course came with my coffee. 

Krav Maga students come in all sizes and shapes. IKI Krav must fit every body.

The more I travel, the more I see of America, the more I realize how difficult it is to be an individual in a vert  non-individual world. Everything around us pushes us to conformity. People do not realize it of course, that somehow they are all being orchestrated into a world of uniformity.

To be certain there are attempts at individuality; praiseworthy they are: women try and mix and match outfits. Of course they cannot create their own clothing but it is as they are "allowed" a certain degree of freedom and individuality within the range decided and dictated by the fashion tycoons. They can choose within that range and create a small degree of a personal statement. A way of saying "I am different, I am an individual.

But of course individuality is not determined by clothing.

During the Holocaust, in the concentration death camps, peoples' individual clothing was removed, personal  names were replaced with numbers, everyone had the same striped prisoner uniforms but the true individual never lost his identify.

Having spent tons of time at airports this past month I observed how both men and women try to create individual hair styles, an expression of individuality. I have long since given up that battle and it does not matter to me.

My individuality is not in my hair.

My individuality is not in my clothing.

At the airports I watch people and I think. What are they trying to say ? they are trying to say I want to be someone. I want to be someone different than the others. I want be me. I want the world to notice me.

For me personally clothing is just functional. I believe one should make an attempt to dress decently, as a rabbi once told me, "Eat for yourself, dress for others."

Years ago I used to think about what T shirt to wear for training, but then I realize that 3o seconds into a workout I totally had no idea what I was wearing. It was not the T shirt that mattered, it was the spirit inside. That has remained true today.

Our personality is not in our clothing.

Our personality is not in our hair. (comes and goes)

Our personality is not in our car. 

Our personality is not in anything exterior, in anything that can be taken away. Our true personality is deep within our soul. Accidently wearing the wrong shirt will not affect who we are. 

What I believe we must cultivate is that inner force that no man can take away, no wind can blow away, no wave can wash away.

There is a rabbinic expression. "Just as their faces are not the same, so are their thoughts not the same." The idea that the rabbis are teaching here is very profound; Do not teach everyone the same way, do not expect the same reaction for each person. Understand that each person was created as an individual, it is only our society that tries to create uniform robots out of everyone. It is our task to reclaim that individuality. 

Many martial arts are truly "one size fits all", Kata, pre-arranged forms, two step techniques, and so forth; everyone must be exactly the same, everyone must do the techniques in an identical manner. 

But they have forgotten the words of the rabbis, just as their face so are their thoughts, their personalities, their bodies, not the same.

Our style, IKI Krav Maga, is for everyone. During this wonderful month tour of the USA I have trained many people. Some are great athletes, some are not. Some are former or current police, military and Special Forces, some are overweight housewives.

Some are healthy, but many are no longer one hundred percent. Some have football injuries that prevent their arms from full movement, some have had spinal injuries, some are too short to some of the techniques, and some are just way out of shape.

So, we adapt, we find a way that ALL people can do the techniques.  We will also address the individual needs of our students, no matter what their condition is. We have had people missing an arm, a hand, a leg.

In competitive sports there is a certain point that you must retire. A baseball catcher with bad knees - time to bow out of the game. A baseball pitcher with a bad arm? time to become a pitching coach, your days of throwing hard are over. A basketball player with sore feet or aching knees? Become a sports broadcaster. But Krav Maga, Retire? Never. Until death do us part.

Krav maga is about self-protection and that never ends. Krav Maga must rely on wisdom, not only strength.

Like the Statue of Liberty says, (using the words of Emma Lazarus, an American Jew), "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddles masses yearning to be free." IKI Krav Maga echoes these sentiments; bring us your injured, your overweight, your insecure, your too old for Taekwondo, anyone yearning to live free, bring them all to us, none shall be turned away. 

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