Not Cool
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

October 26, 2016, Israel

Warning - This blog will not contain anything new.

But sadly, we all need to be reminded again and again because we tend to forget. And we chose to ignore the dire warnings.

Some women just started a new Krav Maga course with the innovative idea of empowering women. (Yes, there is a tone of sarcasm here and we have been working on empowering women for 3 decades).

So the first thing I noticed was the usual "stock" photo of a scantily clad woman wearing pink hand-wraps and doing a poorly executed punch. She also has teeny tiny shorts and a sports bra, i.e. everything one needs to be a Krav Maga expert. Her fully exposed belly is perfectly toned and you can see every muscle.

Why is this photo disturbing?

1. While many claim to want to empower women they show photos of women that have the opposite effect. This photo represents perhaps less than 1% of the adult female population. The rest feel inadequate and fat when viewing such a photo. The message is clear: This is what a Krav Maga woman looks like. If you do not have the "look", if you are not a fitness model, forget it, you are out.

2. Krav Maga has little to do with physical fitness. The image presented in such ads confuses fitness with personal safety/self - defense. As we at IKI emphasize again and again, one need not be fit to protect themselves.  We are a self defense system not a gym.

3. The photo depicts a woman wearing hand-wraps. If you are wearing hand wraps you cannot do the majority of Krav Maga techniques. Again, do not confuse Krav Maga with the sport of boxing or the aerobic kickboxing workout.

4. We do not encourage punching as it is not the most effective defense method for most people. Most women will likely hurt themselves trying to punch or box a man. These little fist of fury will cause little damage to the opponent but possible wrist fracture and broken hands to the defender. If you carry a handgun you will not be able to fire it with a broken hand.

We have better strikes, but this is not the place for that discussion.

In the Comments section we see the usual enthusiastic responses, by people who will likely not sign up for Krav Maga classes.

Comments such as "So cool" reveal all that is wrong with such an approach. Let me be clear, to me Krav Maga is not cool. It is not "cooler" than doing your taxes or cleaning your toilet. It is just something we must do because we need to. We need to clean our house, we need to control our finances and we need to defend ourselves. This is not the realm of being cool.

My main issue here, which I have been preaching for years, is the image of Krav Maga. I know that everyone starts with the best intentions but when Krav Maga is portrayed on one hand as "Bad Ass/Tough Guy for men, or cool and sexy for women, I believe it has the opposite of the intended effect. Krav Maga is a serious system, we do not need these marketing gimmicks.

Krav Maga, our approach, is for everyone, ordinary people. It does not involve extraordinary skills or extraordinary bodies. We do not hire models or body builders to present us. Our content is what matters. I believe the flashy/sexy approach scares away the very people we intend to help.

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