Know your Enemy

June 2, 2024, Israel

When I trained as a student in martial arts it was all physical. Kata, kicking, punching, stretching, all good, all great, but there was a key element lacking, talking. We were in no way being prepared for the reality of the streets. We were being trained as martial artists, but not to survive on the street. In fact, we knew nothing about the street, nothing about crime, and nothing about the people we might encounter.

These days when I teach, I say, you must get to know your opponent, and I don't mean George, or Sam, or Sarah, or whomever you are facing, I mean the person they represent. You need to get to know him, or her, a little, you need to understand their background, their culture, their lifestyle.

Now we are not social workers, and that is not the reason we are trying to understand the person facing us, in fact it has nothing to do with having an interest in the other person or caring about him. Not at all, it is all about improving our chances of survival.

This person might be Ali. Gonzalez, a former hitman, or sicario, from California and Mexico. His mother did not speak English, his father was a criminal. His father raped his sister and he tried to kill his father. As a 12-year-old he stabbed his father. His father spent many years in prison, he ran off and had to take care of himself. He killed for a living. Over the course of his "career" he admits to having killed over 70 people and he does not regret it. He considers all his victims guilty, as if he has the right to decide. 

He said he never felt bad when he killed, it was never personal, it was just business, part of his job.

Three young men, in great shape, surfers, have chosen Baja California, Mexico, as a place to have fun. They had no fear, but they faced up with members of the notorious drug cartels who wanted what they had. Apparently there was a stand up, a refusal to give in. The bodies of the three young men were found with bullets holes in the head. One should know whom they are dealing with. Know thine enemy. You need to walk a mile in another man's shoes (or woman) to understand them. I include women here, not to be politically correct, but to emphasize that some of the most violent criminals are women. In the world of crime they have earned their place. Bravo! You have come a long way baby.

Every year thousands are killed in this silent war that goes largely unreported. The police are corrupt, the governments are largely corrupt. You are on your own. Some of the victims were themselves drug dealers, some were police, and some were family members of rival drug dealers, and some, were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that could be any of us. We must be prepared. 

And if that moment comes where there is a gun to your head or a knife to your throat, if you are one of those rare individuals who actually trained in Krav Maga, who actually trained for such a situation, are you really ready? Can you deal with the stress of the moment? can you react on time?

In most styles of Krav Maga you will begin by first raising your hands (this motion alone with get you killed) and start talking (most likely by this point you will be dead) and saying something silly like, "Hey man, I mean no harm". 

I find this laughable, but I don't if to laugh or to cry. 

You see, I already told you, Respect this man, or woman, enough to study them, to try to understand them. They are not a college dropout, they grew up in Shitsville, CA, or Mexico, their gun or knife is their tool of their trade, and killing you is just part of the job, it is not personal. And they are good at their craft, they are better than you.

You may attend class once or twice per week, but they live this every day, all day, for their entire lives. They are ready, you are not. Accept that as truth. Be humble.

When you start to move your arms as a first step, as in "I am complying" they are already pulling the trigger or slashing your throat with a knife. When you start talking, Hey, I mean no harm. Of course you mean harm, but I, the criminal DO mean harm. I know you mean no harm, but I am here to harm you. 

When you, the victim starts talking, "I am just a poor boy from a poor family", he might be thinking, what the F, are you planning on publishing your memoirs? Do you think I really care to hear about your pathetic life. 

While you are planning on doing your well-rehearsed Classic Krav Maga move, he is already in motion to killing you. He will not hesitate. You see the punishment for killing 71 people is not much worse that the punishment for killing 70. So why hesitate. By the way, in this particular case the guy was arrested and ending up serving 3 years. Yup, that is all. 

So all this "communication" you were taught, to talk to the guy and try to distract him, or catch him off-guard, is in my opinion nonsense. You see he is the street-smart criminal, not you. He has already caught you off-guard, so how are you going to surprise him? He has already surprised you.

We study crime and therefore we take a different approach. and no, you will not be able to learn it from a blog or a Facebook post, sorry. You will actually have to train with us. But basically, the principle is that the defense must begin immediately with your first move. Your very first body movement should get you out of the line of fire, out of the most immediate danger. We do not believe in a "set-up", because these criminals are for the most part impatient, (ask them). We must understand their way of thinking, their culture, they will not hesitate, and neither can we. Your psychological preparation for this situation is as important as your technique, that is how we train. Walk a mile in his shoes, get to know him. 

Mr. Gonzalez did not regret his killings, and when and others were asked, they all gave the same response, there are no emptions involved. It is just a job, and that is how life works. Makes no sense to you? Hamas makes no sense to you? Nazis make no sense to you? So take the time to study them, to understand them. Neville Chamberlin, a.k.a. the Great Fool, believe that he and "Herr Hitler" had reached an understanding, that neither nation wanted to go to war. He had achieved "Peace in our Time", but that mistake cost the world about 80 million dead.

Do not make a mistake that will leave your dead. Do know cause your mother to go through what the mothers in Mexico go through, searching for the bodies of their sons and daughters. 

and please do not say nobody warned you. 

Train, while you still can. 


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.

Books by Moshe Katz

Start Your REAL Training TODAY

Or is someone coming to save you?

IKI Krav Maga online distance training - Leading to ranks and certification.

DVDs from Israel

Tour and Train Israel Experience

IKI Membership Options.

Krav Maga Certification

Krav Maga Instructors

Krav Maga Seminars

Personal Training - If you are interested in personal Krav Maga training please contact us on the form below. 


Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.