January 3, 2023, Israel
Tel Aviv in 1909, understanding the reality and facing it, working to build a future.
Tel Aviv 2022
Sometimes we chose to live in a fantasy world as it is preferable over our grim reality. Many escape to the world of dreams, mysticism or become obsessed with movies and celebrities, all an escape from an unhappy reality, a reality to challenging for us to cope with.
The truth is that often reality is just too difficult to accept or handle. But few are honest, or enlightened enough, to recognize and admit this. There was a story that took place sometime around the 1890's, possibly in Odessa. Rabbi Yitzchak Nissenbaum, a great rabbi who believed in Zionism, the Jewish national movement to return to our land and fight for our national independence, bumped into the famed Yiddish writer known as Mendele Mocher Seforim (Mendele the book seller, his real name was Sholem Yankev Abramovich). In the course of their conversation the rabbi asked the famed Yiddish writer if he was considering moving to the Land of Israel, to become part of the national movement. Mendele's answer was insightful, he became angry and said, "What? me, move to the Land of Israel? in my Land of Israel, King David is still sitting on the throne and playing his harp, the prophet Yeshayahu is still standing at the gates of Jerusalem rebuking government officials for their transgressions, the Holy Temple of Jerusalem still stands, and the Cohens are serving God while the Levites are playing their trumpets and cymbals! And now? Oh no! I'll come to Jerusalem and see that all of this is merely a golden dream. And then what will I do?"
Jerusalem at the time was a decrepit broken-down third-rate city under the corrupt Ottoman rule. The Jews were supported mostly by charity. Disease and overcrowding were rampant. The Yiddish writer was a fiction writer, he loved to escape to his imagination. Why give up the Fantasy, the dream, for a bitter and disappointing reality? No, he will stick with his "reality", King David is still on the throne. Do not shatter my fantasy with your facts. I will have none of this.
Many Jews felt the same way, and instead of facing up to this harsh reality, working hard and building a new future, they stayed in Europe where eventually most of them were brutally murdered, shot, stabbed, starved, tortured, gassed or burnt alive. There is a price to be paid for living in a fantasy world.
and now the relevance to Krav Maga. I speak to many about the need for self-defense, like the prophets of old I speak, I preach, I write, I use whatever powers God has endowed me with to try and encourage people to take up training, reality training. Few are as honest as Mendele Mocher Sfarim, they do not admit that the consciously choose the fantasy over the reality. They prefer to remain in their fantasy world. They do not want to enter the Krav Maga training hall and face the truth. They do not want to hear about rape, home invasions, stabbings, knife and gun threats, Active Shooters or Hostage Situations. No, I will have none of that, my world is a peaceful Fantasyland.
In fact there are two kinds of fantasy worlds here; one as we mentioned are those who believe King David is still on the throne, i.e. the world is at peace, there is no violence and there is nothing to fear. The other camp are those who train in "martial arts" wear their lovely uniforms and perform their flawless techniques but prefer to face that fact that most of this is useless. I too was once at that point, and indeed it was a rude awakening to understand that most martial arts are useless for real-life violence.
At IKI we constantly analyze real life violence, often cases that ended in death. We pressure test all our techniques under the most realistic conditions that we can. We interview those who survived brutal personal attacks, we face the music, we face the truth, and we grow and learn and improve.
Those Jews who back in 1890 faced the truth, moved to the Land of Israel, worked hard, gave up good professions to become laborers and build a new life, did not have it easy. But their descendants now live in the State of Israel, are free and proud, serve in the best military in the world, and bow to no man.
The choice is yours.
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?
What weapons and military strategies did our Biblical ancestors use?
How has Krav Maga developed in Israel and what are its goals?
All that and more in this unique book.
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