Krav Maga, Violence, and the Threat of Violence

OK, I admit it. I am not a bad ass "homeboy" living on the mean streets of inner city Philadelphia or "Bad Town USA". I don't encounter thugs on my way to pick up a bag of milk (which reminds me I am nearly out of milk, and other eatable stuff), and I don't frequent biker bars or anything like that.

Yeah, but, anyway.

This week the lead story in our local twinky tink newspaper, in our little sweet, "good boy" town was about a lynch mob. Yup, sorry to blow our cover. A whole group of teenagers were waiting outside some other kid's house to beat him to a pulp. When he did not come out to their taunts they threw stones and crap at his house. The boy was smart and stayed inside. He's got some pretty good street smarts for a "Good Town" kid. So the teenage mob turned on the neighbor's house in order to let out their aggression. The kid came out and was beaten with sticks, kicked while down and out until he was so badly hurt he feared for his life. His sister called the police, who arrived late, and the parents who were not yet home.

The boy ended up with an open head wound that required immediate hospitalization. All this happened in "Good Town" Israel, where the sign greeting you as you drive in is, "This is a violence free town." It is time to tear that sign down.

There is much more violence in Sleepy Town, here, there and everywhere. Most is not so bad that it makes the papers, or that the kids end up in the hospital, but it is there, it is mean, painful, and very damaging.

So how do we react?

We react by saying – it does not affect us. We react by not reacting. We react by saying our son is already taking tennis lessons or ping pong so Krav Maga is not in the budget. We react by saying this not appropriate for girls. We react by failing in our responsibilities as parents. Sorry, I forgot to warn you; I say it as it is, I call 'em as I see 'em.

There is violence and the threat of violence everywhere, even in our sleepy little town. What I want to do with Krav Maga is take a bite out of the fear and threat of violence, give you some tools and some options. Now many disagree with me. They say the way to deal with this fear is by explaining to young people that violence almost never happens, this way they will enjoy the same feeling of empowerment that training offers, and they will feel the same sense of security.

That is like the guy who told me the way he deals with the high cholesterol issue is by not going to the doctor; he is not aware of having a cholesterol problem and so he remains calm and happy. He has no anxiety. Can anyone see the problem here?

By friend Gary always writes, "The way to deal with violence is the threat of greater violence." That is what the police and the army offer; that is why we still need them. (Unless you live in Iceland like my friend Jon Oli.)

I am a peaceful person; our instructors are peaceful people, meet Tim, or Amy or Craig, lethal friendly people. But we must possess the ability to deter violence with the threat of greater violence. The boy in our true story went outside to try and reason with these boys. They "reasoned" with him by opening up his head.

Train like your life depends on it, because it does. Really.