Preemptive Strikes
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

December 15, 2017, Israel

Back to "Karate Kid", Daniel visits the Miyagi family dojo in Okinawa and sees two signs on the wall. They are in Japanese characters and he asks Mr. Miyagi for their meaning.

“Here are the 2 Rules of Miyagi-Ryu Karate. Rule Number 1: ‘Karate for defense only.’ Rule Number 2: ‘First learn rule number 1.’” - 

We train in martial arts not to become bullies, not to pursue a career as a hit man but for self defense only. So is there a place for "fighting"? Is there a place for preemptive strike.

The answer is, as always, it depends. It depends on the situation.

The Israeli wars provide the perfect answer.

In 1967 the Israeli leaders heard the bellicose threats of the Gamal Abdel Nasser president of Egypt. They saw the movements of Egyptian troops and heard the threats of "We shall throw the Jews into the sea". The Israeli leaders believe this and took a preemptive strike. The Egyptian and Jordanian air forces were destroyed on the ground and the war was over in 6 days. And on the seventh day the people of Israel rested, and rejoiced.

In 1973 despite ample warning, the Israeli government did not launch a preemptive strike. As a result 2,812 Israeli soldiers were killed, the war lasted 3 weeks, and Israel suffered massive financial losses.

Upon learning of the impending attack, Prime Minister of Israel Golda Meir made the controversial decision not to launch a preemptive strike."

She was widely criticized for this decisions and  resigned on April 11, 1974, bowing to what she felt was the "will of the people" (Meir, Golda (1975). My Life)

Thus we see clearly the difference between taking a preemptive strike and not doing so.

But "Karate is for self defense only"?

Yes, Krav Maga is for self defense only but sometimes that necessitates a preventive strike.  Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. And as with Israel, as soon as the threat is removed the fighting ends. Israel could have easily taken Cairo and Damascus, both in 1967 and in 1973 but as soon as the threat to our survival was removed, the land rested. Our forces rested.

The moral correctness for this concept is Biblical and is expressed in the Babylonian Talmud

הַבָּא לַהֲרָגְךָ הַשְׁכֵּם לְהָרְגוֹ

"One who comes to kill you, arise earlier and kill him first" (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin, page 72 A)

True self defense at times includes a preemptive strike.

The Story of Israeli Fighting History
Israel: A Nation of Warriors
by Moshe Katz

The history of Israel as a fighting nation.

Over 300 pages, the history of Israel and the Jewish people as a fighting nation from the days of Abraham to our own times. The book covers the history and roots of Krav Maga and the modern Israeli Defense Forces. The book analyzes what makes Israeli security the best in the world.

Why makes Israeli airline security the best in the world? What is the Israeli approach and mentality that make us the leaders in the security industry and personal safety field, and being sought after all over the world?

The answers are in this book.

(cover by Arie Katz)

Israel, A Nation of Warriors, Amazon

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