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.
Modern martial arts are something for people to show off their athletic prowess in sport fighting, board breaking and dramatic self-defence demonstrations. It keeps the parents happy by providing a challenging activity for the kids; it fosters discipline and builds self-esteem. When the world witnessed spectacular terrorism of a few men armed with box cutters who managed to subdue planeloads of passengers; the reality of the types of issues normally faced by the Israelis began to manifest themselves globally. Many started to ponder exactly how they would cope with a weapon threat, and how they themselves could use simple tactics to facilitate escape and to use weapons of opportunity in their environment.
Last weekend I ran my Intro to Krav Maga seminar at Glenfield. I was fortunate enough to have the editor of PhysicalArts attend my seminar. I think all who attended had fun and walked away with a few useful techniques. Those attending got to experience the rawness of the system with its direct striking methods (combatives), its tactical approach and simple self-defence applications.
What has always bothered me about the many people involved in martial arts is that their style becomes almost like a religion, where they refuse to think outside their own discipline. The emergence of MMA as a mainstream event has remedied some of this wrong thinking however I still often come across many martial artists who refuse to accept that they may end up having to grapple or may get taken down. Krav Maga deals with all situations encountered in MMA as well as much more. In my classes I go over easy, effective defences for situations involving striking, grappling, ground fighting and weapon attacks.
In Hebrew culture, this is now the start of a New Year; a time when God inscribes the fate of every man into the Book of Life. He seals his verdict on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. For observant Jews this is a time of reflection and effort to amend their behaviour, to fast and pray and earn God’s favour. It is possible to radically change our behaviour by associating the love of God with struggle and hard work. This way we can literally gain pleasure from working hard to pursue our goals and dreams.