June 1, 2020, Israel
Success comes in a strange pattern. If you are an artist, a creator, whether you express yourself in the form of music, poetry, dance, sculpture, painting, or any art form, the pattern is usually the same. You create because you must, it is you, there is an inner force driving you, an inner light that ignites you, a fire that burns within you, a message you need to express, and you become a creator. You are basically becoming a creator for yourself, as a means of self expression and self actualization, this is who you are and what you are meant to become. You want to become the best You that you can be.
And then success comes, and ruins everything. Success is the death of the artist.
Let us take a musician as an example. You create your own music, your own unique style, you have your own unique voice. You toil for years, unknown, unrecognized, and that is just fine. And then one day, without any explanation, your song is "heard". Suddenly, overnight it seems, you are a celebrity, everyone loves you, everyone wants to be around you. You can do no wrong. People are singing your song. The words you wrote in the privacy of your home and your heart are now on everyone's lips. You "made it".
But what happens next?
Now you must stay on top. You are on the treadmill and if you slow down you will fall off. You must keep up the pace. Now people have expectations. You want to keep your status, now you are getting used to it. As your followers grow so do the demands. Some want the old songs, some want new songs. Some want you to stay with the early style of music that made you famous, others want to see you grow in new directions. You want to please everyone, but you can't.
Now you are on top, for the moment, but everyone wants something from you. Everyone has a deal to offer you; write a song that will become a commercial for some shampoo or deodorant, do a duet with Mitsi the singing monkey, whatever. And you don't want to lose the spotlight. With success comes the need to please a growing number of diverse viewpoints. Gone is the creator writing for himself in the privacy of his heart, in his bedroom.
Many an author has had to change her life story to make it more commercial, more saleable, more dramatic. Where your agent tells you that a certain part of your life is boring, you change it because you want to see your second book published and the publisher wants a sequel to match the success of your first book, based on your own heart wrenching experiences. You compromise but now the book is no longer true. The truth is what the people want to hear. And you no longer the creator but the creation of others.
and now...Krav Maga. We start with paying our dues, decades of training. Eighteen years non-stop training with one instructor. Day in, Day out, on the matt, no complaints. You miss family events, show up to meetings with a flat lip and blood shot eyes. Never miss a lesson, never miss a training. And then traveling abroad to train with the best instructors and fighters of a generation, a quest for the truth, a search for what works for a regular person. Soon there are requests for lessons, and you develop a local following. For years you teach for low pay and little to know recognition, you raise a generation of children. And then, after many years, you are discovered, first by a school, and then by elite security companies and then the day comes when you receive the e mail, will you travel aboard, all expenses paid, stay in hotels, be driven around and treated like a king and get paid for it, just share your great knowledge with us.
And soon students, instructors, masters, flock to you from near and far, please start an organization, please teach us, train us to think like you, certify us. And suddenly you realize that everyone is singing your song, the one you wrote for yourself in the privacy of your heart, in the privacy of your home. Now everyone wants it. But as the following grows so do the demands; we want to change this technique, we want to "tweak" this move, we want to be certified when we are not actually teaching your techniques but our own style that we learned elsewhere and which contradicts the very nature of your approach.
And you can't please everyone.
The best advice I ever heard on this matter is...Keep doing what you are doing. Those who need us will find us. We may never be the most successful commercial Krav Maga association, but that was never the goal. I remain true to myself because I have to look myself in the mirror. Students will come and go, this is not a cult, all are free to leave as they please.
A rabbi once told me, live your life dancing backwards and laughing. No one will understand. The meaning is live your life the way you want to be, dance backwards when everyone else is dancing forwards, laugh, because you don't really care what others think, you are doing it your own way. You were born to be you and no one else. I remain true to myself.
IKI, Israeli Krav International will continue as it started; free, independent, beholden to no man. If you wish to be part of this unique journey you are welcome to join us, and unlike the Hotel California you can not only check out any time you want, you can also leave.
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