November 30, 2022, Maaleh Adumim, Israel
Kapap, training in the early days. Using simple tools, as were available.
IKI Krav Maga is not like other styles of Krav Maga. Yes, we have similar goals, yes, we deal with similar situations, yes, we have similar roots, but we have taken a different route.
I am honest and open with my dissatisfaction with what I see out there these days. After all, this is a matter of life and death. I saw a video about a female journalist learning to do gun disarms on an aircraft. I could only shake my head in disappointment. Again, it seems that no one is learning anything, again it seems that no one is moving forward.
The woman was taught to grab the gun of the man standing behind her, and basically using strength, disarm him. And everyone thinks, Wow, Amazing, and applauds.
And it makes me wonder.
And it brings me back to my days as a young Talmud student, sitting across the table from Rabbi Cohen, a magnificent teacher, and arguing with him and challenging conventional ideas. The other students sat on the side while I argued.
That is the way of my father of blessed memory, challenge ideas, prove them right or wrong, never be content with what others told you.
So I am watching this video of the journalist and she is being taught by so called Krav Maga experts and I can take apart every technique and show why it will not work. They violate our main three principles, i.e., that a technique should not rely on, depend on, Speed, Precision and Strength. I see movements that cause the body of the Defender to be using the wrong muscles in the wrong way.
I see a woman reaching BACKWARDS to grab a gun from a terrorist. I see a woman pulling a gun out of a large man's hand. And I just have to scratch my head in total disbelief. How is anyone buying this?
The instructors are good actors, they are shouting etc and creating a realistic scenario for training. That is good. But then they seem to forget that the terrorist has every advantage. While in the video the slim female easily disarms the terrorist one has to think of the reality of this situation: A violent determined Terrorist who has been training and planning this moment for a long time. He is strong, he is HIGH on something, he comes at you from Behind, he catches you by surprise, he is violent and ready to kill, and yet we are shown that this female reaches behind, grabs the gun and disarms the terrorist. Really?!? We have tested this and no one was able to pull this off. The Big Bad Guy behind you will kill you before you get a grip on his gun.
Today on social media we see too much, and I see boxing being called Krav Maga. I.e. Krav Maga Combatives is basically Western Boxing with some karate kicks and Muay Thai knee kicks. Krav Maga is presented as nothing more than a collection of favorite techniques from other styles. But this is not how I teach it. This is not our way.
And I remember....the past.
I look at disarm techniques that depend on rapid hand movement and precise motion and strength and a very high level of skill. One has to practically be a professional martial artist to make this work, perhaps, if you are lucky.
And I remember... the past.
I spent my early years in Israel as a child. I was here at a very special time. The country was young, fit, united yet divided. Holocaust survivors were the regular populations. Jews who suffered at the hands of the Arabs in their native lands were now warriors for Israel. In this young Israel sports and fitness were very important. We had exams and were graded. We had to perform all sorts of gymnastics which I loathed. Judo clubs were very common, I joined one at the age of 6 and recall being thrown on the floor by the teacher on a regular basis. What fun. But that was part of the culture at the time.
The veterans spoke of their self-defense training, sometimes referred to as Kapap, sometimes as Haganah Azmit (personal defense), and sometimes as Krav Maga. The moves they showed me were always very simple!! The art was designed for the common soldier who had no time or interest to become a master martial artist.
I lived during those times and understood the mentality. The culture of a nation and its martial arts are always intertwined. If you don't understand the culture, you don't understand the martial art. If you don't understand the martial art, you will not be able to use it effectively. The people were very busy. There was no weekend, there was no leisure time. People worked from Sunday morning until Friday afternoon, then we had the Sabbath. Our "weekend" consisted of Saturday night, that is when I did my homework. Sunday morning it was up at the crack of dawn and go to school.
The mentality was; keep it simple and effective. There were no body builders. People worked hard and had very little free time. There was only 2 hours of television per day. Food was simple. Life was simple.
Self-defense involved using whatever you had, a jacket, a cap, a walking stick (most common tool). All self-defense was learned quickly. This was my Israel. So when I look at the commercial Krav Maga around the world today, all the Bad Ass guys in military fatigues and all that bravado, I just feel sad. They simply don't know.
We teach Krav Maga as it was intended by the founders. It warms my heart that some veterans of those days have told me that I remind them of Imi Lichtenfeld, in my attitude and in the way I teach. There is still hope.
We are busy training instructors for the future generations.
Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.
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?
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