August 16, 2016, Israel
We hear things, we read a line here and there, we draw conclusions. We know the wisdom/cliche, You must walk a mile in another' man's shoes to understand him, but we routinely ignore this.
I taught Krav Maga at college campuses across the USA and Canada for many years, visited more than 120 campuses. I also taught representatives from over 250 colleges who came to Israel for conferences to try and understand Israel. Generally these were young, idealistic people, "well fed". These were kids from good clean homes where the pool man and the gardener were well taken care of. These were not Ghetto or street smart kids, but yet they fancied themselves as such.
I encourage questions but yet their questions often upset me. They would begin with, "But in that situation I could do this and that...etc", to which I would reply, "In that situation you would probably pee or poop in your pants and yell out Mommy!"
You were never in that situation and you are basing your thoughts on TV shows, you are an outsider and you have no clue. You do not have the True picture. So for now please be quiet, look and listen and you might learn something.
Primo Levi had similar experiences.
Levi survived Auschwitz. Of his group of 650 Italians less than a handful survived and he was the only one to write about it. His two books, If This Is A Man, and The Truce, give voice to a silent people and tell a story that can only be told by "one who was there".
And yet he found that when he went on the lecture tour he was greeted with the same questions again and again, including: How is it that more prisoners did not attempt to escape? How is it that there were not more large scale revolts?
He answers that the people asking these questions are clearly from a different sort of society. The ideals of freedom are thankfully strong in their hearts. The idea that each man can determine his own fate and "beat city hall" is embedded in their optimistic world view, the idea that all your efforts will be crowned with success, is natural. But, he points out, none of this is true. The questions asked come from a mindset, a picture, that these people have, but...
"Unfortunately, however, this picture hardly resembles the true one of the concentration camps." (Primo Levi, the Truce, page 429)
Levi goes on to explain that the True picture is far different from what these people have in their minds and thus their questions are out of place and really irrelevant.
I could use the same answer for many of the questions I field from beginner Krav Maga students. The sad thing is many martial arts and Krav Maga schools continue to teach in this same way. To which I can only echo the words of Primo Levi...Unfortunately, However...this picture hardly resembles the true one of the reality of self defense.
What is being taught stems from a misunderstanding of reality, from a picture which is not true. Thus the Krav Maga or self defense being taught is as irrelevant as the the questions posed to Primo Levi.
So when I see certain gun and knife defenses I simply shake my head and say the person teaching these techniques does not have the True Picture and thus does not teach True Krav Maga.
Our aim is true, and our goal is simple; to help regular people get home safely. Thus we begin from a humble position and seek the truth. The rest is commentary.
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