Saturday, September 28, 2013

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

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 Maga episode of the Human Weapon. Those visitors, and all visitors, had to wake up, a rude awakening indeed.

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

But that is what our training is all about; the rude awakening. Better to have it happen in the training hall, among friends, and not on the street among enemies, thugs and derelicts.

My teacher Itay was not among the delicate types. He was far from "Politically Correct", he was simply.."correct".  "Man, you are shit!, you don't know shit, you are not even a white belt, you have to start from the very beginning."

Yes, that is difficult to hear, especially when you are already a "Master" (and you have a belt to prove it). Damn that hurts. What happened to being sensitive?

There is no place for "sensitive" when it comes to reality training.

What walk out of your house, someone has a grudge against you, but you don't know it...yet. Your mind is on your daily business, whom to call, what to buy, you are not in a "fighting stance", you are not in fight mode.

Bam! a punch out of nowhere. There was no chance to implement the "Eight Gates" of Kung Fu", or get into a Cat Stance, or jump into a Crane Stance. Damn, but it looked so cool in the movies! Why was I not prepared? Where did I go wrong?

But I am thinking about this all the time. This is the essence of our style of Krav; IKI Krav Maga. We are not dealing only with young men and women between the ages of 18-21 who are in combat readiness. We are dealing with everyone, we are dealing with you!

We are dealing with the guy who is rushing off to work but does not know that a jerk is lurking behind the corner hoping to get his wallet or settle a score. That is why our Combatives training must be very very simple. Because anything that is not simple is simply not going to work. Do you hear me? Not Going to Work!!

We train based on instinct, not on memorization. We train based on Concepts, not Techniques. We train based on gross motor moves, not fine precise moves. We train with the assumption that you will be fatigued and unprepared and wearing a suit, not army fatigues. Get it?

I do not believe, I question, I challenge, I strive to improve my chances and your chances for survival in a violent world.

By Moshe Katz - Krav Maga Instructor, Israel 

3 Day KRAV MAGA Seminar 
w/Israeli Instructor Moshe Katz & Conflict Management Expert Craig Gray
Coming in Jan/Feb 2013

Click HERE for details

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The (Not So) Ronin Way

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 although breaking their social norm were fighting for good and justice for all.

This idea of thinking for ones self and not being a puppet of "The Establishment" or beholden to some "master" so to speak, has guided a fair amount of my decisions when I was younger. Even today, I strive to be more authentic to myself and those around me. I have little tolerance for Political Correctness, rather I strive to be respectful to the Universal Life Value and strive for Most Good / Least Harm for everyone. I hate fake people, big organizational dog and pony shows or following someone or thing that went against my ethical perspective.

However, when I was younger I took this "Ronin" theme to extremes when dealing with many people and organizations over the years. Only recently (10 years or so) have I been tempering my Ronin Spirit so to speak. It has been a tough process... And am a long way from mastering it. But, as a result I have learned many things while dealing with people and organizations. This process continues to be an opportunity for personal growth for me, which often is accompanied with a fair amount of growing pains as a result. But I feel that the growing pains are well worth the efforts and challenges.

So as I deal with issues that come up with different organizations and people one of the ways I field these issues are by asking myself these questions before I respond to the situation at hand. Asking these questions help me to be better grounded and also to clarify the situation before I move forward with addressing the situation with the person or group.

I figured this process helps me out and you might find it beneficial as well the next time you run into something or someone that you find disagreeable.
  1. Why am I concerned or why did I find the circumstance offensive?
  2. Do I feel that it was inappropriate? If so how?
  3. Was it disrespectful? If so, how and to whom?
  4. Do I feel that the person (or organization) had malicious intent, was deliberately trying to disrespect, intimidate, harass, or attack a particular group or person?
  5. Do I feel the statement put me in danger in some way or somehow threatened me directly or indirectly?
  6. Could I possibly be overly sensitive about the issue or just the opposite, am I being insensitive?
I didn't find these questions over night nor do I remember consciously asking myself them until I recently had some issues with people posting comments on facebook that others felt inappropriate and as I was called in to moderate I had to better articulate my process on how I came to the conclusions I came to. Once I started thinking about the subject I began to realize I did think about some specific things and the list I shared (in this blog post) is what I realized I asked myself about the situation.

I hope you find this process (and the questions) helpful to you as well.

Keep going,

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Olympic Swimmer and the Lifeguard

I pulled this old blog post from my archives. I originally wrote it on Wednesday, November 5th 2008. It's a great post that I know you'll enjoy, but since it has been buried by years of other entries, I thought I would re-post it for everyone to read:

The other day someone asked me if I would train them to fight in a MMA match. I explained to him that I had a different view. I told him that I train people to live, not to fight and although there are many aspects of class that are physical and involve combat training, that aspect was a small part of a larger picture. At first he looked a bit confused and then a look of almost disgust came over him like I was trying to pull some Kwai Chan Cane philosophical BS on him or some how attempting to mask that I couldn't fight or that my classes were not practical because we didn't train to fight in the cage.

So instead of challenging him to a duel or something crazy like that, I explained it to him another way. I told him that I train Life Guards, not Olympic Swimmers. Both train to be good swimmers and although the Olympian could probably win in a competition against the life guard, that's not how or why the life guard does what he does.

Lifeguards learn to swim for altogether different reasons, reasons that out weigh merely personal gain. Yes, both need to know how to swim and how to swim well, but the life guard also learns many other things. They learn more than just how to be the best, fastest swimmer in the water. They learn about saving lives; how to protect and defend themselves and others. The training is different, they learn different things and more importantly they have a different focus. It's not about the competition, it's so much more than that.

It doesn't mean don't be the best you can be or don't learn functional techniques. It means look to the larger picture of what you want your training and more important your life to be. I am not trying to take anything away from what it is to be an Olympian because I do have a lot of respect for them and any athlete that pushes their own limits and gives it their all (I myself have competed numerous times in my day), but a competitor has a short shelf life and after its all done, win or lose, what's next?? What is the bigger picture? Is the path your on... the way you train... the way you live sustainable? Are the things you do today bringing you closer to being happy, more fulfilled tomorrow? Do your actions bring you peace of mind and help you with life or is your training just helping you to win your next competition? How many 55 year old boxers, wrestlers, or MMA competitors do you see?

Are you a protector/defender that trains for life, or a competitor that trains for your next victory. Isn't there always someone a little better? Someone younger, stronger, faster or in better condition waiting to knock you off your throne? At one time Muhammad Ali was young, cocky and the best boxer in the world, where is he today? Do police officers and soldiers have to be world champions to serve and protect? Do mothers or fathers?

So, I will leave you with the same thought that I left the young MMA enthusiast with:

You don't have to be the best, fastest swimmer to be a lifeguard. Although you will have to learn to swim.

Keep going,

Monday, September 2, 2013

Road Blocks

This is a familiar site here in Michigan for about three quarters of the year.

The other day I didn't have anything to eat yet, which often makes me a little cranky and to make matters worse I was running late for an appointment as well. So, I am driving a little faster than I should in an attempt to make up some time so I wouldn't be late for my next appointment. When suddenly I saw the dreaded orange death! A road closed sign. No problem I thought, that's an easy fix, I'll just take the back way. So, I cut the corner, did a "U-e" Rockford Files style and sped off down a side street. I was feeling pretty good about myself up until I ran into ANOTHER road closed barricade, followed by another and yet another (no shit, I'm not kidding - G.R. needs to plan these things a lot better before we have all out road rage riots due to being detoured from the detours, it's ridiculous!) 

I kept adapting my route; mapping and re-mapping a course that (hopefully) would get me to my destination at all if not on-time. 

That experience made me think that LIFE is a lot like this as well. We are going along our way toward whatever, where ever we are trying to go and WHAM! we run into a road block. When we run into something that prevents us from getting where we want to go we have a few choices:

1) Get upset, distracted, throw a temper tantrum as we resist what IS in front of us. Resulting not only in a delayed response time to dealing with the challenge, but also this attitude can ruin our experience and make us and those around us miserable.

2) Take it "Dukes of Hazzard" style and go through or over the road block. (Sometimes this isn't a bad strategy, however it should be a calculated CHOICE).

3) Stop the car and wait for the construction to complete and road to open up again. (Sometimes a viable option, however rarely a good option if you hope to get to your destination).

4) Let the barrier stop you from getting to your destination all together. 

5) As efficiently as possible for the circumstance, create another plan, take an alternate route and get back on track as soon as possible.

Although there are many takeaways in this analogy, the main ones I wanted to focus on here are:
1) Have a plan.
2) Be flexible & ready to make a NEW plan if your initial runs into a road block.. 

It's more about what YOU are going to do, than it is about what happens to you. You have to set the pace.

Enjoy the ride!