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Showing posts from 2013

Clarity

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"Midlife Crisis is when you get to the top of the Ladder and realize it was leaning up against the wrong wall."

~Joseph Campbell


I remember sitting in front of Davenport College (now Davenport University) alternating between looking up at the sky and reading Clive Barker's Weave World. It was the beginning of an interesting path. A couple years later, still at Davenport College I remember my capstone class for my business degree was an outside sales internship. I HATED it! However I felt as if I'd invested so much of my own and my parents resources how could I turn back? Not to mention I wasn't sure what else to do for a career?! All of my other pursuits (music, security type work, martial arts & travel) I did were not providing a sustainable income, so I continued to follow a path that not only was uninspiring to me, it quite literally made me ill. During that sales internship, it was everything I could do to bring myself to do my required cold calls. The s…

Against The Stream Krav Maga (by Moshe Katz)

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Moshe Katz (Far Left) & I (Craig Gray Far Right) with members of the Yamam  in Jerusalem during the first IKI Tour & Train in 2010
So Tour and Train November 2013 is over, and my friend Athos is one of the last to leave. We are at my house enjoying one last cup of coffee, l'ultimo caffè. When I was in Italy I purchased some Italian coffee, which is now coming in very handy. Athos, as a proud Italian, prefers making Italian coffee. Anything else is a compromise.
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Each morning of Tour and Train Athos prepared us Italian coffee, a little taste of Italy, here in Maaleh Adumim.
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As a new student and as a mature man, Athos offers great insights into martial arts and self defense. I have come to understand why he chose IKI Krav Maga for his training. Athos is a respected researcher and professor at a distinguished Italian university, he is a man trained to notice details and make observations. Through many conversations I have come to appreciate his sensitivity and his awaren…

Bullying Only Begins On The Playground

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I knew that I was screwed even before I opened the door for the meeting. I knew that my sales manager was going to bully me into agreeing on my new sales figures for the upcoming year. The company had a budget in mind which was aggressive or, in my opinion, unrealistic. Our bonus and commission rate was supposed to be an incentive so it was based on our growth, not necessarily on just the final sales numbers.  An interesting over complicated alga-rhythm that felt more like playing the shell game at some shady carney side show than holding a regular job. 


Now don't get me wrong, I know how difficult it can be to motivate people, especially when you are in charge of overseeing a guy like me who was a spirited, independent, go getter, not overly motivated by money and not to mention, (at the time) young, a bit cocky and probably too smart and intuitive for my own good. What was a sales manager to do?

Well, pushing unrealistic sales goals on to someone while telling them pretty much…

Sticks & Stones, Social Contracts & Other Lies Experts Tell Us About Bullying (Part 2)

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Before I begin part 2 of this post I wanted to thank everyone for the overwhelming response I received from Sticks & Stones, Social Contracts & Other Lies Experts Tell Us About Bullying (Part 1). I appreciate all of the good words, support, personal stories and thoughts that people shared with me on-line, in person and privately. People from all over the world and all walks of life seemed to identify with the story: From special ops military, to insurance salesmen; soccer moms to SWAT team members; Federal Marshall's to factory workers, firemen to financial advisers, Teachers to IT professionals, correctional officers, counselors and car salesmen. Men & women of all ages, backgrounds and social groups; straight and gay; it didn't matter. Almost everyone seemed to immediately identify with that story. Why, because many people have stories of their own either personal, someone they knew or a situation they saw in some way.

For those of you who know me better, you kn…

Sticks & Stones, Social Contracts & Other Lies Experts Tell Us About Bullying (Part 1)

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Tha-Wap! "Ouch, stop it," I cried out as I started to feel the fear, anger and humiliation begin to wash over me. Another red welt was beginning to swell on my bare leg as I tried to run for cover from my tormentor's onslaught of taunts and assaults, administered this time with the wet tip of a dish towel "rat tailed" and used like a whip against the naked skin of my legs, arms and face.

Would I end up going to the hospital again? Or would he just toy with me a little bit this time, before "allowing" me to beg for my release after his appetite was sufficiently satisfied from the control and violence?

I never knew.

You see I loved my brother. We were kids and we fought like brothers do, however sometimes... Too often, it would be more than just two brothers rough housing. Sometimes he would go too far; he would take out his frustration, anger and other issues out on me. When this happened it ended up being a bad day for me. Typically a day of blood, …

Some Perspective On Perspective

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"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it."
~Mary Engelbreit


Let's face it, sometimes bad things happen to good people. Some of these things are avoidable, other times there is nothing the individual could have done personally to prevent the situation. To be the victim of a circumstance is one thing, but having a victim mentality is something all together different. Having a victim's perspective is not only dis-empowering and uninspiring to ourselves and those around us, it is not a sound tactical practice. This (victim's) perspective in life or in the moment can cause us a great deal of pain, not to mention, when we are in this state we are choosing to give away our power and any chance of a tactical advantage.

You may have heard me talk about using Conflict as an Opportunity before? Well, this is the method that  makes that possible: Changing our perspective.

Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said,…

Happy Halloween!

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In the end, everyone is aware of this: Nobody keeps any of what he has, and life is only a borrowing of bones.
  ~Pablo Neruda


Happy Halloween!
~Craig

Tough Krav Maga or Smart Krav Maga - By Moshe Katz

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Moshe Katz while serving in the IDF

I am sitting on the plane now, trying to get comfortable, it is not easy. You see I have this sharp pain in my back. I know the exact spot; lower back, left side, just a touch to the right. And I know the exact moment it came about...

It was several years ago. I was still training on a semi-regular basis at the Jerusalem gym, more as a show of support than out of a desire to improve my MMA skills. In this particular MMA class I pared off with a young fellow, about my height but a few kilo heavier.

Now when it comes to a fight - I will do everything to defend myself, I will not allow anyone to hurt me. But with training drills we do not protect ourselves, we allow our partner, (not our opponent) to practice techniques on us. We do not protect ourselves; we trust our partner to protect us.

But my partner that day was young and dumb. He was a "tough guy" and caution and restraint is for the weak, the soft. So we were doing a dri…

Politically Incorrect, Inappropriate & Insensitive

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As our world continues to shrink, diversify and change, the effects on our daily social interactions also change. There are no areas in our lives where this shift isn't felt: Places of work, recreational activities, family gatherings, social events, etc. have all be affected by this incredible shift in social interaction.

The internet has increased the level of interconnectedness between average people to an unprecedented level which in the not so distant past would only have been achieved by a celebrity, or politician. Now-a-days it is as if everyone has their own Conan O'Brien Show. Drama is a drug and there are a lot of junkies running rampant. 

Lately there has been a lot of buzz about being politically correct, inappropriate or insensitive. These social constructs which were intended to protect and respect someones feelings and life value can also be misunderstood, taken out of context and misused.

Sometimes people are Politically Incorrect, Inappropriate and Insensitiv…

Out From Under From "The Book of Awakening" by Mark Nepo

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 "All the darkness! I'm going to walk into the light!"  ~Job
Sometimes there's just too much to consider, too much to understand and analyze, too many consequences to play out in our mind, too many things to clean, unpack, or repair before we can go out and play.

Sometimes the simplest and best use of our will is to drop it all and just walk out from under everything that is covering us, even if it is only for an hour or so (like going to Krav Class!) - just walk out from under the webs we've spun, the tasks we've assumed, the problems we have to solve. They'll be there when we get back and maybe some of them will fall apart without our worry to hold them up.

Wouldn't that be nice.

Action (or Non-Action) Steps:
Sit quietly and try to stop working your problems.With each breath, put a concern down and feel your being intact without it.Breathe freely and realize that your being is whole whether you solve your problems or not.Breathe, Relax, Let Go. From…

Krav Maga Imagine That by Moshe Katz, Krav Maga instructor, Israel

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Wow, what just happened?  And how did that happen? I mean, after so many years of training, how could it happen?

I have heard this many times, thankfully it has usually been after a "mock" attack. A guy comes in from another school, another style, he knows it all, he is already a master, and then he is attacked, caught off guard, unexpectedly, boom. "Can I have another chance?"

No. You only have one chance. Another chance may be years away. Train for reality. Get a reality check. On the street there is only one chance.

Back in the old days in the Jerusalem dojo, we had a structure set up like an apartment. We used it to train security guards, to prepare them for what they will encounter when when they go into an apartment, to arrest someone, to discuss domestic disturbance etc. As they would walk through the rooms they would be attacked. The results can be see on the "Jerusalem Krav Maga DVD". This sort of training was also covered in the Krav Mag…

The (Not So) Ronin Way

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When I was younger I found myself apart from the "Establishment," now as I grow older and my efforts and organizations are seeing more success I wonder if I have turned into the "Establishment?!"

The name for a few of my organizations, "Ronin Martial Arts Academy, Ronin Krav Maga and Ronin Empowerment Group," all have one name in common; "Ronin." For those of you who are wondering, the word Ronin is a term from ancient feudal Japan meaning a rogue warrior or in other words "a master-less samurai." Being master-less was not looked on as a favorable thing in ancient Japan. However many popular "super hero" type legends also stemmed from these Ronin. Stories such as 47 ronin and 7 samurai (or in America with the western spin we called it the Magnificent Seven), Yojimbo, even the movie "The Last Samurai" starring Tom Cruise tells a tail of the samurai that went a bit rogue. These stories were about how these Ronin alth…