Krav Maga: a Small Child Shall Lead Them

December 8, 2022, Business lounge, Israel


My students, Israeli children, training in full-contact Krav Maga, and being tested by Itay Gil. (many years ago)

      ישעיהו פרק יא - וְנַעַר קָטֹן נֹהֵג בָּם

The book of Isaiah speaks of the messianic future and uses the expression, "And a small shall lead them." (Isaiah 11). The chapter speaks of a time when people shall live in peace, the lion shall dwell with the lamb, prey and predator shall live side by side and none shall live in fear. It is of course just a metaphor for an idyllic future where none shall fear for their safety and well-being. And of course, we have never achieved that. Instead, we live in a world filled with violence and hatred. We have made no progress.  

However, the image of a child leading the way has taken on a figurative meaning, that sometimes a child can see what adults cannot see. In modern terms some call this beginners luck, as when Daniel San catches the fly with Mr. Miyagi's chopsticks.

But it has nothing to do with luck. It is something entirely different. It has to do with Zen, with freeing your mind from preconceived notions, from freeing yourself from expectations, from what you think you should be doing. It is just "being". This, in fact, is part of the essence of IKI and what makes it different from other styles of Krav Maga. My challenge now is to try and explain this. May God give me the "power of expression", for being a teacher is not just in knowing, but in knowing how to pass on the knowledge and the wisdom. 

I approach self-defense (Krav Maga) with humility and simplicity. It has to work, and it has to be easy. If the technique depends on Strength, Speed and Precision, then it is dependent on a "Staff of Reeds" (see the book of Ezekiel, chapter 29, verse 6. The reference is to Israel depending upon Egypt as an alley, but they prove to a "staff of reed" an inefficient and faithless ally in times of need. The Israelites expected assistance from them when Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem; and they made a feint to help them but retired when Nebuchadnezzar went against them.

The easiest to teach are either the pure beginners or very humble and open-minded martial arts masters. Most martial artists come in with very definite ideas of how things should be done. Much of this is based on false notions and misunderstandings, bravado, ego, and too many movies. I show a simple move, and they complicated it. I say don't use strength, but they want to look good, so they use strength to try and impress me and others. But they do it in a way that they think I can't tell that they are putting muscle into. (I can tell, I am an old veteran at this game). I tell them to allow the technique to surprise them, but, they anticipate the technique. 95% or more of what I see on social media (Krav Maga) are anticipated attacks, vs. knife, stick etc., because that is the only way they can work. Thus, the training is not real, it is fake. It looks impressive but it is not reality training at all. No one wants to look bad, so all cheat! They refuse to be surprised, they will certainly use strength, and they will use whatever skills they have. 

This is not honest training, and they are fooling themselvs and their students. 

But who is being honest? and who is pure? Children. And a small child shall guide them as the prophet said. They are not "trying" to do the technique; they are just doing it. They are not concerned with what impression they are making or about to make, (True freedom as defined by Bruce Lee). It is like when there is a possible error in the writing of the Torah scroll. The tiniest error, faded letter, smudged letter, etc. in the Torah scroll, renders it invalid and one can no longer read from it until it is repaired. But "disqualifying" a Torah scroll will interrupt the service and require expert (expensive) repair. Thus, adults will be biased and may be likely to "see" the scroll as being OK. So whom do the rabbis call for the most honest evaluation? a small child. And a small child shall lead them. 

The child is honest, he is not moved by other considerations. He does not think of consequences, he is Zen, he just is. And now all this leads me to a letter written about a child/teacher. A letter which validates and confirms once again that truth of IKI Krav Maga, and why it is different. 

The letter comes from one of our fine instructors in Germany. I share it with you, as it was written. It speaks the truth.

Hi Moshe,

I just wanted to share a cute (actually it is) story about an 8-year-old boy, who trains with me for almost 2 years. His mother just started to attend the adult class at my place a few weeks ago and she brought him along last night because she didn‘t get a babysitter.
Well, he is walking up to the groups who were practicing as we are doing knife threats right now and starts correcting them by showing them the correct way to do the Ginga and the right way to hit the arm being knife threatened with a straight arm. at first the adults didn‘t believe him but after being showed to me they accepted him as a teacher. We had a great time last night. 
Hope you are good.

All the best


I wrote to Jorg, just to confirm that the boy was actually teaching correctly. 

Yes, he was doing it all correctly. This is what makes it so awesome and kinda cute, because some adults just focused on the hand movements and got stucked when being grabbed also. He just got the whole scene and corrected them and it worked. 



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


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