Krav Maga Cooperation
I entered the martial arts, and Krav Maga, with a pure mind and heart. Sadly I found out over the years that this arena too has been corrupted by some small minded people and become a business and a political battlefield.
This did not make sense to me; after all our entire goal is to help people defend themselves, empower them, give them peace of mind, so why are we bickering and fighting about this? Surely this is an indication of lack of Budo, martial spirit, and under-developed souls.
Thankfully my teacher and friend Itay Gil, has never been like this. Not once did he discuss the idea of "competing organizations" or "protecting our style". In fact he never even named our style, we just trained. Anyone is free to learn from us. As my friend Moti, a Krav Maga student and master chef, said, "I am not afraid of anyone stealing my recipes, either you can cook or you can not."
Our training has always been open to everyone; we do not fear that others will steal our techniques. Personally I just hope that others are honest enough not to release DVD's with our techniques and take credit for them, or showcase them in magazines.
When we started IKI Krav Maga our intention was to provide a service, fill a niche that was lacking in the Krav Maga World. Had there not been a need we would not have started this organization. The last thing I wanted was the responsibility of heading an international organization. However, circumstances, or Divine Providence, however you believe, led me to this.
With the support and active encouragement of leading martial artists, men of faith, both Jewish and Christian, we launched IKI. We soon came under attack from other organizations that were charging more money and saw us as a threat. Again, this came as a surprise to me.
Yesterday, as I was teaching a group of Jerusalem police guards at Itay's gym, something interesting happened. I noticed Itay meeting with two guys wearing Kapap T shirts. What is going on here I wondered? Are we merging with Kapap? Are we fraternizing with the 'other'? Then I saw them being photographed with Itay! Hmm... But I did not ask. I kept my silence out of respect.
Then the Kapap guys came up to me and started asking me questions. "So you are head of IKI? I saw your website." One of the guys was none other than Moshe Galisko, head of Kapap world wide. The other was the Italian leader, Alessandro. Both men were very kind and very eager to chat.
There was no sense of competition. As Galisko said to me, "Itay are I are old friends, we help each other out." The Italian fellow was happy to hear that IKI was spreading in Italy and said he was hopeful that we can work in cooperation. In fact he said if I come to Italy he would like to see me, in the spirit of martial arts cooperation.
I cannot tell you how happy this made me. Alessandro asked if it would be OK if his wife took a photo of us together, even though we are from "different" Israeli martial arts organizations. I said, of course. I am not afraid that he will post this on his website with a banner, "Moshe Katz awards black belt" or something like that.
I had to return to teaching but it was with a feeling that we do not see each other as a threat; we are all working to make this world a better, safer place. Cooperation, not competition. There are enough students in the world for all of us.
The above blog was written in 2009. Sadly my naive expectations were not met. The innocent photograph I took with a member of another association led to major problems in Italy, causing me much stress and aggravation. Our style for several years after this was attacked (on line) by other organizations seeing as a threat and declaring us "illegitimate".
This is 9 years later and we continue going strong, uncompromising, with our ideals intact.