Useful Skills
by moshe katz
Israeli Krav international

March 23, 2020, Israel

There is a scene in the film Defiance (true story). The Bielski brothers were somewhat of an outcast group during "normal" times, but now in the midst of the Nazi Persecution which eventually came to be known as the Holocaust, they were in a position to help others. They built a camp in the forest and gathered Jews, refuges from the cities, villages, the ghettos. Every man and woman must work, everyone must contribute something to the collective. This is how we survive.  There is a scene, the leader is welcoming each new arrival and asking them for their profession; a nurse, we can use you, welcome to our camp. A watch maker, well now you are a gun repairman, welcome, What is your profession sir? an accountant, well I am afraid you are not very valuable here, you will have to learn how to use tools. An intellectual??, that is a profession?

There are skills that are useful in one setting but useless in another. Today as we face the Chinese Coronavirus threat, and more relevant for our discussion the fear and panic caused by the media that has led to shortages of basic supplies, different skills are being sought. Social media is filled with (half) joking comments about women looking at men and wondering...can he fight, can he hunt? in other words, suddenly, seemingly overnight, a different skill set is sought after in men, boyfriends, husbands, and fathers, and everyone: Survival skills.

There is a place where a computer expert will be the greatest hero. During World War Two the brilliant men and women who worked on cracking the Nazi codes were indeed great heroes. There is a place where the auto mechanic rises to be king, when your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and one of the crew turns out to be a mechanic, bring out the finest champagne for this man. Self defense skills are always important, in normal times and especially during a crises, during times of plenty and times of shortages.

I recall a seminar tour in the western part of Canada; Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, I was told of the great wealth the country was experiencing at the time, there was so much money that perfectly good gyms were being torn down and replaced with fancier models, there was just so much money. And yet, there was a serious crime problem, and that is why I was invited. The wealth, the oil industry, attracted many foreign workers from less affluent countries. These young men would roam the streets at night, with knives, and attack wealthy locals and steal whatever they could. So even wealth and good times does not make a society immune from crime. Self defense skills are always important. These are skills that cross all borders, all social classes and all economic situations. Only a utopian society is free from violence. 

Here in Israel and in many places around the world, the panic caused by the Chinese Coronavirus is leading to economic disaster. In last nights news Arabs in the village of Shu'afat already openly threatened a wave of violence, crime and armed attack. Are we ready?

Last nights' news reports that due to the home confinement the violence against women in Israel has increased dramatically, as was fully expected (at least by me). So what about Krav Maga for women? Now there's an idea. 

How many violent crimes took place during the short time that it took me to compose this blog? How many women were raped? How many violent home invasions took place? How many people have become physically or emotionally scarred for life?

and yet none of this really seems to affect us, why?

Become trained in a skill that is valuable for all times, and if you will conclude your life without ever having had to use these skills, remember, it made you a better person, a more confident person, a more disciplined person, a better father, husband, son, mother, wife, daughter.

and as the Boy Scouts say....Be Prepared!

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