September 24, 2020
Take the time to develop a relationship with your teacher, don't learn karate from a book, or from YouBoobTube
I have discussed this matter before but as the issue has come up again recently I have decided to address this in a blog in the hope that I will reach your ears. Instructors are trying to promote their classes and increase their business, students often what to show off their newly acquired Krav Maga skills. They post videos of themselves, or their students, performing Krav Maga techniques and they share them on Facebook, Instagram etc.
I do not do this and I am opposed to it.
Why don't I do it?
Why don't I share my years of knowledge, wisdom etc... with the world? As one instructor from France asked me, If you think your techniques are superior, show us! Let us discuss this openly and honestly (on Facebook) Why are you afraid to share your techniques on Facebook or a martial arts forum? What are you afraid of?
Good question and, I shall answer it.
First, this is what I do for a living. Why buy a cow if you can get the milk for free? I have an on line distance training program, I have membership plans, I have Krav Maga DVDs and Vimeos. If I give it all away for free on the internet why should anyone sign up and actually pay me for all my hard work? I know there are many who refuse to pay for such services, they prefer to scour the free content and "train" this way. Thus they become "You Tube Masters".
I want to avoid these types.
Then there are the perpetual critics. They will find fault in any system that is not theirs and make rude, nasty, comments. I have no interest in wasting my time with "Face Book Self Defense". My time is precious.
And then there are those who might be sincere, but you cannot understand a system by watching a small segment, or one technique. The beauty of IKI, the practically of it, comes largely from the fact that only a few simple concepts can be easily learned and applied to a vast variety of different situations. Showing one specific gun defense on Facebook or Instagram will not bring this to light. A small piece of the puzzle does not show the entire puzzle in all its glory.
I am reminded of a Kung Fu school I was interested in visiting. I was in New York for a month and I wanted to sample as many martial arts as I could. Most schools had no problem with me coming in for one class and I had many wonderful experiences that I cherish to his very day. But there was one school that refused to let me visit, and even from this I learned a lesson.
It was White Eyebrow Kung Fu, known also as Bak Mei gung fu, a style dating back to 16th century China. I wanted to at least observe a lesson. The master answered the phone and said, "Why watch? if train - train, no watch watch. Goodbye" and he hung up the phone. I was saddened by the reply I understood his message; this is not a show, and he has no obligation to entertain me. If I am serious about training I should join his school and train. Coming for one lesson is of little value. Perhaps I will only see the warm ups, or some drills, or perhaps it is a beginners class. Seeing one class will not give me an accurate view of the style. If I truly want to explore the style I must make a commitment and join for a period of time. I understood, I accepted and respected his reply. I still hope some day to be able to explore this style. But I understood this first and important lesson. You must devote yourself to training. You must commit yourself.
That was many years ago but the lesson is still fresh in my mind. I will not be judged by one video, I will not put myself out there as a clown in a circus. If you want to train, come to train, enter humbly and make a commitment. There is no other way.
I have seen youtube videos being mocked by members of other styles. They will stop the video at an awkward moment, perhaps when the instructor is deliberately slowing down to make a point or illustrate an angle of the technique, naturally this is for educational purposes and not how the instructor would do it for real. Yet the mockers will make it look silly, add a "laugh track" as if the audience is laughing at the ridiculous technique. Naturally the instructor cannot defend himself at this point from his arm chair computer critics, and who has the time to waste on such Cretans?
To understand IKI you must at least come to a seminar, or sign up for classes, in person or online, and give it time.
Thus I do not share videos of full techniques. But yet, we all need to advertise now and then, I do understand this and therefore we have produced several "montage" videos which show some of the action without giving away the entire technique. This is not only for commercial reasons, I honestly believe you will not understand the technique just from seeing a quick video. As Mr. Miyagi said to Daniel San in Karate Kid part 1, when he saw him training from a book, "Ah, learn karate from book, very interesting". Mr. Miyagi is politely saying that this is not the proper way to learn Karate, or any martial art. You need an instructor, a Sen-sei, one who came before you, one who can guide you. Sharing techniques on Facebook or YouTube will not benefit you or the student.
Now, why I am opposed to our students sharing videos of themselves doing IKI techniques, or any techniques, on social media. There are two possibilities; either you are doing the technique correctly, as I teach it, or you are doing it poorly.
If you are doing it correctly, than it is as I stated above, you are giving away the IKI shop for free. Why sign up for the On Line program if you can wait for a technique now and then for free? And, you are showing only an isolated technique without explaining the concept of it, thus giving an inaccurate and usually misleading view of IKI. I have known instructors who saw such videos and decided against joining IKI. (initially, until they met me years later).
If, on the other hand, you or your students are doing the technique poorly, or incorrectly, naturally this will reflect badly on IKI on the whole, and damage the reputation of ALL our instructors all over the world. This is a dangerous, and very thoughtless and selfish, act.
There is a third possibility; wearing an IKI T shirt, using the IKI banner, and demonstrating techniques that are clearly not IKI. Sometimes this is done innocently by students who are unaware of the damage they are doing to the reputations of our instructors. Other times this is done because the instructor feels these techniques are good advertisement, or look cool. We had a group from Eastern Europe who did this, on the international stage, with full IKI uniforms to boot! They claimed that the producers of the show in which they appeared demanded these techniques for the "action" so at first I let it slide, but eventually I realized that they actually believed these techniques worked better. They clearly had never fully understood the IKI method and were stuck on the old classic Krav Maga which have outgrown and discarded for the most part. On television interviews they demonstrated techniques which I demonstrate as what NOT to do! I could not allow this to continue. Given a choice, they chose to leave IKI. Sadly their videos are still out there, causing us harm. People write me, I have seen your videos and all Krav Maga is the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is some of the damage caused by posting videos of poor technique, non-IKI technique or inaccurate information.
IKI is a unique system of Krav Maga. I and our instructors worldwide have worked very hard for decades to develop a more effective, user-friendly, simplified, style of self-defense based on the true original principles and goals of Krav Maga. Therefore it is our policy to only post "action videos" (available from IKI, or with approval from IKI) and not random videos of your classes without regard for the damage it may cause all of us.
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