Mr. and Mrs. Krav Maga

I want to deal with a theme that comes up often, let's call it the Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde of Krav Maga. It is the apparent contradiction between the physical appearance and mannerisms of some Krav instructors and their combat abilities.

I recall the Bar Mitzvah of one of my students, Yisrael K. now a black belt and a commando soldier. The proud father of the boy introduced me to his father, the grandfather of the Bar Mitzvah boy, and said, "Abba, (Father) this is Moshe Katz, my son's krav maga instructor." The elderly grandfather looked me over for a moment, (I was dressed formally for the occasion, for me that is black pants and a white shirt, and a pair of shoes), and said, "B'emet, Really? He looks more like the Talmud teacher to me."

More than once I have been mistaken for a rabbi, which I don't mind at all.

Moshe Katz, Krav Maga instructor, not always looking the part

This scene has repeated itself many times, in various forms, throughout my career. I just don't always look the part of Mr. Krav Maga, the Jewish lethal weapon, the Zohan, the Israeli Killing machine.

Recently one of our American members went to train with Sensei Amy Jo Giles in Illinois. I would call Amy Mrs. Krav Maga, she is quick, aggressive, knows how to internalize and apply the techniques, and this is what our student experienced, but, outside of that she is sweet, caring, a devoted mom, the best friend you can ask for and with a great smile to boot. On the street she does not look scary, and I don't think I look scary either.

But that is OK; that is what Krav Maga is all about, empowering regular people. We are not all Olympic athletes, we do not all look like super heroes or have a killer image, but when we have to, we know what to do.

You might say that is Israel itself; a little country surrounded by hostile enemies.

We are a small nation consisting of immigrant Jews; former peddlers, scientists, jewelry makers, and violinists, and we have formed one of the greatest fighting forces in the history of mankind, and have consistency beaten back our enemies. This is Israel and Krav Maga; empowerment without showiness, strength without bravado.

We have our Rocky looking types, body builders and such but the real Rambos are usually biology students who were called up for reserves and took out a unit of Hizbullah terrorists, or a Talmud scholar who captured a gang leader in Gaza, or a yeshiva (rabbinical) student riding his bicycle through the streets of Jerusalem who killed a terrorist and saved dozens of lives.

We may not always look the part, but …watch out.