Maga Distance

Maga Distance

The phrase Krav Maga is composed of two Hebrew words. Maga means touch or contact, Krav in this context means combat. There is an important lesson over here. Erwald Voll, our IKI instructor in Barendrecht, Holland, pointed out to me the following, "If there is no Maga (i.e. closeness), I teach my students there is no need for Krav, combat, it is simply a matter of ego."

Hans, Erwald and Fred, IKI Krav Maga seminar, Veldhoven, Holland

There is a great and deep truth in these words that is often overlooked. No fight is good. Years ago my judo instructor, Sensei Tony, back in Los Angeles, said to me, "I have been in many street fights, I have a souvenir from each; a broken thumb, a bad knee etc.." The point is than there are always consequences. Even if you "win" the fight, you might sustain an injury. Hurting the other person is also not such a wonderful thing, always better to avoid violence if at all possible. And even if defeat the bad guys they might come after you tomorrow, or you might now have to defend yourself in court.

Of course we believe that if you have no choice you must certainly hold your ground, fight and defend yourself. But if, as Erwald pointed out, the danger is not in the range of maga, it is only words and taunts from a distance, there is no need for the Krav. Remember; do not let your ego drag you into a fight! When your ego starts taking control you lose your common sense ability. Anger is not a good judgment tool. A few moments of anger can destroy many years of hard work and effort.

So many times in my life I have had angry thoughts about someone or something. Had I acted on these thoughts I would have caused myself great damage. Acting with a little bit of patience, taking time to assess the situation has saved me from embarrassing and harmful situations. So often we misunderstand and misinterpret people's actions, if we react too quickly we could cause great harm to our own interests.

Erwald in action

Simple test: ask yourself; is there a real threat? Is there a real danger of any sort? Is the person close enough to be of any trouble to you? Is he within maga range? If he is not than why do you feel the urge to fight? Is it because you honestly feel there is a need for a "Pre-emptive strike" or is it really your overly sensitive and inflated ego acting up?

I have heard many stories of great men disarming their opponents. Some have done it by just standing up, others have done it with a smile, and others have done it with a few well chosen words. Is this not a greater victory, a greater success, than just beating the crap out of someone? Would it not be better to diffuse the situation without throwing a single punch?

Your words are stronger; your smile is more confident when you know you can back them up with some powerful kicks, punches and bone breaking joint locks. But I think you will feel like a much more powerful man when you reach the stage when you know how to chose your fights wisely and use your punches sparingly. And remember, there are no costly legal consequences to disarming someone with a smile.