June 29, 2023, Israel
Moshe Katz teaching in Costa Rica (and worldwide)
I take self-defense seriously, very seriously. I have spent a lifetime pursuing the Holy Grail of self-defense, what is the best system, where can it be found?
Over my many years of training, trial and error and experimenting with a vast variety of styles all over the world, I have reached some conclusions. I have worked with every kind of person imaginable, from the top athletes, literally professional sportsmen, Hall of Fame athletes, professional wrestlers, top security agents, police and military, undercover cops, presidential guards, to people with disabilities, military veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, people with brain damage, children, stay at home moms, people with cerebral palsy, in wheelchairs, or missing limbs. I have seen it all.
I have worked with different cultures; American, Australian, the terrible violence in South Africa, with Russians, Ukrainians, Kazaks, with South Americans, with those who have faced off with the cartels and drug lords, with security teams in the outback of Australias Northern Territory, with military and security all over the world. and of course, with Israeli soldiers and counter-terror forces. I have experienced it all and gained from each experience to form a world view.
I have delved into their cultures to understand them better, learned their languages, sat in their homes and listened to their stories. IKI - Israeli Krav International, is a product of all this.
I have come to the realization, to the sad truth, that most of the time spent in martial arts training is useless for real-world self-defense. This was a difficult and bitter pill to swallow, but one must accept the truth. Leave all the cool fancy stuff to the movies. Leave all the Bad Ass Tough Guy wanna be crap to the films, it makes for great YouTube fun.
Leave your Tough Guy ego at the door, no one is really impressed, and guess what? Almost no one is really tough. See "Tough Guys Sing"
I believe in a simple, logical, Krav Maga that works for everyone.
I do not believe in Krav Maga for women, or Krav Maga for Big Tough Guys, I believe in one simple system that works for everyone. If you need to be big and strong for it to work, of what value is it?
Here is a rule: The attacker will be bigger and stronger and tougher than you. He is not stupid. This is his life, his chosen career. You will never stand in his shoes, you will never have his street experience. He lives by the sword, or the knife, or the gun. He is waiting for you, he is ready for you.
You, on the other hand, are not ready, you are busy worrying about your final exams in school, or getting to work on time, or buying flowers for your anniversary etc. And BOOM, he comes out of nowhere. You are not going to "Kung Fu Fighting" him like Jackie Chan in the movies. You will not be Bad Ass Clint Eastwood, you will panic, you will freeze, and like a student at an exam, you will fail.
We need a system that takes all that into account, a system that incorporates the psychology of the attacker and the defender. We need to understand how the body and mind react physiologically to the fear and shock. The systems that I have studied did not do that. They focused on techniques.
We focus on concepts.
We have no memorization. We understand concepts and apply them to a vast variety of situations, some known to us, and some not yet known.
We have one thread that runs through all our techniques, what works standing works on the ground, the defense for a punch is a defense for a knife. (To understand this, you will have to come train, this is not meant to be a manuel for those who do not want to train with us. The answers are not in this blog, but in our training).
We believe that every technique must meet these three requirements:
Easy to Learn
Easy to Apply in a variety of situations
Easy to Remember.
If it does not meet these criteria, how can it work?
You might learn a super technique from White Eyebrow Kung Fu and another great technique from Choy Lee Fut, but when the shit hits the fan how are you going to remember all this? Your mind and body will not react fast enough, it just will not happen. This is the reality. So we keep it simple.
We use only Gross Motor Moves, nothing fancy. And here is the key, we do not rely upon Speed, Precision, Strength.
I will explain.
Any Bad technique can work, at least in training, when "forced" with muscle and aggression. Let us analyze what happens when your technique relies upon Speed, Precision and Strength, in order to work. i.e. without those, the technique will fail.
Our approach is that of course these are positive qualities to have, it is great to have these abilities, it is great to be strong, but if your technique depends upon these qualities to work, it is not a good technique, it is not a reliable technique, and in all likelihood, it will fail in the moment of truth.
Even if you think that perhaps after many years of dedicated training, devoting your life to martial arts, you might achieve this level, this ability, good for you, but what about everyone else? What about people who cannot devote their lives to training, they have families, jobs, other obligations, what about them?
In my view Krav Maga is for everyone and anyone who wants to learn to defend themselves, it is not only for those who have the time and ability to reach master levels. However, I remain of the opinion, that even those who reach the highest levels in martial arts, will NOT be able to defend themselvs. I maintain they are not prepared for the reality and cruelty of real crime outside the dojo.
I have seen all the styles of Krav Maga, and this certainly applies to other martial arts as well, what do I see? It is all summarized in a song.
Everybody was kung fu fighting
Those cats were fast as lightning
In fact, it was a little bit frightening
But they fought with expert timing
...and everybody knew their part
What do we see; Expert timing, everyone knew their part, fast as lightening.
Well, we are not as fast as lightening and we do not have expert timing. Let's break it down
Speed - When you are walking down the street and suddenly some lowlife criminal pulls out a knife on you, you will not be so fast. Your body will begin to freeze, you will not respond as you imagine. Everything will seem like slow motion. You will not be thinking clearly. Your attacker will be in a hurry, and he has the experience to pull this off. Speed? I don't think you will respond so fast; I don't think you will be fast enough to grab his arm with the knife. No way. In order for you to grab him, you must be faster than him. But he is ready for you, he has the greater experience. If your technique depends upon speed, it will most likely fail you.
Precision - This is the first thing to go when you are stressed out. When we are stressed or nervous, we lose our precision. Most people can't even find their keys, they fumble, they drop things. Do you really think that in a moment of truth with a gun or knife facing you that you will be able to perform a technique that requires Precision? A gun or knife defense that requires you to grab their arm is a precision technique. Grabbing is a fine-motor movement, as simple as it seems in daily life under stress you will be hard-pressed to precisely grab his arm, and then Strength.
Strength - If your technique requires strength, such as outmuscling your opponent, or pulling his arm. i.e., the technique requires and relies upon you being stronger than your attacker, that is highly risky. I have learned these techniques over the years, one needs a certain amount of strength to pull them off.
Now imagine a scenario. The guy has a gun to your lower back. You have learned to turn around and grab his arm and take his gun away. Looks great on YouTube, looks great in training when your teacher does it on his (complying) assistant, but now let's think about it. As you turn around, he pulls the gun away. He has the advantage; he sees you turning. You are making a nice wide turn and he will just pull the gun away and shoot you. Game Over. Or, if you do succeed in grabbing his arm, as many "Krav" teachers teach, he will pull it away from you unless you are much stronger than him, which is unlikely.
I call Speed, Precision and Strength the "Three Amigos", the three unreliable friends. You don't want to rely upon them to pick you up at 5 am and take you to the airport, they might oversleep. You will not lend them money or rely upon their promises.
Our approach is inherently different. We use logic, body mechanics, simple Gross Motor Moves and Body Movement. We begin slowly, train our neural paths and then gradually increase. Everything is tested Full Speed, Full Strength and Full Resistance, using not only the big and the strong, but also the smallest, if if works for the small and weak, it will work for the big and strong. As we say The Weakest Link is the Strongest.
Our goal is to saves lives, of all types of people, all over the world. If you share this view, contact us below. Enough said for now.
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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