old warriors
by Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

July 24, 2020, Israel  

Moshe with a local Bedouin leader. 

It is a hot summer morning in Israel. July in the Judean desert is not a time for the tourists. Camels and goats are comfortable but most others stay in. The local Bedouin will prefer the shade of the traditional tents, sipping on a cup of coffee that most others would find bitter and distasteful. And for some reason this morning I am transported back to a very different morning, back in New York.

Why? Can we ever know the wonderings of the soul. To be honest I have been going through a very challenging time lately, sleep comes slowly and briefly and then is interrupted by anxiety and worry, and anger. I woke up with pain, I felt the affect of aging, the journey of the years. And suddenly I saw myself rising early in my Brooklyn home back in the late 1980s. It was very different to my current situation, but yet similar. 

Again, it was with pain, from low kicks and blows sustained the previous night in training. I would attend class after my university studies, and then again in the morning before work started. Rising early in the morning, going out in the bitter cold and taking the train to the city was not easy. But I was motivated, I had a goal. I was going to improve and someday I would earn a black belt. 

I can feel the aches and pains as if it were now. The struggle to get out of bed and face the cold winter with the snow sticking to my beard, and then the crowded uncomfortable scene on the subway. 

You get up every morning from your alarm clock's warning
Take the 8:15 into the city
There's a whistle up above and people pushin', people shovin'
And the girls who try to look pretty
And if your train's on time, you can get to work by nine
And start your slaving job to get your pay  (Randy Bachman)

Only for me it was not the 8:15 but the 6:15 or earlier.

And somehow this morning, so many years later, I feel the same. It is the same struggle, only different. We are born to struggle, and to overcome. And as I struggle this morning I am united with my younger self and I am motivated, I am still the warrior and I will not give up, ever.

All the training over all the years, it is with me. All the struggles, all the challenging opponents that I feared to face, they are with me. And I know that the old warrior lives, the spirit lives.

This is my message to myself this morning, which I decided to share with you as well, remember you are the warrior, perhaps older, perhaps with more aches and pains, perhaps not as good looking as you once were, but the lessons, the life scars, the battles, are with you and have become you. You are still the warrior and you will walk into the storm. And here comes another day.

Moshe back at the Oyama dojo, Manhattan, USA 1990's. 

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