The Wall
By Moshe Katz, Krav Maga Instructor, Israel

IKI Morelia, Mexico. The wall in the background is an excellent realistic training device. We used it during our training. Next to Moshe Katz is IKI Instructor Cristian Vasquez

United, Flight 6062, coffee served by Ariel, with a sweet smile

Every building has walls. That is simply the nature of a building. The walls serve many purposes: holding up the building, creating divisions between rooms, keeping out the cold or heat, protecting us from outside intruders.

I see the wall in another way. A wall can be used for pain and violence. An innocent victim can be slammed against a wall, the wall can be used to smash their head in, to pin their body to the wall, as leverage to choke them or trap them.  The wall can be dangerous.

The Wall can protect but the Wall can also lock you in. You must learn to use the wall, you must come to understand it. Walls are part of our lives. 

There are walls all around us, in every sense, in every way. During my 4 hour drive from Traverse City to North Ranch, Michigan I asked IKI Instructor Michael Weingartz about the walls at the dojo where the seminar would be. I was hoping to use the wall for my "IKI Krav Maga Wall techniques", but he informed me that it was built as a traditional dojo and one wall was covered with breakable mirrors and the other was lined with trophies. He regretted that we could not do wall techniques. We reflected on that idea.

Trophies and mirrors. Think about it.

Imagine, bad part of town, or a good part of town, a relationship gone bad, an angry discussion gone violent, a college campus (where a young woman was killed by her ex boyfriend who smashed her head against the wall in her dorm room); a person is caught by surprise, slammed against the wall. There goes the head, splattered all over the wall.

Imagine; middle of the night, you are in bed, you hear a sound, you get out of bed to see what it is. Next thing you know, with your back to the wall there is a gun pointed directly at your head, (again, a real life story). Time to say your final prayers, lights out...unless...unless you have trained for this scenario, unless you have the right tools.

But how can you when your dojo is designed for mirrors and trophies?

We choose practical self-defense over fancy decorations.

A psychopath grabs a dancer at a night club and shoves her against the wall. She cannot breath. (Yes, again a real story, she now trains in IKI Krav Maga). What can she do?

We have solutions, we train with walls. We train under all circumstances.

The mirror is for us to look at ourselves, I have no need for this, nothing to see. Trophies are a reminder of a past accomplishment, a snap shot in the family album. It is a memory.

The Wall, our lives are blocked by walls; walls of ignorance, walls of hatred, walls of past anger, walls that lock us in, walls that stifle our thoughts and growth.

Ariel, our flight attendant, serves coffee, and smiles. Our flight was delayed for nearly two hours. When we finally boarded the pilot announced that we are waiting for the guys to come and refuel the plane, but, "I called them twice but they did not come. I don't know why." (feeling really great now!)

But Ariel's smile breaks down the walls of anger. It breaks down the wall of cultural and ethnic differences.  She says to me, "I hope I can add a positive experience to your Chicago ordeal."

A smile can tear down walls...

This morning IKI Instructor Adam Munzing drove me through some of the bad, run down, ghetto parts of Detroit. He showed me "burnt out Detroit" and shared some horrific stories of abduction and murder.

I look at some of the abandoned warehouses and I imagine a person being slammed against one of those walls.

IKI Krav Maga uses those walls as part of our training. We use them to our advantage, we say, "The Wall is your friend". We use the wall to save lives.

Some walls can be broken down with a sweet smile, but other cannot, so we train. Krav Maga Wall training.

"Mother do you think it's dangerous?" 

"Mother do you think they will break my ba....?" (Pink Floyd)

Mother, did it need to be so high?

"Did you see the frightened ones? 

This is reality. Old Pink Floyd has captured that emotion of cold fear. The reality of fear and danger...violence. 

"Is this not what you expected to see?"

Ariel passes by again..."Can I get you anything Moshe? Do you need anything? Her sweet smile and kindness can tear down the wall...but what about those others..the dark ghettos we drove through?

People who have lost all hope, all life value?

Cherish the smile but prepare for sudden and extreme violence. Keep the smile in your heart but the train for the Dark Side of the Moon.

"I am just a new boy, stranger in this town".

"Where are all the good times?"

"Night after night we pretend it is alright".

But it is not, our training is incomplete.

Train for all circumstances; planes, trains and automobiles...and walls.


Moshe:  Really good blog on walls.  I’ve been re-emphasizing the “walls are your friends” approach for years and as we delve into cars, elevators and even prison cells this concept becomes more and more valid.  Most people are afraid of getting into a conflict in very close and confining quarters  but once they realize that if you adopt the ‘attack the attacker’ attitude you immediately have the advantage.  The other guy has no place to go or to set up to retaliate.  Obviously this takes training.


As an example last night a new student, a prison guard, was bemoaning having to get into a cell with a violent prisoner and said he would really prefer that they get out of the cell into the big hallway.  We took him to the elevator in our building, showed him a number of empty hand, gun and knife attack scenarios inside the elevator and he totally changed his mindset.


On another note (interesting coincidence, I guess) I once had a large amount of trophies from drag racing when I was a teenager and young adult.  I cherished them for a long time as my main achievement in life.  A few years later I gave them all away to an acquaintance who used brass and similar plated metals for wall plaques, etc.  He asked why I was so willing to voluntarily give these away.  My response was, as you said….That was another time and in a way another life…..Besides that they collect dust and are a real pain to keep clean.

Hal Herndon, Georgia, USA

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Tour and Train learning about the history of the Jewish-Roman wars at the sites were they took place nearly 2,000 years ago.