June 23, 2016, El Al Business lounge, Israel
The coffee is good, the atmosphere is nice. I am sitting in the business lounge, it took a long time to get here. I enjoy being here, I enjoy being treated well. Success.;You have to pay your dues.
So I started with kids, taught regular classes, summer camps, even birthday parties. I had to take all my equipment in my car, make several trips from the parking lot, and then after the birthday party clean up the junk, the stickiness and...whatever.
I paid my dues.
I fought full contact, I never backed away from a fight, I did kick boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling, mixed martial arts.
I paid my dues.
Training in the heat, in the cold, the occasional visits to the hospital, the travel...
I paid my dues.
And now I sit in the business lounge and I realize the journey has only just begun.
I look at others and I see that they have forgotten. They have lost their way and they cannot find the road back home. And I am saddened.
Today I had to say goodbye to a former instructor. He began with so much promise. First, when he had no money, he flew to another state to train with me, attend a series of seminars. Then he followed up by inviting me to his state. He inquired and spoke to other instructors; what does Moshe like? how should he be treated?
He made great efforts to treat me with respect. He had been training in martial arts for many years and finally, with IKI Krav Maga, found what he was looking for. He was talented and he was humble.
But then success changed him.
He joined another association that promised a better business plan, a marketing plan. I did not like this company. I cannot call them a martial arts association, only a company, for it was all about business. Martial arts was just their business tool. Imagine a doctor studying medicine only to be rich.
This saddens me.
He invited me for a seminar and apologetically explained his decision to join another martial arts association, "I know their techniques are worthless, I only joined them for the marketing business aspects. I will never use or teach their techniques, only the IKI techniques that you teach."
Those words proved hollow. Money blinds and distorts everything. And soon things began to change.
During my seminar a child came in. He did not realize a seminar was going on. Of course I assumed, I knew, that the instructor would explain to the 8 year old boy and his mother that an instructor is here (in the USA) from Israel, that his chief instructor was here from Israel. The child's trial lesson would of course wait.
But lo how wrong I was. He politely explained to me that this company he belonged to had strict policies. No client is turned away. A contract must be signed before this child leaves today. Business comes first. So the instructor left my seminar, missing out on the new techniques, missing out on his own training and he went to teach the child and do his "sell". The dojo was decorated with silly motivational posters showing of course an Asian child, a black child, a white girl, all the classic marketing gimmicks. All that matters was business.
Soon everything began to change. At one point he said, "Had I stayed with the original program I would still be teaching out of my garage".
Perhaps that would have been better.
What is life about? What really matters?
We are dealing with our lives, with the lives of our loved ones. What is the price that you will sell your mother?
What price do we place on our children?
But business is business.
Soon the politenss was gone, the respect was gone, all that mattered was business.
And I have a question to ask him, to ask all of you instructors;
Why did you originally want to become a Krav Maga instructor?
Please answer that question, quietly, to yourself, and then look at the people you love. Answer the question with honesty.
We grow arrogant and we forget why we started this journey. Business class lounge, newspaper articles about us, TV and radio interviews, honors and awards...and soon some of us forget why we started this journey, to help others, to make this world a safer place.
At what point did you sell out? and at what price? Whose child are you sacrificing on the alter of the Almighty Dollar?
I have a friend facing a life and death situation right now. And suddenly we wax philosophical, suddenly we remember what life is all about. Suddenly we have time for our friends, and we are willing to make long journeys. But what about until that happens?
We must remember, we must remember why we started this journey and this will keep us on the correct path.
Integrity, honesty, life and death, think about it.