Mad or Sad Krav Maga

September 6, 2023, Israel


Arnold Schwarzeneger, a symbol of happiness and success.

Yuriko traveled 14 hours by bus to attend our seminar in Argentina. One of her insights about our style of Krav Maga is that "Smiling is allowed". She explained that in her previous style smiling was not only frowned upon but outright prohibited. "There is no room for smiling in Krav Maga" she was told. 

We take our training extremely seriously, for us it is a matter of life and death. There is no pointless frivolity, and every moment counts. But we do encourage our students to enjoy their training. We find that "a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down". It is not only OK to be happy and to enjoy the training, but it actually improves results, and the learning process is faster. A happier person enjoys their training, enjoyable training stimulates the student to work hard, one does not have to be miserable in order to make progress. Enjoying the training and being deadly serious are not a contradiction. I want people to leave my seminars in a happy mood. A happy student is a better student.

I am in Los Angeles and yesterday I drove my Gold's Gym. Of course that leads one to think of Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you don't know his life story, you should study it: it is a source of inspiration and motivation. 

Growing up in a small Austrian village with few opportunities other than farming, Arnold dreamed of bigger things. He would eventually go on to win every major world weightlifting title, set new standards of excellence, become a major movie star in a language and land not his own, and even become governor of California. This is a man we can learn something from. 

When I was in Florida with a little free time on my hands, I took the advice of my dear friend Nick, and I watched the documentary about Arnold Schwarzenegger. His secret? Hard work and happiness. He stressed over and over again that he would watch other guys in the gym, they were mad, frustrated, angry, but Arnold, totally dedicated and devoted to the task at hand, was always happy. He found that Happiness is a better way to train, produced better results. This became his motto, train happy, enjoy your training. 

This is a lesson I too learned over the years. I was not a happy student, not at all. I was angry, frustrated and never gave myself any credit for any of my accomplishments along the way. I graded myself after every workout and always gave myself poor grades. I was determined to succeed, but I did not enjoy it very much. The happy approach works much better. 

These days this translates itself into the way I teach, the IKI approach. Other Krav Maga schools take the so called Bad Ass approach. They are trying to create an image of toughness, which I find laughable. A dear friend just passed away, he was as tough as nails, but you would never know it from meeting him. His name was Shai Ish Shalom, Hebrew for, Gift, a man of peace. He was a warrior, a counter terror specialist, he participated in countless daring operations that would make Hollywood films look like cartoons, but he was a soft and gentle man who never acted " tough". That is our approach to training. We don't need to act tough, we are the real deal. 

So we shall continue being gentle, we shall continue with our Happy Training, and we shall continue to thrive and succeed. 


Shai Ish Shalom speaking to IKI students during our Tour and Train program. 


Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.

Understand the Israeli Fighting Mentality - Israel a Nation of Warriors by Moshe Katz


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?

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