July 20, 2021 Israel
We are all products of our environment to some extent. We are nurtured by our experiences and our heritage. I grew up learning, arguing, debating the Talmud, the ancient teachings of our people. The Talmud is a closed book to most of the world, and such it is intended to be. One can read it but not have any clue what it is truly about, until one immerses himself in it.
Go back in time, to the ancient academies, to Persia, to Babylon, to Israel. Take a seat and listen. Hillel the Elder is speaking in Israel, Shamai raises his voice in disagreement. In Babylon, in Persia, the third century, Abaye and Rava, the debates are fueled with wisdom, reason and passion. Let's visit the academies of Sura and Pumpeditha, where my ancestors studied and taught. Every point was discussed, analyzed and debated, these were summarized into 5,422 pages written in ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin, with no punctuation. In addition there are many thousands of pages of commentary on this. This is what it takes to become a rabbi!
The common wisdom, joke, is that when things go bad, you need a Jewish lawyer. Why? because his mind has been sharpened by generations of men studying the Talmud. It is the Talmudic process that ignites the mind to unthought of possibilities.
The great German Jewish historian Heinrich Graetz, writes about the Talmud; "An infinite fulness of thought and thought-exciting material is laid up in the mine of the Talmud, not, however, in the shape of a finished theme which one grasps at a glance...
The Talmud introduces us into the laboratory of thought, and in it may be traced the progress of ideas...."
This in a nutshell can describe our approach to Krav Maga. Self-defense, self preservation is ultimately a thought process. The physical part is only a minute percentage of the defense strategy. I just got off the phone with my dear friend Gershon, he has lived around and among Arabs for the past several decades, he has developed a street-wise sense. I received an e mail update from the American embassy in Jerusalem, a warning about Arab riots during these days, he did not need this. As he was driving around the Old City of Jerusalem he sensed the violence that was about to unfold. He managed to avoid all trouble, without throwing a single punch.
Graetz writes that as the Jewish people went through endless centuries of bitter persecutions, in Christian and Muslim lands, the mind remained active. It was the study of the Talmud that kept the Jew's spirit alive, it was the Talmud that gave him life. While his body was being stomped upon mercilessly his mind was rising to unprecedented intellectual heights.
With our Krav Maga we keep this spirit alive. It is not a "finished theme", it is an on-going process of discovery and debate, for life itself is the topic. Our training hall is a "laboratory of thought". We do not train by rote, we are not only about physical drills, we challenge your mind and we find solutions.
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