Krav Maga and the Art of Driving
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

October 14, 2018, Israel

Krav Maga training in a car, but cars themselves present many dangers.

I believe the most important lesson one can learn in self defense/Krav Maga is awareness. It takes an awful lot of muscle and skill to overcome a lack of awareness, and this may be deadly.

Now please note I am not claiming that anyone can be aware of all things at all times, I am not claiming that anyone can be superman, I am not claiming that if you study Krav Maga you will be immune to attacks. As Itay Gil told me years ago, all we are trying to do is minimize the damage. 

The rest is in the hands of God, fate, luck. 

A man is going shopping, he stops to send some messages to his wife. Can he be blamed for this? of course not. But he could be stabbed. There is no magical solution to any of this. All we can do is try and improve our chances.

At every seminar I teach I stress the importance of situational awareness. Some students may feel frustrated that instead of hitting the bag or doing more combat fitness drills I am actually using my words to try and teach something. But these words can save lives.

I use numerous examples of how to develop a constant awareness, I joke that I do a constant Katzscan (a play on the word cat scan, C T scan, computed tomography scan), as my name is Katz, and I scan my environment, it is my own KatzScan.  

When I describe this habit people often think I am paranoid, or "that is no way to live". I view it as a change of lifestyle. Just as they say that if you wish to lose weight a diet is not enough, you need a change of lifestyle, you need to change your relationship with food, I feel the same way about safety. You need to change your relationship with the environment. You need to change your understanding of your relationship with the universe, with life itself. 

Now the truth is we do it all the time and no one considers this paranoid behavior, until we apply it to self defense. One of the first things I learned as a child was to look both ways before crossing the street. Look to the right, to the left, back again to the right, and cross. We are not paranoid. There was a boy in our neighborhood who forgot to do this, he lost a leg. A missing leg is a constant reminder of how we must be constantly aware of our surroundings.

We all do this while driving. Think about it; we have our front window that of course we watch. We have two side windows that we also watch using our peripheral vision. We have a rear view mirror in front of us and two rear view mirrors to our sides. Thus we are constantly monitoring six different screens.  We have trained ourselves to do this instinctively and no one considers this a sign of paranoid behavior.

A hundred years ago there were very few car accidents. Today we have reckless drivers, bad roads, drivers too young and inexperienced, and every day many lives are lost to the carnage on the road. You must pass a driving test to be allowed to drive. But what about daily living? How well trained are we for that? Who teaches us defensive living?

Our "test" to be allowed out on the street should include basic Krav Maga training. Just as we learn to cross the road safely, just as we learn defensive driving, we must also incorporate these valuable lessons into our daily lives: Self Defense Awareness. 

There is no magical solution; any one of us can be distracted, all it takes is a moment. We might notice something interesting on the side of the road, or adjust the dial on the radio, that is all it takes for a deadly accident to happen. It is the same on the street, we must make it a habit to scan our environment, to use our six screens and all our senses. And as Itay said, we aim to minimize the damage. 

Even the greatest martial arts master can be caught by surprise, we are only human. But we must train, we must make safety and awareness a habit. We must. 

Join us for Krav Maga training, get your "license" to walk the streets. 

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