Parallel Lives Krav Maga

March 19, 2023, Pretoria, South Africa

There is an old expression in politics; where we stand depends on where we sit. The meaning is - Where we stand on an issue depends on where we are in life. When we are in the opposition, we may view it one way. When we are in power, we will probably view it differently. Our opinion on the issue depends on our station, or situation in life. If you are an exporter of good, you prefer your local currency to be weak, so that you get a higher price abroad. If you are an importer, you prefer the lower currency to be higher, so that you have greater purchasing power.

When visiting countries around the world to teach Krav Maga, I usually encounter a certain type of audience; those already committed to training. I meet the students that come to my seminars, and I meet people in law enforcement. Those who come to the seminars are often victims of violent crimes, or people wise enough to come train before violence strikes them. My style of Krav Maga does not attract those who are in interested in martial arts as a sport. Unlike many styles of Krav Maga we focus exclusively on defense and avoiding violence. We do not offer boxing and kickboxing or MMA and pretend it is self-defense. Therefore, I am teaching a group of people that need no convincing of the importance of our training.

However, this is a small segment of the population. In every society there are those who live their own lives quietly without concerning themselvs much with the political or social turmoil around them. and most people do not think about self-defense, until after the fact.

I view parallel societies within each society. I view those who deal in law enforcement. They are painfully, very painfully, aware of the serious violence that takes place. They visit the crime scenes. Others deal with the victims, those that survive. There are therapists and psychologist. There are also those who clean up the crime scenes, they too can feel the violence. All these groups see the dark side of society, the crime, the criminals, the gangs, the pimps, the cartels. But others who live beside them see nothing at all. They live in the same space but live a parallel life. Violence may be on the news, on the TV or in the newspaper, but they mentally push it aside, for them life is good.

I recall in Australia, a certain group. Our instructor who worked the door of a club, knew them as a potentially very violent and ruthless group, while a friend who worked in an art gallery viewed them as creative and expressive. Same group, but two completely different views. Two completely different parallel lives. One sees the darkness in life, the ugliness of this world, while another lives peacefully blissfully unaware of any danger, until it is too late. 

In South Africa everyone is aware of the crime, they cannot avoid it. The level of security is very high. No one can claim ignorance. The barbed wire and alarm systems that are standard make it impossible for anyone to be unaware. And yet, here too, the vast majority of the population does not train in any form of self-defense. Here too, even with the clear indications of danger all around, most choose to continue to live with the attitude of "it will never happen to me".

I have met victims of home invasions, I have met victims of gang rape, women held in captivity for long periods of time as they were repeatedly raped. I have met countless people who have been held up, with guns, knives. I have met people who were abducted and held for ransom. I have seen the scars, physical and emotional. These people have had to transition for one universe to the other universe. And yet, side by side live their friends, going shopping in the same places, dining in the same restaurants, but leading completely different lives, a parallel life where they perceive no danger. 

And I try to reach these people, to help them find a balance so that they can continue to live peacefully but yet experience to some degree the parallel life that they willfully ignore. Evil walks beside us, can we see it?


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


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