Knowing What to Expect
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

July 26, 2016, Johannesburg, South Africa

Bruce Lee said that all human beings are basically the same. Black or white, tall or short, Asian or American we all have the same bodies and they move in the same ways. An arm is an arm, a leg is a leg and it always bends the same way.

So we all have the same body, and all our bodies work essentially the same way. There are only so many ways to throw a ball, lift a box,  throw a punch or stab with a knife.  And yet in every country, in every culture, there are some unique attacks. There may be a Viking way of using a sword, a Roman way or an English way. There may be a South African way of using a knife, a Mexican way, or Gypsy way. So how do we approach this? How do we find the universal defense that can deal with all these culturally influenced different types of attacks?

Cultural differences are important. When visiting another country you must do your homework. A hand gesture that is perfectly innocent in one culture may be a grave insult in another. Kissing a man's girlfriend (on the cheek) in South America may be the norm but doing the same in another country may be seen as a serious challenge to the man. One must be aware of these differences. One must do their cultural homework.

Greetings, farewells, dinner customs vary greatly from place to place. Asking to add salt, in one culture, may be a terrible insult while in another it is perfectly acceptable. We are taught that to do business with another nation you must understand the cultural differences. In one society it is perfectly acceptable to go directly to business. In other society that is rude and the kiss of death, you must begin with causal talk and gradually wait for you host to let you know when it is OK to discuss business. In one society you must drink with your host, in another that is unacceptable. Anyone wishing to do business must learn the social etiquette of another society.

And this is what we must be aware of in terms of violence. Essentially there are only so many angles for a knife attack. Essentially there are only so many ways a man can hold or swing a knife. The missing ingredient is the culture. If you know what to expect, if you know the range of possibilities, you will be much less surprised. You will be in a much better starting position. 

I have seen various different kinds of knives all over the world, they go by different names, have different shapes. I have been shown many local styles of knife attacks and asked how we can deal with those.

Essentially the defense boils down to the same basic principles we use for all our IKI knife defenses. Once I become familiar with the attack I know how to apply the IKI knife defenses, But to be honest the problem is if the first time you see the attack is when are actually attacked. There is a good chance that one might be caught off guard at first.

Very few defenses will work if you are totally unfamiliar with the nature of the attack. That is why we teach situational awareness, that is why we must research the nature of crime in every place that we visit. If you have never seen the Zulu knife dance it may catch you by surprise, if you have never seen the Roma attack you may be in for a rude awakening. But if you know what may happen, if you are keeping your eyes and ears open and you are familiar with the basic range of potential attacks, you stand a much better chance of countering with an effective defense. 

Chance favors the prepared. 

Many knife attacks look very complex but that is like the pre game show. At the end of the song and dance the actual stab is always the same; only a limited number of angles. But we must learn the song and dance and know what to look for and when to be ready. And ready we shall be. 

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