By Moshe Katz
CEO Israeli Krav International

One of the greatest challenges in life, and one of the greatest causes of friction between people is lack of communication, or misunderstanding the intention. Words can be very confusing. I would say I don't know of any other social problem that plagues us as much as this. In life, in business, in teacher student relationships, in families, misunderstandings can be deadly. 

You can state the information, you can state your thoughts and opinions but there is a fairly decent chance that the receiving party is not getting it. He is not understanding it the way you intended for it to be heard. 

If the intended recipient did not understand your intention then you have not achieved your goal. Worse yet, you probably alienated the person and caused more harm than good. It would have been better not to have spoken at all. Sometimes silence is the wisest choice.

In fact this was stated in the Talmud quite clearly over 1,600 years ago, "Rabbi Ilaah said in the name of Rabbi Elazar son of Shimon, Just as it is a commandment to say that which will be heard, it is a commandment not to say that which will not be heard". (Tractate Yevamoth, 65B)

For this reason I make every effort to be understood, via blogs, e mails and at seminars. I do not just demonstrate the technique one time. I explain it clearly, break it down step by step, try to use stories and humor to make the points easier to remember. And, I repeat myself. Yes, I am aware of this.

Some may look at this and say, "He is not really teaching Krav Maga, he is not tough enough, there is not enough Action".

Some people say, first sweat, then talk. But you know what? If you do not understand the technique then all you are doing during the training is creating muscle memory for incorrect techniques, building up a good sweat and burning a few calories. Terrific, but you can do that in a gym, you don't need a Krav Maga expert for that.

But in reality I am using years, decades, of experience as a student and as a teacher to make my point in a way that you will remember it, in a way that you will absorb it and internalize it. Otherwise, there is no point in my speaking.

I recall years ago at Karate College, I trained very hard every day, 12 hours a day. I took photographs and I took notes, I still have full notebooks from each and every seminar. I became known as "the guy who takes notes". "There is the guy who always sits front row center and takes notes!"

Renzo Gracie said, "Hey, guy from Israel, after the seminar can I have a copy of your notes? I want to write another book."

rare photo, Karate College, Va. USA. Moshe Katz, left side in black outfit with white stripe, with notes and camera. Amazing that someone took this picture, I received it from Stewart Sparks many years after it was taken.

At the end of an amazing season I would ask fellow students. "What do you remember? What was your favorite class?"

The answer amazed me, "Actually I don't remember much, there was so much I can't actually remember anything specific but it was a great experience, how about you?"

"Me! Well I have a full notebook, about 79 techniques written down in great detail with photographs (I did not own a video camera at the time, could not afford one).

Yes, people were surprised. I came to learn. And, I like to be clear, as a student and as an instructor. As a student I ask many questions, "just to be clear", and as a teacher I use many examples, "Just to be clear".

Once in high school we were playing football, not a game I grew up with in Israel. The coach shouted out the instructors,"...go long, cross over, go short..etc".  I said, "Excuse me sir, let me see if I got this straight, you are asking Josh to go ....and Joel..and Kenny..."

He turned to one of the guys and said, "What is wrong with this guy, is he an idiot or something?"

My classmates answered, "Actually coach, he is the top Talmud student in our class, he just likes to make sure he understands everything".

Many people attend classes, lectures, but the speakers are not clear. I learned this in college, at martial arts seminars, in synagogues, most speakers are not clear at all and most people walk away having gained nothing at all.

Therefore I make a point about being clear. Say what you mean and mean what you say and do not have to apologize to anyone.

Avoid misunderstandings at all costs.

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