October 10, 2010
John Travolta, staying alive back in the 1980's
Today on the way home I heard a song on the radio that I had not hear in a long time; Stayin' Alive by the B.G's. (Brothers Gibbs). Brings back memories of my high school days; the film Saturday Night Fever, a slim John Travolta, disco music, white leisure suits, and lots of awkward teenagers. Thank God all that is behind us. Don't miss it, don't think about it.
The song Stayin' Alive I do think about because I use that phrase in my Krav Maga teachings. Simply put, our goal is staying alive. That might seem obvious but it is not.
Often I teach a knife defense technique and a student will ask, "but where is the disarm?" Or I will teach a hand defense and someone will wonder when will I teach how to tie up the attacker like a human pretzel like Zohan does in the movie.
My Answer - Our goal is staying alive, not punishing the offender, not making a citizen's arrest, not impressing our girlfriend. The truth is that staying alive is hard enough. Trying to do something fancy is way beyond our capabilities. We need to know our limitations; we need to have realistic expectations.
The problem with most self-defense systems is that they overestimate what we can do in a stressful situation. They use all sorts of grabs, fancy footwork, and counter attacks that are nearly impossible to pull off in a real stressful situation.
We martial artists tend to enjoy our techniques too much and sometimes we forget that line, Staying Alive. That is the bottom line; that is what Krav Maga is all about. Martial Arts become standardized, categorized, organized, specialized and fossilized. We must never forget that it is all about.
Sometimes I will send out a technique to a new IKI Member. They will reply, "Something seems to be wrong with my computer, I can only play the first 3 seconds of your technique." Sorry Buddy, no problem with your computer, the technique is only 3 seconds long.
Real life is rarely as pretty as the instructional videos' or DVDs we spend so much money on. Much can, and will, go wrong. Success in my book is you got home alive, even if you ended up in the hospital with a minor injury; that is still success. Remember; Stayin' alive, Staying Alive, staying alive. Disco, leisure suits, falsetto singing and crazy hairdos may be out of style, but staying alive is still our goal.
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