Friday, March 29, 2013

"To This Day..." TedTalks on Bullying

Poet Shane Koyczan talks about bullying at the TedTalks

Jack Hoban often says that Ethics are from the inside out, while Laws are from the outside in. He goes on to say that if we don't exercise our ethics from the inside out our neighbors may try to exert laws to keep people in check from the outside in.

My spin on this idea regarding Protection, Empowerment, choosing to be a bully or a Protector:

Being protected can be done for you or by you. However, being Empowered and an Ethical Protector can only be done from the Inside Out. Finding your voice is important. Because without it you may never know what to stand up for or that you can even stand up at all.Your protection can be compromised or taken away, however you can only Choose to Give your Empowerment Away.

(That paragraph sounded like a little Craig Gray poetry right there mother trucker! I'm a poet and I didn't even know it. Just insert the beat! ...I'm cracking myself up this morning!)

It is easier for me to be a Protector if I am Empowered, because I am more likely to respect the Universal Life Value of self and all others. If I am not Empowered my idea of protection may be perverted to only protect those relative values of myself and/or my own group, resulting in the many forms of bullying & violence. It takes clarity and internal strength to see beyond your own fears of others relative values, differences & behavior. To have the strength to manage negative or violent behavior without judgment of another individual or group is even more difficult when we can be hurt in some way as well (emotional, social, physical, financial, etc). To respect the Life of Everyone while professionally dealing with the negative, sometime frightful or monstrous behavior is tough. It can sometimes be difficult to understand what would bring a "normal human being like you and I" to such actions or social customs. How could someone even do something like THAT?" This disconnect along with a fear of being threatened can initiate a protection response in us. When we feel this fear it is normal to want to defend or stand up for ourselves in some way. Being that it hurts us to hurt others, we try to separate emotionally from those we feel we need to defend against. That's when our brains begin to justify our need to defend while rationalizing the decision. We being to separate ourselves from the other to minimize the damage it does to our psyche. I call it the Justification Continuum. (But I'll explain that in more detail on another day).

For today I would like you to finish reading this and then watch Shane Koyczan's video above. It's very moving. You see, bullying starts young and it doesn't stop, we don't always "grow out" of it. We get older and the bullies do as well. And they take their bullying from the playgrounds to their wife and their husbands, to their kids, their jobs, their communities, their countries, the world, the universe.

People find themselves in positions of influence and power for only a handful of reasons:

1) You wake up one day wondering, Holy S#@T how did I get here?!

2) You enjoy inspiring people, leading, helping, being a protector, making a difference.

3) Your mom, dad, uncle, friend or relative owns the company or country. (You snicker, but you know it's true) 

4) You're a bully and seek higher positions to make yourself feel better (which doesn't work). You believe that by having a high position will shield you from others bullying you and at the same time you can exert control over them. 

I was bullied when I was a kid, but I was lucky to have found my voice early on. And when I did I figured that other people didn't like being bullied either, so being that I had a skill (martial arts) that could help others find their voice too, I began teaching. It felt good to provide an environment, a laboratory if you will, for people to find their own voice and practice using it.

As I grow older I realize that being a protector vs. helping a person to embrace their own protector nature is like the old analogy of giving a man a fish rather than teaching someone to fish. You remember it right? "Give someone a fish and they eat for a day, teach someone to fish and they can eat their entire life."

So, I embraced the same philosophy: Protect someone and they are safe that moment. Help someone find their Voice, embrace their Protector Nature and they live an Empowered Life!

I choose to do both: Protect life and inspire others to find their voice, their empowerment to embrace their Protector Nature themselves!

Now we're talking some real traction!

Enjoy the ride... it goes fast!


P.S. Thanks Shane for the beautiful words and your Powerful Positive Emotions . You change lives by saying what others can feel but struggle to express. Keep going brother!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Krav Maga Coffee Memories

Krav Maga Coffee Memories

By Moshe Katz

Starbucks, Brussels Airport, Belgium.

March 21, 2013

As is my custom I arrived at the airport hours before the El Al counter even opened.Thankfully there is a Starbucks directly across from the El Al counter, Row 7, Gate B.  Nice reggae music playing in the background. Relaxing.

Coffee memories; a long cup of coffee. You cannot drink it fast, makes you slow down, relax, think, take a pause in our hectic lives. Perhaps that is why I write best with coffee. Drink it fast and you get burned inside, slow down, let nature take its time, take your lead from nature.

Friends formed over coffee, deals concluded, thoughts crystallized.

People walking by, coming, going, everyone is going somewhere; going home, following a dream, meeting an obligation, real or imagined, closing a circle or opening a new one. Here new ideas are born and old ones laid to rest. Coffee, it changes everything, take it slow.

Do not respond quickly for your may respond in haste, have a cup of coffee, slow down and think it over.

Changes take time. The coffee bean meets the hot water, total opposites in form and color. The hot water changes color and taste by virtue of the coffee. The coffee bean loses itself but becomes something greater. It becomes one with the water, a new being, creating something greater than itself.

Faces and Places come to mind, my dear father of blessed memory, how he loved a good cup of coffee. I can picture him sitting with me and sipping his coffee while collecting his thoughts. My brothers, may the living be separated from the deceased, all devout coffee drinkers. Coffee around the world; Ukraine, Florida, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Milan, Italy, Jacobs coffee in Germany, Schamong coffee,  South Africa with Des, Annie, Jennie and Tyler, with my friend JC in Zurich and Esther in Israel, with the gang on Tour and Train.

Coffee, you have to relax.

With Krav Maga I often see beginning students who cannot relax, but ultimately to reach the highest levels in Krav Maga, you must relax, there is no other way, the flow, the rapid response comes from relaxing.  (but I am not saying non coffee drinkers are not welcome, some of our best people do not drink coffee, Craig, Serve…so…do not worry)

Krav Maga cannot be static, unchanging, like the coffee bean it enters the hottest water and changes everything, including itself. Krav Maga becomes new every day, changing flavor and color.

Airports, the scenes of some of the worst attacks on innocent civilians; Lod Airport in Israel, LAX, Athens, Zurich….

We train in Krav Maga to be ready, to be ready to respond, to react, to live freely. So that no man shall walk in fear, so we can live on our own terms. So we can enjoy our cup of coffee..

People walking by, I watch them, each one with his/her luggage, each with his/her "baggage", fears and concerns. Each one with the outfit they chose to showcase themselves to the world today, each one with hopes for a new day…

I am here to help make that a better day, a safer day, there are still so many dreams to be fulfilled.

By Moshe Katz

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Elementary My Dear Watson

Robert Downey Jr. & Jude Law Star in the 2009 Movie Sherlock Holmes

Due to a couple recent movies starring Robert Downey and Jude Law, Sherlock Holmes has once again come into fashion.Watching how this quirky detective figures out seemingly complex crimes using only his logic and perception is absolutely fascinating. Sherlock's power of observation seems almost supernatural. His ability to notice subtle clues and then extrapolate them to their logical conclusion is nothing short of amazing. It always intrigues me to find out how he does it.. how did he know? I can't speak for the rest of you, but I am always on the edge of my seat wondering how he figured it out. And when the details are finally revealed I often think to myself: Of course, how could I have missed that!? ...Or I knew that! It was right in front of our nose. 

When dealing with internal or external conflict we also have to be perceptive. The more aware we are; the better our perception we have, the easier it is for us to know how to best deal with the situation. However, if we cannot see past our own biases, habits or filters, we can become trapped by them. In short, WE can become the problem.

So how can we realize when we are becoming the problem?

  • Are you only relying on command presence (intimidation) or using it as your first attempt toward managing conflict?
  • Do you find yourself saying things that later you wish you hadn't said?
  • Do you often feel regret after the interaction? 
  • Do you find yourself wondering why you are in similar (unhealthy and/or unfulfilling) relationships or interactions time and time again?
  • Do you feel that people don't respect or listen to you?
  • How effective are you at inspiring people to voluntarily do as you suggest?
  • Do you view conflict as a hassle that needs to be dealt with or an opportunity?
Of course I could go on with questions like these, however I won't overwhelm you with any more than what I have listed.

There is a little exercise that I often take people through to help illustrate how we create the experience that we are having. I call it "iexperience."

What you experience is largely influenced by your perception (glass half empty vs. glass half full - Conflict vs. opportunity - Problem vs. challenge, etc.), which influences the choices you make. Over time enough of the same choices will develop your habits. We develop habits on how we deal with our emotions, other people and specific situations. Those habits will then determine our reactions to our emotions or feelings. Those feelings largely determine the experience that we are having in the moment.

So in order to change our experience we have to:

1) Understand that we have the power to create a new way of experiencing an emotion, person, or situation.

2) Increase our awareness so we can begin to make different choices which support healthier, more desirable habits.

3) Establish new habits that (over time, not over night) will alter how we deal with our emotions and how we create our experience.

As holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said, "You can't always determine what happens to you, but you can determine how you respond to it."

So, if you don't like the experience you are having, create a new one!

This often begins by simply noticing, which goes back to good ole' Sherlock Holmes and being perceptive. Start noticing things about yourself, about others, about the situations you are in, notice the environment and the interaction. Don't judge, try to figure out, fix, win, lose, avoid, etc. just simply notice what's going on inside and outside of you. Breathe, simply notice and let go. Be an observer.

Once you've tried that a while, then if what is happening inside or outside of you isn't healthy or what you want (or the short or long term result isn't what you are hoping for), then change for a change. In other words, choose to do something else; act another way. It is difficult to do something different. It is hard for us to do, not to mention other people don't always help us out either. Sometimes other people are used to us acting a certain way; their "role" is somehow tied up with ours, so often when we try to change our role it effects theirs and they don't like that, so sometimes people will resist you changing and making other choices because it may mean that they have to look at themselves differently as well. So they resist us making different choices.

If you don't like the way people are treating you, you have to look at how YOU are training them to treat you. No, I didn't stutter, you read that correctly. You have to educate other people how to treat YOU! Have you ever noticed that when some people walk into a room that they command a certain presence and other people get treated like dirt. How does that happen? Is it that the crowd just know how to treat them, or is it the person holding themselves a certain way, talking a certain way, walking a certain way, they are both somehow educating those people on how they expect to be treated.This happens over time, not over night. You didn't adopt your current habits overnight and you aren't going to change them overnight either! ...So keep going!

All the best,