August 11, Bidvest lounge, Tambo airport, Johannesburg, South Africa
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IKI Seminar Kempton Park, 2018, organized FH Havinga, assisted by Alan Mann
Browsing through the magazines in the lounge I find some interesting ones about the South African business economy. As a former Economics student, banker, Wall Street employee, and as someone who works with Africa, this fascinates me. In Many ways Israel and South Africa are similar; young emerging economies, an incredibly diverse and multi cultural population that is not used to working together, and shunned by most of the world.
Sitting around airport I pay close attention: Who is traveling? White, Black, Colored, Indian? Who is well dressed, who is on business trip. I look at the advertisements, what image are they trying to show us, the public? I listen to the commercials on TV, again, what is the hidden message?
I compare and contrast this to the stories I hear while in South Africa, the regular people I meet, the one's who are successful and the ones who are struggling. I want to hear the voice of the people and I want to see the goals of the government. Casual conversations are my subject of research. Off hand remarks by people I meet bring back images of my professors in college, long ago, and the lessons come to life. Theoretical ideas uttered in the class room setting prove true on the harsh realities of a troubled country, still plagued by issues of the past. There are always opportunities, there are always windows open, for those who dare to open them.
One of those people is a young man of 34, Bevan Ducasse, he has achieved a great deal already and is described as a genius but he says, "I certainly don't think I've 'made it' because I see so much more to do" (Brainstorm magazine, July 2018, South Africa, page 28)
He writes some messages which resonate with me, and the application to self defense and Krav Maga are clear. "That's what's interesting about business - you have to continuously evolve. We pioneer new ideas, but you always have to test it against the market and based on the feedback, you need to pivot and adapt."
Very wise words indeed.
I am often exposed to video clips of great "masters" from other systems of Krav Maga. With all due respect I am constantly disappointed. I see the same techniques that I trained in about 30 years ago. Not a single change took place, not a single innovation. All I can assume is that not a single moment was spent thinking, does this really work?
I am disappointed by those who are not forward thinking, who live in the past and worship false masters. I see techniques that I trained in for years, used and taught but gradually came to the conclusion that they are ineffective for real self defense, that the odds of actually pulling these off in a real life violent situation are less than slim to none. And yet others continue to teach this as gospel.
Our DVDs are constantly updated, which involves a lot of work. If you are viewing an IKI DVD from five years ago odds are that half the techniques have changed or evolved. We do not stand still!
We are constantly reviewing and analyzing our techniques. And then as the businessman said, we test it against the market, i.e. we take it on the road. One of my advantages is that I travel the world teaching Krav Maga and observing students, all kinds of students, house wives and special government agents, school guards and presidential guards, SWAT team members and little children, I take it to the street and I look for the feedback. And then, as the man said, we pivot and adapt. We do not stand still.
Mr. Ducasse continues, "You have to learn all the time because the minute you think you have made it is the minute you are going to fall short" (ibid, page 31, brainstorm.co.za)
And yet people are out there teaching outdated techniques, or crazy techniques they developed themselves that are showy and violent but ineffective. I wish there were a board that could disqualify those who should not be teaching.
We move forward, we are never content, we do not rest on the success of the past because as the man said, there is still so much to do.
Until every man, woman, and child can walk in peace, our work will not be done.
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