Repeating the Obvious

January 2, 2024, Israel

I am sometimes accused of harping on a point, or as my cousin Susan once said, "You have a knack for pointing out the obvious", and yet, as obvious as some things are, we need to not only repeat them, but work on not forgetting them. 

The great rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto of Italy wrote that we tend to ignore the obvious, we tend to not focus on the mundane, the routine, as it is so normal, so regular. We prefer to focus on the extraordinary, the unusual. However, he points us, this is a mistake. It is those things that we gloss over, that we take for granted, those are the very things we need to focus on. 

He explains that eating, sleeping, drinking, are not things one needs to "work on", as they come naturally. However, he points out, things such as treating others with kindness, being patient, taking time to listen, as obvious as they may seem, they actually require a lot of attention and focus. Precisely because they seem simple and obvious, they need to be focused on, for as obvious and mundane as they are, so is the neglect of them easy. 

When I begin a seminar with a new group, I stress the important of Awareness. I say, there is no technique that I can teach you that is as important as Awareness, and there is no technique I can teach you that is so powerful that it can overcome the sin of Lack of Awareness. And then I go on to elaborate. 

And yes, I see the beginners with that look. C'mon, really, OK, sure, yes, be careful, watch where you are going, be aware of your surroundings, don't get into cars with strangers, blah blah blah, yada yada, we all know this! (Like why I am totally wasting their time), but they are wrong, and I am right. We need to go over this. And I think of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto. Yes, the obvious needs reinforcement, and if I have a knack for pointing out the obvious, that is great. 

The other day two guards in our town were stabbed. The official reports do not give us much to work with. I need details so I can learn from these cases. How were they stabbed? How is it that a terrorist succeeded in stabbing two IDF trained security professionals? How is it that nearly always the guards and soldiers fail to protect themselves? 

The failure is so rampant that it has become almost a given that the first stab or two are "unblockable", even though they are very much blockable, if you are trained.  

I have some experience with guards, as they are everywhere in Israel. There are places where you are stopped and questioned but for the most part, not. Someone did a spot check on security guards and came back with very disappointing results, lackadaisical behavior, constant checking of cellphones, general lack of attention to what is going on around them. This is not the case everywhere, but it should not be the case anywhere, our lives are at stake. 

Now I understand. I know what it is like to be standing, or sitting around for hours when nothing really ever happens. In fact, you can be a guard at the mall for 20 years and nothing exciting will ever happen. You can be a security guard at a bank for 20 years and on the day before your retirement you experience your first armed bank robbery and are shot dead. We are lulled into a sense of dullness. 

Being a security guard is very challenging precisely because as it involves hours of being attentive while nothing really noteworthy takes place. But there is too much at stake, so I will point out the obvious again - Awareness. The key to self-defense is Awareness, all the time. And yes, Susan, I do have a knack for pointing out the obvious, and I must, for as obvious as it is, so is its neglect. Precisely because it is obvious, it is neglected. 

I was told that in the Israeli army the following took place. A guard was told to write down in a notebook everything that happened on his first day. The page was blank. Officer: What didn't you write anything? Guard: Well, Sir, because nothing happened.

Try again, pay closer attention. 

Long story short by the end of the week is notebook was full every day. 8:00, a fly whizzed by me. 8:01, a lizard crawled out from under a rock, 8:02, a leaf fell off the tree.

The point is that if you train yourself to look for little, minor, seemingly insignificant details, not only will you be far more attentive and alert, but you will also prevent yourself from becoming board. I recall a waiter in Costa Rica who worked at the same restaurant for 30 years, he would look out the window and tell me what each light was; an office building, a church, a school, a private home. He had been paying attention for 30 years and he was not bored, he was fascinated. Every light represented a life, a person, a family. Every light was slightly different and was interesting to him. I was impressed that he saw so much that I had missed. If there was the slightest change, he would know it. That is exactly what we need from our guards, not scrolling down Facebook. 

So I will point out the obvious, it is difficult being a security guard, but there is so much at stake. We are all security guards. We may not be protecting a military facility or securing the borders of our town, but we are our own personal VIP guards. We must never let down our guard for an attacker might be right around the corner looking for an opportunity, let's not be that opportunity. 


Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.

Understand the Israeli Fighting Mentality - Israel a Nation of Warriors by Moshe Katz


What is the cultural background of Krav Maga?  What makes it unique? What makes the Israeli military so effective? Why are Israeli security systems used all over the world?

What are the Biblical origins of Krav Maga and who was the first Krav Maga instructor?

What weapons and military strategies did our Biblical ancestors use?

How has Krav Maga developed in Israel and what are its goals?

All that and more in this unique book.

Books by Moshe Katz

Start Your REAL Training TODAY

Or is someone coming to save you?

IKI Krav Maga online distance training - Leading to ranks and certification.

DVDs from Israel

Tour and Train Israel Experience

IKI Membership Options.

Krav Maga Certification

Krav Maga Instructors

Krav Maga Seminars

Personal Training - If you are interested in personal Krav Maga training please contact us on the form below. 


Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.