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Right to Defend

People used to tell me before I came over to the country that reality martial arts would never make a big impact over here; that New Zealand is safe and is cut-off from the troubles of the world. What confuses and agitates me are the statistics of crime that I see and read about daily in the news. I feel overwhelmed and my sentiments are unable to keep up with the abomination of all the things happening lately in the news. I simply no longer see the idealic picture that was portrayed to me at the Work New Zealand Expo in London 6 years ago.

The dark side ofNew Zealand society in the back of my mind gives me a sense of dread. Dread about the future of my children and leaves me with anxieties about molestation by adults and the terror of a drug-addicted and criminal future. This emotional inadequacy or impotence against a boundless sea of troubles at times makes me doubt my own humanity.

In martial arts the objective becomes clear; my existence is threatened and I defend myself. When I see online images of the dead scattered across the Sinai desert from photographs of the Arab-Israeli conflict I could see how the objective is clear to the Israeli. I am no military expert I have no idea of the calibre of the guns or the armour thickness all I am aware of is the enormous scale of the struggle for survival.

My newest student after one session with me was taken in by Krav Maga. She asked me if there were competitions that she could train for. I could see how quickly and easily she was able to learn and apply Krav Maga defences. I explained that the onus is not about winning medals and trophies; Krav Maga is all about personal protection. Yes we do have full-contact training but it more for self-defence rather than looking good and winning competitions.

In real fighting there is no bravado or machismo. In my mind’s eye I see the corpses of the fallen fedayeen bloated and blackened by the desert sun. In places bits of skull show through as the flesh corrupts in the desert heat. There is no glamour, no pity, just horror. I am thankful that I do not have to smell the scene. To me there are no contrasts; the picture simply tells me that the existence of Israel was threatened and the Israelis defended themselves. This Israeli attitude is what I aim to convey in my classes, with Krav Maga self protection is not a right but a necessity.

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