Win or Lose Respect

April 9, 2024, Israel

In the First Karate Kid Film Mr. Miyagi trains Daniel to fight in a tournament in order to stop the bullying he is suffering at the hands of a highschool gang. Daniel fears he may not win. But the wise Miyagi teaches him that in some situations it is not about winning or losing, it is about making a stand and earning respect. "Win lose no matter, you make good fight, earn respect, then nobody bother.” 

Miyagi's point is, if you show weakness, the bullies will pick on you and harass you and you will have no peace. But if you show strength, they will respect you and leave you alone. This is not true in all cases, but it is true in some cases. Some enemies, like Hamas, will never give up their dream of destroying us. Earning their respect through combat is not enough. The same was true with the Nazis and the Japanese in World War Two, only unconditional surrender would solve the problem. But in some cases, with more reasonable opponents, calmer minds, earning respect is often a solution in Itself, as Mr. Miyagi advises. 

The Romans were reasonable and logical people, though often ruthless. The Jews/Judeans battled the Romans in the First and Second centuries C.E. three bloody wars that left both sides devastated. Of course Rome was the ultimate victor but it came at a terrible price. The outnumber outgunned Judeans inflicted a heavy cost upon Rome. Rome wanted peace. Rome needed peace. Rome wanted no more trouble with the Jews, so they compromised.

Rome annulled, rescinded, most of the anti-Judaism laws. Laws enacted by earlier emperors designed to destroy the Jewish religion, i.e. the source of Jewish strength, were annulled. Jews were allowed to practice their religion freely. Rome was thus able to divert troops from Judea (yes, that is the correct name, never "Palestine" or Filistin or whatever) and a major part of the 6th legion was sent elsewhere. 

What happened? Rome began to respect the nation that had beaten. They had more respect for the Jews now than before the defeat. They now saw the Jews as a formidable opponent, and they did not want to mess with them anymore. In a sense, the war achieved one of the Jewish aims. While political Independance was not yet achieved, religious freedom and some autonomy was achieved. 

Both the Jews and the Romans realized that compromise was the best solution. Rome gave up the idea of total control and the Jews gave up, for the moment, the idea of full independence. As a result, the next 200 years saw peace and tranquilly and economic growth. Everyone gained. 

In fact, history shows that the world came to respect the Jews, the mockery of the Jewish way of life stopped, the ridicule of Jewish practices ceased during the Bar Kochba War. 

What is true for a nation is true for an individual. Win or lose a particular fight but show that you are a force not to be belittled. As I was told years ago, I might the lose the fight, but the other guy will know he came to the dance. i.e. the "winner" will pay a heavy price for dancing, for messing, with me. He will know that this was a struggle. 

IKI is there to train, to empower, to be a system for everyone. We hope to avoid conflict, that is best, but to use another Miyagi quote, If must fight - Win!

We aim to win but at the very least, the guy will know he came to the dance, he will respect us, he will think twice, or three times, before entering this dance contest again. 


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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