May 12, 2022, Ben Gurion airport Business Lounge, Israel
We age, as we age does our Martial Art age with us?
Recently we had a tragic incident, yet another in a series of brutal attacks by Arab terrorists, where several Israeli Jews were stabbed with knives and hacked with axes. Of course the terrorists do not distinguish between men and women, young and old, prepared or not prepared. There are no rules and no weight classes.
I suggested that everyone train in Krav Maga, for which I was attacked on social media with such nonsensical statements as, "Do you really think Krav Maga is effective against brutal knife attacks?" or "How dare you blame the victims!"
or "Do you really an older person can defend against a 20-year-old terrorist!"
I have already responded in a previous blog (Knife Attacks, Terrorism, Fight or Write) to most of the these accusations. For example, of course we realize that Krav Maga is ineffective outside the dojo, of course we don't expect it to actually work on the street, sure, we just teach for fun (sic). Really?!? I highly doubt these accusers actually know anything at all about what we teach. Daily I receive notifications from our members, from all walks of life, about how our training and our techniques saved their lives and the lives of their students. But you can lead a donkey to water and...he still remains a donkey. No point in arguing.
The point I wish to address today is older people. By this I am not referring to a specific age but more a state of being. I have known 80 year old's that you would not want to mess with. Some people age earlier, some later, but of what value is our training when we reach that older age? We cannot expect to do that flying jump kick like those old photos on the wall. We are certainly not going to wrestle them to the ground and try to get a joint lock. We can't be expected to box them for a few rounds, so of what benefit, if any, is there to Krav Maga at an older age?
I will use an illustration.
I read a book about a Jewish partisan during World War Two. He was part of a Jewish-Polish partisan group that lived for several years in the forests and fought back against the cursed Nazis. I recall how he described the transformation from a villager to a forest man.
A villager is certainly much more in touch with nature than a city dweller. Hardened farmers certainly adapted better to life in the forest than accountants, lawyers and journalists.
His life depended upon knowing when the enemy was coming. The Nazis paid heavily for information regarding Jews hiding out in the forests, or among the villagers; there were many eager to collect this bounty. Thus Jew hunting became a profitable pastime. This partisan describes how he became intimately involved with the forest. He explains how the slightest difference expressed itself in the forest. He would listen, he would watch, he would feel. His senses became sharpened. If something alien came into the forest he would see it in the behavior of the birds, of the animals, of the wolves. If something disturbed the forest he would see it in how the leaves blew slightly differently. The forest had a delicate balance, ecosystem, the slightest change would manifest itself to those who came to know the forest. Any trespasser would leave his mark. A campfire, a human relieving himself, footsteps; all these affected the forest. The forest felt this and reacted, its peace had been disturbed.
How does this relate to Urban Krav Maga in the year 2022? How does this relate to self-defense for older people?
Clearly as we grow older we face greater physical challenges. However there are still certain techniques which many older people can do which are very effective. For example, a back spinning jump kick is probably out, but a open hand strike to the throat would be effective, when properly trained. Certainly we can offer techniques that improve the older person's chance of survival. But there is more. The partisan in the forest learned to understand the language of the birds, of the trees, of the wind and the earth, of the forest itself. The Urban dweller can do the same. With years of Krav Maga training one becomes a different person, while the physical might become weaker the soul becomes brighter. The veteran Urban Warrior will pick up the subtle clues of the urban forest. He will notice changes in the atmosphere, in the sounds, he will see a different color, he will become more attuned. He will read body language and give off a certain scent that says, I am ready.
Thus, to answer my Social Media Critic who boldly claimed that older people are helpless and hopeless and must expect salvation from the Prime Minister I say Elders are doing it for themselves. They can be trained, an old warrior remains a warrior, in every fiber of his being.
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