Retrieving your Tools
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

May 31, 2019, Israel

Are your techniques locked inside a tool box?

I recall a friend back in Brooklyn, he saw himself as a pretty tough guy, ready to fight off anti-Semites and muggers. If the police ever stopped him he might be in trouble; the trunk of his car was filled with nunchucks, a hatchet, and other "cool" paraphernalia that he picked up from army surplus stores and magazine orders.   The problem is two fold: one, he was not really trained in the use of any of these. He did not seem to realize that just owning a weapon does not make you a weapon. The second problem was, as stated, that the weapons, the tools, were in the trunk.

This has powerful implications both literally and figuratively. 

If you are in your car and the tools are in the trunk, well, they are not really readily accessible. Most likely you will not have the time to access your tools real time. I did see a guy who was insulted by an anti-Semite, he stopped the car, went to the trunk, grabbed a baseball bat and chased the hater down the subway steps. Most legal systems would not regard that as self defense. If the thug pulled you out of your car, those tools in the trunk would be of no use.

While this is easy to understand I hope the analogy can also be understood. Most martial arts techniques, while they may be excellent, are like tools in the trunk of your car. They are very difficult to access in that split second that you need them. They are not "real time" self defense. 

The techniques themselves may be "OK" but for the most part they are so difficult to access when you need them that for all practical purposes they are useless.

The trunk in question is your brain. Let us use another analogy.

We often freeze on exams, we studied and studied but at the moment of truth we just blank out, we can't remember anything. And please note, the stress of a test in school is far less than the stress of a gun pointed at you.

There are courses where people teach "how to take a test", i.e. the skill of taking a test is not the same as the skill of knowing the material. Plenty of knowledgeable people flunk tests because they are simply "not good test takers". But this can be helped. There are courses to teach one how to take the test. This is no less important than the actual knowledge itself. 

Self defense is the same, learning practical techniques is vitally important, and sadly most Krav Maga schools do not teach practical techniques. They have fallen into the trap that Bruce Lee called "The Classical Mess".

But more than that, students are not conditioned or trained to be able to access their techniques real time. It becomes a matter of "I should've said that, I should've done that", but that is all too late. 

We specifically work on training our students not only with simple practical, adaptable techniques, but also on how they can be accessed when the stress level hits the ceiling. 

And that my friends makes all the difference between Krav Maga being just another martial art, to it being a real self defense system. 

Dare to be different. Dare to think. 

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