Legends, Ninjas and Krav Maga
by Moshe Katz

Reading martial arts magazines and books, hearing stories from our teachers, we begin to believe in martial arts legends.

They could fly through the air, they could go without food or drink for days, they could hold their breath under water, defeat multiple opponents, take down a man just with a Kiai shout, and be home in time for dinner.

Yes, we all believe/d it. We believe without question. Even in our own time people like to relate stories about modern martial arts legends; Bruce Lee, Chuck Noris, Koran masters of Taekwondo, etc. And yet funny how we mock those who actually believe the stories in the Bible.

When it comes to martial arts our capacity to believe is unlimited.

As fantastic as the stories sound - we are not allowed to question them, this is the aura or myth of martial arts. For some reason, as John Lennon said, we need heroes, we need idols.

But all idols are false, and just as it says in the Psalms, they have mouths but can not speak, ears but cannot hear, they are of no use to us in a real life situation.

We have no proof and yet we believe.

And when someone comes along and debunks the myth - well..."Kill the heretic!"

A good historian will never take anything for granted, he will research all the known material and then look for some new sources. When we study history we can gain new insights into our belief. We take beliefs that were seen as written in stone and we begin to learn their anceint and true origins.

We begin to understand that our old traditions, some which seem to make no sense, actually have roots in real life circumstances. Suddenly they make more sense, suddenly the original intent becomes clear and thus the whole situation is more relevant to us today.

It is the same with martial arts. Every technique has its hisorical origin. However sometimes we see what the intention was but realize that the old techique is no longer valid to handle that situation. Thus we have a need to change and adapt the technique in order to acheive the orginal goal.

Just like an historian, we challenge, we research and we come up with relavent answers to questions that concern us today.

Did the Ninjas really exist? Was there really an art called Ninjitsu? I tend to think not but Krav Maga is real and is here today to deal with real situations not with legends, fantasys or movies.

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