December 12 -13, 2018, Israel
Sometimes we call it Krav Maga, sometimes for short only "Krav", and sometimes "Israeli Krav Maga". It is important that we remember that it is, after all, Israeli.
The Israel Factor
Why is this a factor?
Why would the Israeli factor be a factor? After all, we are all the same, we are all human, we have exactly the same bodies which function in exactly the same way. The way the arms and legs work in Israel is exactly the same as in Norway or China. Why stress the Israeli factor?
What is it about the Israeli factor that makes Krav Maga special?
Is it the Israeli army that has achieved so much success against all odds? Is it the Israeli ingenuity that has made us among the world leaders in the field of technology? or is there something else?
What do we, Jewish Israelis, add to the mix that makes it special?
To answer that question, I have written a book, Israel: A Nation of Warriors, and we have developed our now world famous Tour and Train Israel Experience program, but can we pinpoint it in a few words?
Indeed, this is challenging, but I shall try.
Every system has its heart and soul. The heart and soul of authentic Krav Maga is the Jewish experience. I will say the Jewish - Israeli experience because this is different than the purely Jewish experience.
The Jewish - Israeli experience refers to those Jews who have come full-circle, who have returned to our ancient homeland, who have become once again independent, who have established an army as in the days of old, who are no longer guests in other people's lands living at the mercy of Others, at the discretion of a king or lord.
During our Tour and Train program we do more than just "tour". You walk with me, not only physically but spiritually. You share my journey which began thousands of years ago.
When you stand with me on Mount Masada you will feel the pain; the recent destruction of our holy temple in Jerusalem, the destruction of our people by the Romans, the few survivors still holding out on an isolated mountaintop, living by the laws of the Torah (Bible), adhering to the words of the ancient rabbis. It still feels real. It is real.
You will feel what it means to "live free or die" as these Jews chose to live as Jews to the very last minute, never compromising, never wavering in their faith.
You will walk with me through the trenches of Ammunition Hill and feel what it felt like to finally come home, after nearly 2,000 years of forced exile, and see Jerusalem our holy city from a distance. You will feel how the children and grandchildren of Holocaust victims carried weapons and fought to liberate our ancient capitol where King David once ruled.
You will feel how the prophecy of Ezekiel, the prophecy of the Dry Bones, came true, as the survivors of the Nazi led nightmare came out of their graves and became the powerful army of Israel!
You shall understand what it means that God has opened up our graves and brought us back to life in our land, and you will understand why we fight as we do.
You will walk with me through Yad Va Shem, the memorial to the Holocaust, and understand what happens when people do not fight back.
These are my relatives. Only a few, the remnants of the sword, survived. But it goes back much further.
Today we still feel and see the pain and destruction brought about by the Catholic Inquisitions, as hundreds of thousands of Jews suffered, as my own family members, such as one who became known as Juan Sanchez de Sevilla, were forced to convert away from our true faith and adopt the faith of our oppressors. Today I meet the Benei Anusim, the descendants of those forced to convert to Catholicism, all over the world, in Puerto Rico, in Mexico, in Chile, in Italy, Portugal and Spain.
This is the pain of a people who were helpless to resist, who could not defend themselves. I see the narrow alleyways of the Jewish quarter in the cities of Spain, Castille and Aragon, and I see the Christian mobs coming in and slaughtering them. Their blood still cries out to heaven.
And so, we fight. And we fight hard, because we know what happens when we do not. We know.
Today we try to make nice and speak of our "shared history" with many nations, but the truth is that this "shared history" was one of brutal persecution. So we come home to Israel but even here we are not left alone, even here our enemies surround us and nations from all over the world support them and accuse us. And so we must fight back.
Daily, "Liberal" American politicians come out against Israel, and it is deemed OK, and they are "entitled to their opinion". (And yes, I know we also have many good friends, for which we are eternally grateful). Daily, attacks take place against Jews all over the world. As we speak a young Israeli woman, 7 months pregnant, is still fighting for her life. (update, her child, born prematurely, has died, and two more Israeli Jews were murdered today while waiting for a bus.)
And so we must fight.
Our style of self-defense is a reflection of our spirit, of our pain, and of our determination. Is it better than a Mongolian self-defense style? an Afghani self-defense style? I cannot answer that, all I can say is it IS different.
This is Israeli and Jewish Krav Maga. I teach it with my heart, my soul, my history and my unending pain, and my pride!
I teach it for my ancestors who were forced to convert in the 15th century and my anger knows no limits.
I teach it for my cousins who walked into the gas chambers holding their young children.
I teach it for my relatives who were marched by the Nazis and their accomplices to a ravine in Ukraine and shot dead, not a single survivor.
I teach it for all of us so that we can walk in peace and live the way we chose to live and not be forced by others to change our ways.
I teach it for our future.
Yes, we all have two arms, two legs, five fingers on each hand etc. But if you are learning our style, IKI Krav Maga, you are learning more than just physical techniques, you are becoming imbued with our history, our passion, our pain and our yearning.
I can say much more, this is but the tip of the iceberg, I still see the orphaned children on the streets of the Warsaw Ghetto, I still see cousin Miryam and her baby waiting on line to face the selection by Dr. Josef Mengele, I still see the prisoners in Auschwitz trying to keep warm under a thin blanket during the cold Polish winters. I see it all and I feel it all.
And it someone tries to touch one of our children, to lay a hand on one of the elderly...an explosion will take place that will rock this world.
Come to Israel
Experience Israel The Krav Maga Way
Come to Israel, immerse yourself in Krav Maga, Israeli and Jewish culture and go home a changed person. Become a real Krav Maga instructor or student. Go beyond technique, learn the spirit of Krav Maga.
For more information
Biblical fighting methods and strategies.
Over 300 pages, the history of Israel and the Jewish people as a fighting nation from the days of Abraham to our own times. The book covers the history and roots of Krav Maga and the modern Israeli Defense Forces. The book analyzes what makes Israeli security the best in the world.
Why makes Israeli airline security the best in the world?
What is the Israeli approach and mentality that make us the leaders in the security industry and personal safety field, and being sought after all over the world?
What weapons and strategies did our Biblical ancestors use?
The answers are in this book.
(cover by Arie Katz)
Israel: A Nation of Warriors,
available on Amazon, Kindle or directly from IKI.