Too Late
Krav Maga and Home Invasions
By Moshe Katz
CEO Israeli Krav International

December 20, 2014

I still cannot believe it. I am still in a state of semi-shock.

Friday I went to synagogue, then I went to have dinner with my mother and nieces and nephews. On the way home I stopped by to visit my dear neighbors. Just a regular Friday night. But then it was anything but regular.

I came to my front door and put the key in, but it would not open. Darn, I thought, the door is jammed. I know I should replace it but....expensive. Just one of those home repairs/improvements that we put off until we have more money.

I tried again, jiggled the key. Darn, Friday night, I don't have my cell phone on me because it is the Sabbath, what on earth am I going to do?

Then I remembered that the shutters on the kitchen window are a bit jammed, another item that needs to be fixed. Perhaps I could open that up and break into my own house.

What luck! it worked, I got a little dirty but thank God I was in my house. Now lets take a look at that problematic door.

I took a look but before I could start working on it I noticed that the latch was locked ...from the inside!

But how could that be?! How could it be locked from the inside? Confused I began to look around the house. Some of my friends and students have a key to my house, could they be here?? But why?

"Anyone here?" I ask. Then I notice the door to my bedroom is open. I always lock it. A couple of years ago I heard that Arabs had been breaking in to homes, on Friday nights in particular. So I invested in some new doors.

The back of my home faces a deep decline, one would have to be an expert climber to get up that steep wall, and my front door is solid.

So I invested in a very solid door to the bedroom. I felt pretty safe.

So how could the door be open?

I step inside and the picture was clear at once. Coins all over the floor, all my closets, cupboards and drawers were emptied out. They took everything of value!! I have been robbed!

Holy Crap! I could not believe it. What a shock. What bastards! they came into my home, invaded my privacy and ransacked my house.

The damage done was extensive.

The rabbis have already decided that in such a case one must call the police at once, even on the Sabbath, as this means there are Arabs on the loose and lives are in danger. The rabbis are quite clear on this. This is an emergency that allows breaking the Sabbath.

Be as politically correct as you want, be as peace loving as you want, but all the robberies in this area are committed by Arabs and we cannot mess around.

Side note: I feel it is important to note that even though the criminals are Bedouin Arabs, based on past incidents and police information, not all Bedouin are like this, certainly not. Bedouin once saved my dear mom. One of the police officers on the scene Friday night, and he paid me another visit this morning, is an Arab. The police officer I spoke to Saturday night at the station was also an Arab, a good and decent man. So despite my personal trauma I have not become "anti Arab".

Back to my story...

I called the police.

They asked if I checked the house to see if all was clear. I said I checked but not the entire house. They told me to go outside and wait for them on the street. They would be there in 2 minutes.

Hats off to our wonderful Maaleh Adumim police force.  They came as promised.

Five police officers were in my house. I greeted them with Shabbat Shalom, thank you for coming on such short notice. Welcome to my home.

These men, these police officers, are doing holy work. And as terrible as my situation is I must still take the time to thank them for their work. Let us never forget how much we need our police force. They have to work Saturday's as police work, anything involving our security, must be performed every day of the week, even on the Sabbath.

They put their hands on their guns and checked the entire house: all was clear. Apparently when the thieves heard me at the door, they fled. So, it could have been worse.

They took my wallet, credit cards, drivers license but thank God they left my passports. My North America tour is coming up soon, 23 Krav Maga seminars across the USA, Canada and Mexico. So my plans are not affected.

But the financial and emotional damage is quite deep.

My dad raised me tough, I will overcome this hardship. It will make me stronger.

I want to add that there is nothing like true friends to help one through a difficult situation. My friend of more than twenty years, Esther, came over. She stayed with me the entire time, not only offering emotional support but helping put the house back in order and creating a sense of normalcy.

Helping is not the correct word. She basically did all the work herself as I was too distraught to handle such matters.

In hard times one learns to count their blessings. Nothing like true friends to ease the pain.

I feel every experience must be a learning experience. For me Krav Maga is an ongoing life journey. No learning opportunity should be missed.

From every hardship we must gain experience, from every setback we must gain motivation to work harder, from every beating life gives us we must emerge stronger.

And that is the power of IKI Krav Maga, the school of hard knocks, life lessons put into practice.

As I thought of all the damage done, the hard earned money stolen, valuable gifts of sentimental value and cherished momentous from family long gone, I thought of what I did right and what I did wrong.

There are some precautions and safety measures that I took that worked. There are other aspects that, sadly, I ignored.

I do not have protective bars over my windows. In Israel it is common to have such bars to protect us from, yes, the Arabs and common criminals. Perhaps I should have bars, or a dog. Turns out many people also have cameras.

The forensic expert who was here this morning said, yes, that could help, but just two weeks ago a neighbor up the road was broken into and he did have such protective bars.

Same story with dogs, families with dogs were also hit.

And yet, there is more I could have done.

I am berating myself. Why did I not take the proper security measures? I must take a course in home security. Why did I not invest in those protective bars?

But all these questions are coming too late. If only I could turn back the clock, if only it were yesterday at this time....I could do things differently. I would do things differently.

And then, of course, I think of the Krav Maga lesson, the one I MUST MUST share with all of you, with as many people as possible. And yes this is my job but it is also my mission in life, my personal crusade if you will.

I was not hurt. Yes, losing money and objects is painful and I am still feeling shaken up and dizzy as I write these words. I am still in a state of semi-shock, but I was not hurt and I am fully aware that things could have been worse, much worse.

Imagine a family, imagine small children. Imagine people not trained in Krav Maga and not armed at all. What would they do in the case of an attack?

The damage would be only not financial, money would be the least of their problems. The damage would be measured in terms of lives lost or severe injury accompanied of course by severe trauma.

And then someone will say I wish we could turn back the clock. I wish it could be a few months ago so we could still sign up for Krav Maga lessons.

And yes guys, I know. This is going to sound like a commercial for IKI Krav Maga, and yes, I am going to ask you to join us and come train with us. But please understand I am speaking from the heart.

I am speaking to you directly from my personal pain that I am feeling so deeply at this very moment. Writing to you is part of my therapy. It is part of my regaining control of my life and helping you retain or regain control of yours.

I am saying to you, wake up!! Wake up while there is still time. Because I don't want you to say, "It is too late, the damage is done."

Please, hear my cry.

This is a horrible horrible feeling. To be violated. To be robbed. But to be hurt is worse. Rape is worse. Murder is worse. And you can still do something about it.

Lior the forensic guy said...Yes, the bars may help, a dog may help, cameras may help, but there are no guarantees.

I will order the bars tomorrow, the money will have to come out of my savings. But I know this: Better to invest your money in your safety then to invest it in the bank.

Your life comes first.

We must do what we can without guarantees. For me this means investing in home security. For many of you it means investing in Krav Maga training.

Our Krav Maga is constantly evolving, to stay up to date, to make sure you are up to date, to make sure you have the best defense possible. We are never content, not where your security is concerned.

I am in pain right now. And I do not want to share this pain but I do want to share the lesson. I want you, all of you, to be as protected as possible.

As Lior the forensic guy said, you will never be guaranteed to be safe against all harm. Only a con man will promise you that. But we must take every precaution, we must invest in safety. That means better doors, better fences and better Krav Maga.

Recently my dear friend Charley Levine passed away. All the speakers who eulogized him spoke of his humility. But why then did he drive a big American car? Here in Israel most of us drive small cars. We can't afford much more. So why the big car?

A few years ago Charley was in a head-on collision. The other guy was driving a small car. The other guy died on the spot. Charley lived. From that day on Charley only drove big American cars. And well, Charley was also from Texas, and proud of it. So he liked things big.

The big car was not ego. It was investing in his personal safety.

Krav Maga is not about ego, it is about safety. Invest in your safety!

I will be direct. I want you to learn Krav Maga. There was a time when learning how to read and write was considered by some to be a waste of time. Abraham Lincolns' father berated young Abe for "wasting time" with "all that reading and writing stuff", from which "no good could come". He saw it as laziness.

Today this is standard. I hope the same will be true soon with Krav Maga.

Please do not wait until it is too late. Do not be like me and realize after the fact that there were precautions that you should have taken.  Whatever I saved on not putting up bars and other security measures, I am paying for now with the losses incurred. Take heed and learn from my mistakes.

A day late is too late.

Now is the time to train.

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