Moshe Katz; the Beginning

Why do people start teaching martial arts?

Answer: For some it is a passion, for some it is a way of making money. For some it starts off as a passion but soon becomes a business.

I feel it is important for my students to know my story: how I came to teach martial arts in general and Krav Maga specifically.

I trained in various martial arts because I believed in the need for self defense. I never had the intention of becoming a teacher.

I began my training in Israel in the style of Shurin Ryu karate under the guidance of Sensei Chaim Jaffe in Jerusalem. I returned to the USA to pursue a degree in business and trained at the Oyama Kyokushin dojo in New York City and at the Frank Dux dojo in California. I returned to Israel, trained in Shotokan and then discovered Full Contact Free Style Kickboxing with Itay Gil

I never intended to teach. 

In synagogue a few boys noticed my hands, calloused, slightly deformed etc and they figured I was a martial arts instructor. They arranged to have their parents invite me over for the traditional Friday night dinner. Midway through the dinner they popped the question: What happened to your hands?

I said I trained in martial arts. The boys were thrilled, "We knew it!" And they asked me to teach them.

I turned them down. I had a full-time job at the bank. I had a BA in Economics and an MBA in Finance. I had no intention of leaving my career and no time to teach anyone martial arts. I advised them to go to the local community center where classes were being offered.

Soon I received a phone call from one of the mothers saying that she is organizing a group of boys and they want me to teach. They arranged a place, the social hall of the synagogue. I turned her down again. She got back to me and said the parents want someone the kids can relate to and look up to, not just a teacher but also a role model, someone religious with the right values.

I accepted.

We began in the synagogue with six boys, I remember each and every one, I am still in touch with them all. I taught them what I knew best, the Oyama style of Karate. In time I began to incorporate what I learned here in Israel. Eventually we purchased uniforms and some equipment. Things were pretty sparse at the beginning.

And then the first girl joined, Batsheva Ep. Within a couple of years, we had 50 students and three classes a week. I began to think about leaving my regular day job and doing what was becoming more than a job but a calling.

My focus changed from my day job at the bank to my karate classes. I was training three times each week and working hard on earning my black belt and instructor status.

I attended every class offered by my teacher; 3 classes per day, 3 times per week plus all extra training. In addition I trained on my own many hours per week. Eventually that wonderful day came when I earned my first dan black belt.

My teacher encouraged me to attend the Wingate Institute, with his recommendation, and earn my official state teaching license. The course took a full year, and I was graduated with honors.

The journey had just begun.

A younger Moshe Katz, first row

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