Soft Reply
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International 

June 29, 2019, Israel

Picture any advertisement for Krav Maga, picture any film scene with tough guys. Someone is insulted, "disrespected" and then they drive the other person's head into the wall. In a classic movie scene a man feels his friend was disrespected, all over an issue of a pen. He takes the pen and proceeds to stab the other person with it, as he falls to the ground accompanied by livid curses he continues to kick the person until he is lifeless.

Imagine the image of the Bad Ass Tough Guy Krav Maga instructor, this is indeed what you would expect. An insult will be met by a torrent of violence. The instructor will "teach the guy a lesson he will never forget". 

We teach self defense, we teach anti bullying. And perhaps many will think that we need to have a "zero tolerance" policy, i.e. we tolerate no insult, no abuse whatsoever. We shall hit them with the "Bible of Krav Maga" in all its force. 

I do not think this way. I do not believe this way, for our Krav Maga is based on a different Bible, the original one, and the message is very different.

The entire approach can be summed up in a few words, one verse from the book of Proverbs.

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Proverbs 15,1)

מַעֲנֶה רַּךְ יָשִׁיב חֵמָה וּדְבַר עֶצֶב יַעֲלֶה אָף

The idea is we do not always need to respond with violence, we need to respond responsibly in the best way to minimize violence, to ourselves and others. 

A rabbi I knew would respond as follows: When someone would act aggressively towards him, looking to provoke an angry response, he would say, "I choose my friends and I choose my enemies, I did not choose you as either." He would then calmly walk away. That is not a sign of weakness but of strength.

If someone were rude, he would say, you have just introduced yourself, allow me to introduce myself. He would introduce himself not by a violent response but by a kind and soft reply. This is true wisdom and true strength. He did not feel the need to prove himself. He was already the master. 

Giving the classic tough guy reply, such as Touch me and your first Krav Maga lesson is free, is both immature and counter productive. I prefer the Biblical approach of knowing the best way to reply as is explained elsewhere. With each you reply as it is needed, and one should never overreact. The wrong response only provokes anger.

This is not a cowardly approach, not at all. The Bible is filled with warriors who knew how to fight back, when needed. They knew how to use the sword and the word, as needed. 

Our Krav Maga is based on the wisdom and lessons of the Bible, not on Hollywood stuntmen or mafia godfathers. 

Violence is always the last resort. 

Israel: A Nation of Warriors
By Moshe Katz

The history of Israel as a fighting nation, the true story. Biblical fighting and Biblical wisdom. 

Books by Moshe Katz

Also available on Amazon and Kindle

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