January 13, 2020, Israel
My personal journey involved many martial arts. While at first I was the "Master say, student do" type, gradually I began to question techniques and ideas. When I say gradually I am speaking of a period of decades, not minutes. (as many beginners do).
My true journey really began when I started teaching. I noticed students having trouble with some of the techniques. I recall walking over to a girl having trouble with a gun disarm (which I had learned from my teacher, an internationally known Krav Maga instructor). As I was walking over I was fully ready to point out the mistakes she was making and explain to her what she was doing wrong. To my surprise she was doing, she had followed the instructions perfectly but yet the technique did not work for her. The question was why?
I looked at her skinny arms and small frame and realized at once that she was built nothing like the person who had taught me this technique. I had to change the technique, and thus, a new journey began.
I began to look at my students, average men and women, and developed techniques that worked for them and not against them. I needed techniques that gave them confidence rather than a feeling of frustration, failure and inadequacy. (which is very common in the martial arts world). I needed techniques for the person with average ability, average build and average body. I needed techniques for people who were not going to drop everything, move in to the Shaolin Tempe and devote themselves full time to combat training, mind, body and soul. I needed techniques for regular people, not stunt actors or magicians.
Most of what I see advertised as Krav Maga falls into two categories, often combined; Slight of hand magicians, and Body building brawn, beat 'em up!
The slight of hand techniques depend upon the qualities a professional pick-pocketer uses; slight of hand, the hand is quicker than the eye, surprise, agility and highly developed skill levels. The brawn approach is simple; massive body building, fitness, a mean expression on your face, etc.
If you think about it you will realize that these approaches are not for the average person. The average person, and that includes most of us, will fee frustration, "out of their league" and will drop out quickly. (huge turnout rates in martial arts schools). The truth is that even for the person who attains this skill level it will be near-impossible to perform these feats in a real-life violent situation.
The Magician performs in front of a crowd. He has the stage to himself, and the room is silent and he is ready to perform. But imagine him being chased by a man with a knife, an ax or a machete. Imagine a man pointing a gun to his head; would he be able to perform with the same agility and expertise? Would he be willing to bet his life on these slight-of-hand techniques? That is the situation of most Krav Maga styles today; a nice show but nothing more.
Do not be fooled by videos, anyone can look good in a video, it is called acting, choreography, make up, editing, etc. Let me ask you something; can you tell the difference between a movie scene and a real-life confrontation?
So you think you can tell heaven from hell? Blue skies from pain?
Good rule of thumb to follow: if it looks too good, too cool, etc., it probably is worthless. It pains me to see so many people looking for real self-defense only to fall into the hands of these delusional instructors; Tough poses, fancy videos with amazing disarms. It is like watching a child crossing a busy street without looking both ways. You want to shout STOP!
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