Unprepared for the Test of Life

April 13, 2023, Israel


I saw a great quote, "My life feels like a test I didn't study for". Perhaps this was meant to be funny, but I feel, it is actually brilliant. This takes me back to an old lesson from one of most memorable Economic professors when I was a gragduate student in New York; Professor Vora.

Professor Vora was tough, but the lessons he taught me are still relevant today, while most of what I learned in other classes is long since forgotten. Vora warned us in advance, this course was not for the weak of minds, or the meek. We were expected to read a great deal of material, and we were expected to undersand it. His lectures would not be an explanation of the material in the book. If we were incapable of reading a book and understanding it, we should not be in his class. The exams would not be the simple questions one could anticipate, they would not be the type of questions one could look at and say, OK, I know that one. No sir. 

Prof. Vora explained that the questions would be new material based on an understanding of the written word (the books) and the spoken word (his lectures). They would not be question such as one could anticipate. i.e. These would be questions one could not prepare for. All one could do was raise their level of the understanding of the forces of economics. There would be no questions that would only require remembering the material from the book or the lectures. Each question would present a new and previously unforeseen situation. If you prepared well, you had a chance. 

In a nutshell, this is life, and this is Krav Maga. You cannot be prepared, so yes, often it will feel like a test you did not study for. Part of the role of parents is to prepare you for life. I recall my mother's mantra, Life is full of disapoint, and so it is. We cannot anticipate every problem we will face in life. We cannot have ready answers for the challenges which may emerge, but we can try and prepare ourselves as people, so that we can deal with the unexpected, with those moments that indeed it feels like we are facing an exam we did not study for. Such is life. 

In martial arts schools we often see self-defense drills designed to deal with very specific attacks. While these attacks do take place my experience, garnered from studying countless real cases and from the experiences of my students in 40 countries worldwide, is that rarely do attacks, or defenses, follow exactly the way we trained for them, much like Prof. Vora's exams.

This is how we prepare at IKI Krav Maga. We prepare for the unknown, knowing that we will have to think on our feet, improvise, adapt, and fight back. Life in fact is a test that we can only partially prepare for, for it is filled with the unknown. We need to train ourselves, arm ourselves with knowledge and experience, and then hope that when the test comes, we have the tools to survive. 


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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