Krav Maga and Passover

March 27, 2010

Soon it will be Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, and Jews all over the world are cleaning their homes to get rid of any trace of Hametz, or bread and bread products. What is Hametz? Hametz is the Hebrew word for leavened bread. What is leavened bread? It is dough that has risen, become puffed up. Matzah,  on the other hand, is unleavened bread, and as a result is thin (and not quite as tasty in my opinion). 

The reason we eat the matzah is to commemorate the exodus of the Hebrew people (not known as "Jews" at that time) from the land of Egypt, where they were held as slaves. They left in a hurry and did not have the time to properly bake the bread, as a result it did not have time to rise.

Our rabbis give a spiritual dimension to this. They say that all too often we have big egos, inflated egos that we have allowed to rise up. We are so full of ourselves, puffed up and full of hot air. At Passover we try to deflate our egos, remember our days as humble slaves and how we can to be free.

As such, during the days preceding Passover, Jews scrub and clean their homes in an attempt to remove all Hametz, all puffed up bread. As Krav Maga instructors I feel this is a good time to do the same. Search through your techniques, find the "Hametz", the puffed up fancy techniques that don't really serve us well, the ego inflated fancy moves that will not serve us well on the street.

How often do we let our egos dictate what and how we teach? How often do we stick with techniques that we know are no longer serving our students interests? How often do we put the dollar sign before the needs of our students? Search for the Hametz, get rid of the puffed up techniques, return to the thin bread, nothing but the essentials. 

Passover has another aspect that we can relate to as Krav Maga practitioners. It is the festival of freedom. Moshe (Moses) went to the great Egyptian king and said, "Let my people go". A few thousand years later on Passover the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland rose up and fought, and defeated the great Nazi army. For over three weeks the powerful Third Reich could not defeat the starving Jews! Truly this is the holiday of Freedom.

Today we use Krav Maga to fight back against terrorists, muggers, rapists and other lowlifes. Krav Maga is a tool for freedom in our modern society.

So at this Passover time take a few minutes to think about how you train in Krav Maga and what factor ego plays, in your choice of techniques and your choice of behavior. Remove the Hametz, the puff, the ego, stick to the truth, tick to the core that works, and regain your freedom. Ego has no place in Krav Maga. 

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