Lest we forget

Recently it was November 11th. In Canada, and much of the world, this day is Remembrance day. It is a day dedicated to paying homage to the Soldiers and Veterans who gave up so much to protect our freedoms that, well some of us at least are still enjoying. For Soldiers this day is very important as it is a reminder that some people still care and respect the sacrifices they make on a regular basis. In Canada this day is the epitome of Canadian culture as it highlights much of what Canada has done for the world and how much life has been lost in the name of freedom.

But what is the history of remembrance day and why is it important to Krav Maga?

On the website www.veterans.gc.ca it says this:

“Remembrance Day was first observed in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth. It was originally called “Armistice Day” to commemorate armistice agreement that ended the First World War on Monday, November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m.—on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.”

This means that Remembrance day was originally started for the British Commonwealth to remember the travesty of WWI. A war which at the time was so grand in scale and so great in devistation that they had thought it would be the war to end all wars. This is why at least until WWII it was referred to as “The Great War.”

The intention was wonderful yet clearly it did not stop WWII from happening, so does this mean that remembrance is not enough? I dont think so. It is not that remembrance is not enough, I think its because most people choose not to remember because such events have become so far removed from their lives that it simply not reality for them.

I have noticed in Canada, well, Vancouver at least which is considered to be multicultural that many of these cultures do not give it the same merit to it(rememberance day) that someone who was born here does (Though I don’t want to generalize too much, as I have many friends who come from other cultures who have great respect for this day).

poppies on soliders

Every year I have found that it is harder and harder to find the famed Poppy pin (the Canadian symbol for remembrance) and less and less people are wearing them. I am not sure if this is because there are simply less veterans to hand them out or it is because the majority of people simply do not think it is important. I think really, its a little bit of both.

So what does this have to do with Krav Maga? I think every thing! Before I make the connection I want to start with a few of my favorite quotes.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Sir Edmund Burke

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

The model we use to explain the progression of violence at UTKM is as follows:

  1. Avoidance
  2. Diffusion
  3. Pre-Emptive Self Defense
  4. Re-Active Self Defense

Remembrance, for all intensive purposes is essentially avoidance. Remembrance is akin to knowledge, which can allow you to better assess situations to make the correct decision so you can simply avoid the fight and go home safely. Choosing to remain ignorant, by not remembering the past limits your knowledge which potentially limits your ability to avoid conflict. This is why history continues to repeat itself, and is part of the reason people fail to defend themselves. If avoidance is the first and best step why is it that so many people fail to adhere to this step both on the micro and the macro levels.

If everyone had the same version (hopefully the most accurate and correct version)and same understanding of history, it is quite possible that we would not continue to repeat it.

Ignorance is bliss, or so they say, but ignorance is why history repeats itself. Ignorance is part of the reason that so many people continue to put themselves into situations that may result in harm to themselves or their love ones. Ignorance is why the world continues to struggle so much in eliminating things like poverty, global climate change, child soldiers, sex slavery and of course war. I do say part, as I acknowledge that some people may infact be inherently violent (Due to both Biological reasons and Learned behaviors) and prone to criminal behavior but as a whole I believe these things continue due to the continued choice of ignorance.

I say, if you truly are a Krav Maga practitioner, you should want to not only protect yourself, but also those around you. Krav Maga should be a life style in which we can all learn to “walk in peace”. If you truly are a Krav Maga practitioner you will not choose ignorance, you will choose knowledge and you WILL choose to remember.

To all those who have given their lives and continue to give their lives for the right reasons, I salute you, and I want you to know that I at least will always remember.