July 14, 2023, Israel
Teaching Defense in and Around a Car in Costa Rica to security professionals.
The world is a place where fraud exists and is difficult to regulate. Organizations have emerged over time in an attempt to regulate industries and protect the innocent public from greed. And yet, a fool and his money are quickly separated. Many industries build on the premise that "a sucker is born every minute". Thus we say, Buyer Beware!
It is great that today we have the SEC, the Securities and Exchange Commision, and the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, and so on. We also have investigative journalists who do their job diligently and expose frauds. And yet, it is still incumbent upon us, the private citizens, to do our due diligence to expose fraud and to protect ourselves. This is true when it comes to technology, to food that could contain dangerous ingredients, and to self-defense courses.
Sadly, there is no body that governs martial arts or self-defense courses. It is a wide-open field. In many countries around the world, you do not need any sort of diploma or certification to open a school and start teaching. Believe it or not there are many out there who are self-promoted black belts, yes, it is true. There are many self-appointed grand masters.
In Israel there is a governing body that certifies instructors, to an extent. They do not actually test out your martial art or so called self defense system to see if it works, but they do insist that someone legitimate ranked you as a black belt, you must do a course on basic anatomy and first aid, and you must understand insurance and liability. But no one actually has any standard of testing if a system has value.
If a new tire is to be introduced, it must be proven that this tire is safe and appropriate for the vehicle. A gadget sold for home use, a heater or any appliance must be tested so that it does not cause your home to be burnt down. All these regulations are in place because of tragedies that have taken place. Helmets for riding motorcycles and bicycles were only introduced after many tragedies. We are a difficult breed to train.
and now of course we apply this to Krav Maga. Here too we need some form, some way, of testing that what we teach has true value.
Many great inventions come from being frustrated with the existing tools or methods available. At some point someone probably was riding his horse and buggy and wondered if there was a way of covering 20 miles in less than a day. Perhaps someone was on a ship, crossing the ocean in two weeks and wondering if there was a faster way. And I look at what I have trained in and wondered, is there a better way? Is there a way that is useful for the average person?
I have found that most self-defense systems require the following:
Many years of commitment.
Physical strength, speed, great coordination.
Endless repetition of movements that do not seem to have any practical application, which leads many to drop out.
High levels of secrecy, Trust the Master, secrets will be revealed in time. Sometimes even a cult like atmosphere.
Over the years we have developed our system, IKI - Israeli Krav International, now used all over the world and adopted by police forces and private security. We take a different approach to our techniques, our mentality, our mindset and our methods of testing. This is not the place to go into all those details and the aspects that we have innovated. Here I just wish to discuss methods of testing techniques and strategies.
We believe in the Scientific method of testing.
There are techniques we have been doing for many years, there are techniques that have been passed down to us from previous generations of teachers. When we test these techniques, we must be very careful not to be biased. This is a key point, one worth repeating. We must not be biased, we must let the results speak for themselves. We cannot influence the results.
Imagine working for the disgraced high tech medical company Theranos. There were results that were expected, tests were run, but, the results did not match the expectations. So they were run again, but alas, they still did not work. So the results were forged, faked, in order to give everyone the results they expected. Secrecy was maintained so that it did not get out that the design did not actually work.
We must do the opposite. We must let the test results speak to us, rather than imposing our viewpoint on the test results. If we expected a certain knife defense to play out a certain way, but test after test shows that people are not able to perform this under pressure, that people are getting stabbed (with training knives), then we must stop and reevaluate everything. In Hebrew we use the expression, Rega, Hoshvim, Just a moment to think. We must never ever manipulate the results to suit our own preconceptions of the desired results.
Again, I repeat, Do not manipulate results to suit your preconceptions or desired results.
If it does not work, take a deep breath and reevaluate everything. If a technique needs to be dropped, even a beloved technique that has been with you for a long time, let it go. Do not love it too much, an embrace, a delicate kiss and into the Krav Mag museum of past techniques. Move on.
I wish there were the equivalent of the SEC or FDA for evaluating self-defense techniques, perhaps some day it will emerge, but for now, we must evaluate our techniques in the most honest and brutal way. Too much is at stake.
Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.
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.
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