Underestimating your Opponent

October 23, 2023, Israel


Black Sabbath was a great band. Sadly, now the term is being used in Israel daily in reference to the atrocities committed by the Hamas terrorist organization against Israel on Saturday, the Sabbath, October 7, 2023. Over 1,400 were killed and as of this writing many of the bodies have still not been identified as the individuals were so badly mutilated that the forensic teams are having difficulties identifying the bodies. 

Much went wrong on that unholy Black Sabbath, one of the main issues that is now emerging as what is being called, an "incorrect conception" of Hamas. In simple layman's terms that means underestimating your opponent. 

Anyone who has ever competed, sparred, fought, on the street, in a tournament or just in class knows this is the first rule of combat: never underestimate any opponent. It does not matter if you are taller than them, hold a higher rank, are more muscular, it makes no difference, never underestimate your opponent or you will pay dearly. I recall a fight, an illegal street fight, where a lean mean fighting machine, a very muscular young man, face off against a clearly overweight older man. He was cocky and confident. The fat guy evaded one punch and pushed the guy to the ground and then pounced on him. The muscular guy had blood gushing out of his mouth. He needed to be carried out on a stretcher. The fight did not last more than 30 seconds. 

Never underestimate your opponent. Never. 

Israel became too much of a Club Med society. The fact that thousands of Israelis could hold a "Peace Party" (on a Jewish holiday) a few hundred meters from Gaza and not worry about being attacked, is proof of this overly confident and relaxed attitude. It is better to be afraid and be prepared rather than be confident and unprepared. The Israeli leadership made a huge mistake and paid a huge price. It was only the incredible bravery of individuals that prevented a far worse outcome. Never underestimate your opponent. 

When I earned my first black belt I had to face all sorts of stupid annoying comments such as, "Hey, don't upset Moshe, he has a black belt". Right, like I am so easily upset that I will use my skills to beat people up because they annoy me. If that were the case I would have had to pummel all the idiots who made that comment, and there were many. But I forgive the stupid. I am kind. 

People used to ask me, so how many people can you beat up at once? (I felt like beating them up). I always gave the same answer, "I have no idea if I can beat up anyone, one never knows. One can never predict the outcome of an engagment."

People seemed surprised by my answer 

Also, never underestimate the words of your opponents. Hitler declared his intentions very early. For God's sake he published a book! But still, Nay, he doesn't really mean it. Hamas states in its charter that the goal of this organization is the destruction of the State of Israel and the murder of the Jews. But...Nay, they don't really mean.

How stupid can people be?
The answer is - Very stupid.

Never never never underestimate your opponent. It does not matter how small they are, or how big you are, etc etc, etc, Never understimate any opponent. 


Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.

Understand the Israeli Fighting Mentality - Israel a Nation of Warriors by Moshe Katz


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