February 18, 2021, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, USA
It has been nearly 17 years since my father passed away and yet he is always with me. In IKI Krav Maga we stress concepts over techniques, principles over dogma, flexibility and adaptability over stringent rules. All these are values and ideas that my dear father imbued in me. Hardly a day passes where his wisdom is not required.
It is written in the Talmud that when the great Rabbi Eliezer passed away the people moaned, Our ship has lost its captain, we have many coins to change but no money changer: i.e. we still have many questions that require answers but we no longer have any one who can answers those questions, solve those problems for us.
That is how I felt when my father passed away.
But he never left me.
We have a belief that no man leaves this world before his time. No one leaves before he has completed his task that was assigned to him. So I came to understand that my father would certainly not leave until he has imparted to me all the lessons I need to learn, only I did not realize it at the time.
As time has gone on, and new situations have arisen, much like Krav Maga and the real world, I have come to realize that indeed he has given me all the tools that I need to survive. His concepts, his principles, are with me.
As I encounter a new situation and am faced with a dilemma, I hear his voice, I see his face, and I know what path to follow. Often this involves difficult decisions, tough choices.
One of the concepts he taught me was "Respect him and suspect him". This is a translation from the Hebrew, a rhyming Talmudic age Rabbinical saying, Chabdayhu we Chashdayhu.
It is attributed to the age of the Talmud, the period 0 - 500, but only written down later on, around the 6th century. It is written, "Always see all people as criminals (listim) but treat them with the same respect you would treat Rabban Gamliel" (Rabban Gamliel was the great spiritual leader of the Jewish people in the late 1st century, early 2nd century, the most respected man of his times.)
This concept means that one should always treat others with respect and yet not place full trust in them, as this can lead to harm.
Simple, straight forward, honest, and yet profound.
We all get hurt, we all feel betrayed at times. I recall a headline in the Sports section back in the 70's as two great players from the Boston Bruins were traded. It read, "Two Who Thought their ice was Solid", the message was these two never imagined that their team would trade them for financial gain. Two who thought their ice was solid.
Always proceed with caution. Before you get on the frozen lake to play ice hockey, make sure the ice is solid, but always be careful. The lesson is a sad one, but one that life will prove correct sooner or later. Respect him and Suspect him. Buyer beware. Proceed with caution. Never assume the other guy knows how to drive, assume the worst of other drivers and you will stand a better chance of getting home safely. The lesson is for Krav Maga and life.
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