February 29, 2020, Israel
Baruch College, New York City
2008, Canada, an outdated technique
Sorting through some old photos I came across some photos from the early years when I would tour the college campuses, USA and Canada. I taught at over 120 campuses. In the photos I see happy students having fun, and that is great. In some of the photos I noticed old discarded techniques, techniques that I used and taught for years, and then either modified or abandoned completely. It is these techniques in the photos that makes me wonder; was there any value to all this?
I see many Krav Maga schools teaching old or in my opinion, useless, techniques, that is why we are constantly evaluating and questioning Everything! Yesterday I received a question from a valued member, despite the late hour and being on my way to the synagogue, I took a detour to test out the technique. We are always growing. So I look at the techniques, now discarded, in the old photos with those happy students and I wonder; was there any lasting value?
Most, nearly all, of these students are no longer training in Krav Maga. So I have to ask; was the technique simple enough that they can remember it all these years later, and, if need be, use to save their lives. That is the mark of a good system, not if the Grand Master, or the body builder, or the guy who devotes his life to training, can perform the technique.
The answer is that with many of those techniques the answer is no, after many years most of those techniques will have been forgotten. That is why we teach different material now than we did ten years ago (and, by the way, why ranks issued years ago are no longer valid if the person no longer trains with us).
Our guiding principle in all techniques must be: Easy to learn - that means that a reasonable, normal person, of regular health and intelligence, will be able to learn the technique well enough in a reasonable amount of time to be able to have a decent chance of using it on the street.
Easy to apply in many different situations - That means we do not need a specific technique for each violent encounter but rather a few simple concepts that one can apply in an infinite number of situations. I.e. the number of possible attacks is infinite but the number of possible solutions we can learn and remember is very finite.
Easy to remember - That means learning something is totally useless unless you can remember it.
As teachers we must give our students something of value, something of lasting value. No one is using cellphone from the 1970's or driving cars from the 1950's (unless you are a collector of historical relics). Our Krav Maga must be evolving to meet the challenges of an ever changing violent world. and our techniques must match the abilities of our students, not the abilities of on screen super heroes.
Moshe Katz has conducted over 1,000 international seminars and training sessions
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