April 19, 2015, Judean Desert, Israel
A sip of coffee and reflecting on life and...Krav Maga.
For many years I ran a local dojo . I was inspired by my Japanese Karate teachers and I modeled myself after them and their schools. But sometimes, eventually, reality sinks in.
New England home
I always dreamed of a New England style home, the kind I lived in as a child in the Boston area. I dreamed of a huge yard, a pond and lots of green.
But my life choice, my destiny, is to live in Israel. As such I eventually had to realize that my dream home would never be. It was supplanted by a more important dream, the return to Zion.
Growing New England style trees and planting grass... in the Judean desert, well, it was simply not a good idea. So I had to adjust to reality. Herod the Great had worried about the water situation back in the year 37 B.C.E. and so do I and my neighbors, this is our reality.
One must work with reality.
The same became true of my martial arts practice.
I live in Israel, and all of us live in an increasingly violent and dangerous world, as hard as some of us try we cannot escape this reality.
I travel to many countries to teach Krav Maga seminars, and everywhere I go I find some form of danger and violence.
Today is a beautiful day and it is easy to forget. It is easy to forget that danger lurks everywhere, it is easy to forget that just a few days ago a young Israeli man lost his life to terrorism while his female companion is still in the hospital fighting for her life.
I take another sip of coffee and reflect on our style of Krav Maga; IKI Krav Maga. This too has undergone major changes over the years.
All those years I ran a successful dojo I looked to America for business inspiration and ideas. I read the American martial arts professional business magazines and tried to follow their model and advice, But it did not suit me. It did not suit my reality in Israel. Luring kids with pizza and ice cream parties did not seem like the right way to fill my school with students.
I think back now and I realize how totally irrelevant all that information was, how totally disconnected from my reality and my goals. I use those magazines for the upcoming bonfires to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Lag Ba Omer.
Let's take a look...
Who and Why
I read the business model of the Martial Arts professionals. So when Tae Bo came out I was all ears. I traveled to America and I attended classes. I studied all the latest martial arts fads. People were making money, a LOT of money. They were filling classes and bringing in new students.
Moshe while training at Bodies in Motion in Los Angeles, with Fitness Kickboxing friend. Looong time ago...
The advertisements generally ran something like this..."Add a Kickboxing Fitness class to your martial arts program and bring in many new students each month."
Lets' analyze the goal: Bring in more students, make more money. Fair enough.
But is that what Krav Maga is all about?
We all need to make a living, no doubt about that, but let's dig a little bit deeper.
Our Krav Maga will be a reflection of our goals.
Let me repeat that.
Do you want to know what your Krav Maga will look like?
Your Krav Maga will be a reflection of your goals
My Krav Maga is not the same as others; because their heart is not the same as mine, their goal is not the same as mine.
I know many American instructors who added Krav Maga to their martial arts program because... "adding a popular style will bring in more bodies, more students, more money". Many traditional dojos have added Krav Maga as a "side program" (after doing one of those American style weekend certification courses) simply because it is the latest fad. (those who have added it in order to provide simple, realistic, effective self-defense: a blessing on your heads).
Yesterday it was Tae Bo and today it is Krav Maga, and tomorrow?? whatever sells.
Whatever brings in money.
But that is not us, that is not me.
I also want students in here but for the opposite reason.
I am looking at from the Outside In, not from the Inside Out.
Inside Out means I am on the Inside and I want to bring students in for my benefit, for my success.
From the Outside In means I am looking at those people outside, I am looking at Shelly Dadon, I am looking at Gilad, Eyal and Naftali, I am looking at all the future victims of terror, God forbid, and I am saying that you need to get In for training.
So if my school is full, and my bank account is full, that is not a factor. We are looking at it from the Outside and as long as there are people out there who need our training we must keep going. We must open more schools, we must certify more instructors, we must reach more people before they are added to the list of victims.
This is not a "add a program" gimmick to bring in more money. This is a Save a Life program. And there are no gimmicks.
You see the difference now?
When it is a matter of business it does not matter who comes in our doors, or why they come, as long as they are here and paying.
I.e. again, purely commercial schools think from the Inside: Fill up the place with whatever sells, you are living inside and trying to bring people in. You are not looking at it from the perspective of those outside.
But for us the Who and Why have a different meaning. We are looking at those people outside, we are looking at those three young guys just trying to get home from school, and we say - we want these people in our classes because we want to help them.
Who do we want? The most vulnerable, those at greatest risk.
Why do we them? Because we care about them.
IKI Krav Maga is not a quickie program to "add money to your existing dojo". We do not offer rank recognition or other fraudulent methods of attracting clients. We do not offer "weekend certification courses."
If you see any of these types of advertisements, know you are engaged in fraud.
If you join any such programs know that you are fooling yourself and your "students" ( i.e. your business clients).
Lines such as "Your rank in another recognized organization will be recognized by us." is a sure indicator that you are dealing with a marketing pyramid or a similar scam operation. (i.e. if you recognize a rank from another organization then that means you are offering nothing unique. So why do you even exist?)
Remember what I said: Your Krav Maga will be a reflection of your heart, your goal.
Two people can study the same style. One sees dollar signs and dreams of market shares, advertisements etc. The other wakes up in pain thinking of the latest victim of terror, gang violence, rape.
In two years from now will their Krav Maga look the same?
It will not!
Your motivation will be reflected in the evolution, or lack thereof, of your style. The "Krav Maga professional" will stagnate while the Pure Krav Maga practitioner will never stop growing.
The Israeli military and counter-terror forces continue to improve, because it is not a business. We grow because we care about the people. Every new situation demands more thinking, more innovation, we are never content. Whatever we do, we feel it is not good enough. Our slogan is "Not good enough."
But if you "take a course", and "get certified" and then flash your certificate all over the place in order to make money, trust me, you will only embarrass yourself, and you will never be a true reflection of Israel, just another foreigner out to make money.
Please note the difference.
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