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If you are new to martial arts or have done it previously but are switching schools there are always some dos and don ts. This is of course only my opinion, but it is based on what drives me nuts when new students come. And trust me, annoying your martial arts instructor from the start is not the way to go. Remember your instructor is a human too, and like any relationship sometimes first impressions do matter.

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1. Don’t come in with too many expectations

Everyone thinks they know what to expect especially when they are new, because they researched it on the internet. Or they know exactly how things are going to go. This is not true.

“What you found on the internet, may infact, be bullshit.”

 

Every school is different they have different standards, expectations and cultures and what you found on the internet may, in fact, be bullshit. The best thing to do is show up try out some classes see if its what you like and if so keep going.

If of course, you had previous experience in martial arts for the love of god please don’t talk about the way your old school did stuff. If you were able to keep training there or you liked training there then why aren’t you training there? Again, every school is different, and some are the right fit for you and some are not. So accept the new schools’ culture and ways (if you like it) and leave your old school where it belongs, in the past.

2. Don’t tell them you are serious and are going to train all the time if you are not

This one drives me insane because it happens all the time. I think people just don’t understand how much energy it takes to train all the time. If you have school, work and a family, life gets in the way and sometimes you cannot train as much as you think you can.

But more importantly, Actions speak louder than words. I don’t care who you think you are, I don’t know you and no I DON’T trust you. If you tell me “man, believe me, I’m going to be in here every day,” I WILL assume you are full of shit because 9 times out of 10 I hear this the person is full of shit.

The person who says nothing and is training 3-4 times a week is the person who I will trust when they say they are going to do things.

And no I don’t care what your reason is for not showing up because all I see is you are not showing up. If you want to make the time for it, you will, no excuses.

3. Don’t ask for special discounts just because it’s you

No you are not special and I don’t care, if I wanted to give you a special discount I would. Aside from that, if discounts are not listed don’t ask. Are you my family? or longterm friend? if the answer is no then you are not entitled to any discount (and even then they sometimes are not) because it is a business and until I build a relationship with you, you are not my friend you are a student. So stop asking, it is rude and it is annoying.

Of course, if discounts are explicitly listed, and you are entitled to it, then prove it and you should receive it. For example, I offer 30% off a first program for military or LE etc. (even though most of them never come to train because of time or other reasons.)

4. Don’t complain about the price

It is a business. Period. And unless prices are abnormally high for the region the prices are what they are for a reason. See above regarding discounts. But just like you the business owner may also be struggling, so it is again rude to complain about pricing. Maybe in other cultures where haggling for prices is the norm but in Canada and much of the west it is not acceptable behaviour so don’t. It is insulting to your instructor and school. Plain and Simple. And don’t try to find ways to be cheap about it, because that is even worse. If you like what a school is offering, then pay for it. If it is expensive for you and you want to do it then learn how to prioritise your spending so that it isn’t an issue.

5. Don’t ask why you aren’t getting better if you never show up

Seriously, Show the FUCK up. Again actions are louder than words, and I don’t care what you tell me. If you want to get better, then please know that once a week, or once every few weeks is not good enough to get proficient at anything.

Sure I offer once a week options for people who have busy lives. I would rather you train than not train even if it is once a week. But as long as you know you will not get good fast then it is ok. Stop asking how to get better if you are not training 3-4 times a week because other factors beyond its because you are not training enough.

6. Do not put your instructor on a pedestal

Your instructors are humans, don’t expect anything from them other than being a good instructor. If they are not then going somewhere else, otherwise they are subject to everything life has to offer same as you. If you dont like who they are as a person, but they are really good instructors than you are in fact getting what you are paying for. If you dont like who they are as a person either choose a class in the same school that someone else is teaching or go somewhere else. Because if you put an instructor too high up and one day you see a side that you don’t like then this may affect your ability to train at the school you like. So be realistic and understand that it is about how well they teach you and make you better more than anything else.

This is only a few items, and I am sure I can think of more, but these are some of the things that have come up over the last few months and I feel like they should be adressed.

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Krav Maga is a system based on reality, or at least it should be. The real world is dirty, and our continued belief that people are all good, or they are all stable, or they are perfect is a false narrative. Its just not real, and we need to stop believing such things.

Sure. Some people don’t drink, do drugs, party or do anything that some people might consider enjoying life. The reality is, however, anything but as the majority of people are not “pure” in the traditional conservative sense. Look at the current scandals in Hollywood. These people who are the “leaders” of culture at least in North America and being uncovered to be real people, with faults and dirty secrets. and not the pure people we keep pretending they are.

My point is that life is messy, people are messy, and things are rarely what they seem.

Krav Maga is no different. Though there are many problems in the Krav Maga world one of the issues, I would like to discuss is the idea of the puritan Krav Maga Instructor.

Often, traditional martial artists who have been doing it for years find Krav Maga. For one reason or another, they decide they are going to teach it or integrate it into their programs. Of course, if you taught any traditional martial arts, your mentality and school culture will be heavily ingrained in that styles culture, which may not be realistic in nature.

Take the Bushido code, for example, an ideology that is more modern in many ways than we like to think. If you as instructor adhere to it strictly in your life and school and yet teach Krav Maga, I am not sure if you understand how to teach Krav Maga.

“Do you really understand the reality that is Krav Maga and the violence associated with real self defense scenarios?”

 

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting people go to any of the following. However, if your life is too pure I ask, do you really understand the reality that is Krav Maga and the violence associated with a real self defense scenario?

If you have never had a drink. If you have never done any drug(s) (coffee is a drug ) or even have never been around drugs. If you have never been in a fight or have seen a fight in the street. If you have never been exposed to the harsh realities or hardship that so much of the world has to deal with like being broke, being hungry or you have never exposed your self to the abuse that some people have had to endure, are you really equipped to teach real Krav Maga?

Real self defense is dirty, real self defense isn’t preatty because real life is neither of those things. If you don’t at least understand these aspects of life I am not sure you are equipped to teach any form of self defense let alone Krav Maga.

Again, I am not saying go on a bender so that you can understand what so many people have experienced but what I am saying, if you were never exposed to the real world then perhaps you do not understand as much as you think you do.

A saying that I like in one variation or another is as follows.

“A fool repeats his mistakes. A smart man learns from his mistakes. But a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”

 

In the context of this article, it means that you don’t have to experience it personally but at the very least expose your self to the harsh realities of the real world that so many people have to deal with.

If you have never gone hungry for a few days, if you have never even been around people on cocaine or other drugs. If you have never left your suburban neighbourhood and taken a walk down a dark alley where it’s not so nice, then I ask again. Do you understand the harsh realities of the world? I think not.

If your life has been too pure, you may be lucky, or you may be a fool, but I think you shouldn’t be trying to teach self defense of any kind because I genuinely believe you don’t understand.

One of the reasons this is an important thing is because many people are attracted to Krav Maga because they have been exposed to these realities and they want to learn how to protect themselves from the real world better. So if you have never been exposed to any of it and you live your life according to any kind of puritan code then how can you possibly relate to the majority of your students? I just don’t think you can, and I think you are doing a disservice to them.

Of course, if you only teach to people like you then perhaps you are ok, but I just don’t think these kinds of schools properly prepare people for violent conflict of any kind.

If you are a student, ask your self, does your instructor really understand the real world?

If you are an instructor, ask yourself, do you really understand the real world?

If you are honest and the answer happens to be NO, then perhaps you should either get some more experience or do something else for a living. and for the record, age is not always a factor when it comes to experience. Though it is a correlation, remember correlation does not equal causation. I have met some 12 year olds who have experienced more in their lives than some 50 year olds, for good or bad.

Just my two cents.

 

Being a Cop: Train First, Apply Later

Posted: November 14, 2017 by Jonathan Fader in Krav Maga Opinions
Tags: , ,

 

 

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Are you Ready? Because he was.

 

So you want to be a cop? If this statement applies to you, then you need to ask your self if you are properly prepared to become a police officer. You should know it is one of the most stressful jobs with a very high rate of PTSD, stress, alcohol abuse and more.

Every year I get numerous people tell me they would like to be a police officer. Half the time they are fresh out of high school, I usually roll my eyes as they are idealistic and still believe the law and justice are blind as it is supposed to be. The reality is not. Thankfully in Canada, the RCMP and almost all police forces will not take people fresh out of high school. They usually want people 25 and older with life experience and bachelors which are all great requirements to set in place. This is because, with such requirements, the individual has had time to grow, experience and get a bit of an education. After all, no one wants a meathead cop with no life skills or education.

The average young person who wants to be a cop usually has between 5-8 years before they will even be near a gun and badge (again I can only speak for Canada, though I know much of the USA has issues with low standards for being a police officer). So what is an ambitious young person to do with all that time? Aside from the obvious which is get a BA, the less obvious is get trained in some form of hand to hand combat style and shooting for tactical purposes.

Unfortunately not enough people do the later of the two as they assume wrongfully they will get enough training in the police academy of their choosing.

In my experience, this is a dangerous mentality as most police academies do not spend sufficient time on hand to hand combat and when they do are often teaching antiquated or terrible techniques. I say this because almost everyone I know who goes in with previous training is often shocked at what is taught and can think of a million reasons why it is garbage. I even know one individual who was a high-level grappler with MMA experience tell me they had to sit them self out during that hand to hand because the refused to do what was taught. (They still became a police officer, so don’t worry.)

With regards to shooting, while all candidates need to qualify on their pistol, in Canada at least, after they become police officers they usually get little range time to keep their skills up. Assuming that once you are an officer of the law, you will time to continue to train is also false.

In Canada, the RCMP at least are subject to 4 days of 12-hour shifts with four days off. However, they end up doing a lot of overtime, due to the poor way in which the organisation is structured. Add on family obligations, rest and other general tasks and training usually falls away as a priority. This is a dangerous mistake, as skills can be lost and is not beneficially to you as the officer, or the public you are sworn to protect.

So what is an ambitious young person who wishes to be a police officer to do right out of Highschool? The answer should be obvious by now. Train! Get that BA if it’s a requirement, and get some general life skills or field experience such as volunteering for community policing or do security. But above all else TRAIN! If it is going to be 5-8 years maybe even longer before you become a police officer that is more than enough time to attain a Blue, Brown or Black Belt in any particular appropriate style.

Of course, I prefer, Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo or other styles suitable for policing but the reality is training in combatives is important for you to understand violence and be competent enough to apply it appropriately as a job when under duress, which you will be constantly.

In the end of the day, Grades mean nothing when you are approaching a violent suspect or criminal and will do nothing to protect you but proper training will. In addition to hand to hand combat, it is advised you put in the time at the range or at the very least practising dry fire with pistols, shotguns and carbines as these are the platforms most police will need to know.

So you want to be a cop? Great, I hope you make a great one. But if you are fresh to the adult world put together a proper plan to give you the correct skills that you may not actually get in the police academies even though they are ones you need. And Trust me, you will not get proper training to the level you require. Much of the training you will get is to do with the laws and paperwork. If a training academy is only 3-6 months long how can you possibly attain proper proficiency in hand to hand combat or shooting when mastery takes far longer than that. So would you risk putting your life on such a limited amount of training? I certainly would not.

Your plan should include, getting an appropriate education, getting into shape and achieving high physical fitness and training yourself properly in Hand to hand combat and shooting PRIOR to becoming a cop. Again, trust me, you probably won’t have much time after, and by then it’s too late.

So you want to be a cop? Train now, Apply later.

Remember, Remember, November 11th

Posted: November 9, 2017 by Jonathan Fader in UTKM General News
Tags: , ,

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In 2 days time, most of the commonwealth will be remembering the fallen soldiers who fought and died for their country, a cause, or even a dream.

The Last Post is used by Commonwealth military funerals and ceremonies commemorating those who have been killed in war

When I grew up it was a staple part of November, to wear a poppy leading up to the day. Receipt or see someone receipting In Flanders Fields, To look at military heritage and the contributions of my Nation during WWI & WW2 and to contemplate whether or not we will ever have peace.

That was when I grew up, even then people seemed to have much stronger identities bother at a personal level and national level. Nowadays, violent protestors, loud dissidents and confused young people yell and scream and call you a racist or a bigot if you show any national pride or support for the military.

Don’t get me wrong. There is some merit to their misguided nature. Unlike the World Wars, though more particularly WW2, most modern wars were not really about freedom, they were about politics and resources. Sometimes we sit in our ivory tower that is the 21st century and snub our noses at the ancient world and their wars, forgetting that we are no different. The only difference is that it has evolved from bows and Arrows to bullets and cruise missiles but we are still fundamentally at war for the same reasons as they were most of the time. Politics and resources. So their anger towards the government and the military’s blatant disregard for the people of this world is justified.

However, and I said a big However. This does not mean you get to erase such days from our culture because you see it as warmongering. It’s not about war it’s about remembering the fallen and those who sacrificed.

Revisionist history is ok only when new facts or evidence were discovered, and the history books legitimately need to be updated. Revisionist history is NOT ok because you do not like some aspect of history or because you do not understand the concept of historical context. Who are you, Stalin?

Erasing history for the sake of ideology, politics or simple misguided stupidity is disgusting and wrong. On top of that, again, remembrance day is not about the governments and their wars, it’s about the soldiers. Thos who lived and died, Suffered and

Erasing history for the sake of ideology, politics or simple misguided stupidity is disgusting and wrong. On top of that, again, remembrance day is not about the governments and their wars, it’s about the soldiers. Thos who lived and died, Suffered and sacraficed.

You don’t have to agree with why the soldiers are fighting or who they are fighting or even what they died for, But they sacrificed their lives, their time and often their families.

Remembrance day is about the people, who served, only to be forgotten, ignored and thrown to the gutter. Governments in the western world in many cases find it far too easy to drop support for veterans and soldiers because the general populous doesn’t care . Thus they ignore those who sacrificed for political gain. The governments find it far too easy to forget what the right thing to do is, all in the name of getting elected next term.

In the end, it’s the people who are forgotten, Not the governments. Forgetting history is a disaster. The fact that most people I know barely know it, is already bad enough. But to allow a day such as a remembrance day to slip from our culture is beyond reprehensible.

Yes, I too would like a world without war, but that day is not today and will not be tomorrow. So in the meantime, don’t be childish and disrespectful to those who sacrificed and remember, remember the 11th of November and what its really about.

Music a Tool to change mood: A Personal History – Part 3

Posted: November 2, 2017 by Jonathan Fader in Mental Health

Music a Tool to change mood: A Personal History – Part 2

 

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Depression near Nabulus

 

Fast forward to the middle to later part of my service. Stationed in Nabulus (Schem) on a mountaintop next to a Jewish Settlement overlooking numerous Arab villages. It was a particularly stressful time with little sleep, constant guard duty, pointless riot control that was like a stupid game of cat and mouse. At the same time, my best friend at the time and Spotter had been selected to go to sergeants school which means he would be gone. At the time I didn’t realise how having him, there was helping me to keep my sanity, but apparently, my commanders noticed a drastic change in my behaviour after that.

Outside of the army, almost all the people whom I had moved to Israel with had either moved off the kibbutz where I was living or were people I disliked or vice versa. Nothing had gone to plan, and I felt Isolated and alone with no support. I was spiralling into a deep depression and didn’t even know it at the time. Thankfully I rediscovered the album Kelidescope by Tiesto which had been released a little over a year previously. Though controversial from his fans as it branched away from his traditional style, it might have literally saved my life.

I found myself when not on guard duty, putting my headphones in and putting one or two of his songs on repeat. I could be seen pacing around our room or the base listening to it on repeat on what could probably look a zombie with earphones. At this time the album was the only things that brought me any Joy. One song often found itself on repeat. Here On this Earth feat. The Cary Brothers

“And the sun has fallen, and the backbeat’s telling truths
That you want to hear, and you want to hear again
And the closer that you get, with the force of all the weight
And it’s also clear, do you want to feel her

Want to feel her, want to feel her

For as long as you are, here on this earth
I feel alive
For as long as you are, here on this earth
I feel alive

And you take your time, because we’ve got all night
Saturday or nothing, we can do what we want
I’m a sucker for your game, it’s the way you tease
And it’s so unreal, when we touch the ceiling

For as long as you are, here on this earth
I feel alive
For as long as you are, here on this earth
I feel alive

Make it so, it shakes your heart
Nice and slow, but can you let it go
And you feel life fall away, and you have no fear
And you let it go, just let it go
And you feel life fall away, and you have no fear
Can you let it go, let it go

For as long as you are, here on this earth
I feel alive

Feel alive, feel alive, feel alive, feel alive
Feel alive, feel alive, feel alive, feel alive”

Though the song talks about love, and a person existing giving the person meaning for me it was the chorus that helped me.

“For as long as you are, here on this earth, I feel Alive”

For me, I put myself in place of the lover and the protagonist and as long as I was Here on Earth, I felt Alive. Just like the Warrior I had imagined myself before coming, I felt alive, and I was fighting for myself emotionally though at the time I didn’t know it. It wasn’t until much later after I returned from Israel and had a manic depressive episode that I even knew I had depression. But this song grounded me at what would be one of the darker times in my services.

Music. A powerful tool. Intuition says so, Science says so. So how are you going to use it? Early in my life, I used it to enhance my mood negatively. Later, I used it to motivate and drive me forward. Then I used it to stay alive and feel alive. The trick is not just finding music because it is trendy but finding music that not only speaks to you personally but music that can be used positively to enhance your mood. Don’t listen to music to enhance dark moods for this will only make you feel worse. Find music that inspires and motivates and keeps you feeling alive. Use it as a tool to help you with your mental challenges so that you can once again walk in peace.

Conclusion Note:

When I chose this topic to write about I had an entirely different idea in my head of what the final product would look like. But then I started writing. I began to listen to the songs I discuss, some of which I have not listened to in a long time. Not surprisingly to me, though slightly unexpected and certainly surprising to anyone who thinks they know me these songs brought back some relatively strong emotions as I re-lived these times in my life.

This just shows the power of music and its effect it has on emotion. Despite what people think even my self the robot is only human and is still subject to the same general biological rules as everyone else. I thought, am a warrior at heart, and accept my humanity, even if I think emotions cloud judgement far too often for far too many people. So if you have a hard time with emotional control find the tools and use them positively, music is just one of the few tools that can help.

 

On this Haloween day, this seems an appropriate topic. On Halloween, we dress up as things we might not actually be. We pretend to be things we are not to fantasize and step out of our personal reality if only for a brief moment. Perhaps we dress and act as we wish we could be, and for a brief moment, we are allowed with out judgment to be just that. So how well do you know yourself based on what you do for Halloween, do you know yourself as well as you think? or just like Halloween are you just pretending.

 

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Sun Tsu is a Chinese military strategist who lived thousands of years ago. There is still much debate about who the person really was but one thing is for certain who ever they were they managed to leave a legacy longer than most. The quote above is from the Art of War. A book on military strategy and philosophy still taught today in Military academies around the world.

Personally, I think it is one of the few pieces of literature that should be mandatory to learn and study at some point in everyone’s standard education. For these lessons can be applied to far more than just war. They have been applied to business and relationships and pretty much every interaction that involves interpersonal connections through out history whether people know it or not.

I believe that everything there is to know about being human was already learned thousands of years ago the various ancient civilisations that once were now gone but not forgotten. Though have we forgotten that which is most important? Sure we know a bit about ancient history and philosophy, but as humans, we seem to be constantly relearning the things they already knew.

So thousands of years ago, Sun Tsu, knew that knowing one’s self is the most important thing to victory. For most humans, Ego is the enemy of Self. It can prevent a person from looking within and accepting who they truly are whether they like what they find or not. Accepting yourself. Accepting your limitations. Accepting your skillsets. Accepting what you can and cannot do, can only come from knowing one’s self.

For some, this is easy. For others, it is a long and painful journey. No matter who you are, however, it is a journey you must take if you ever hope to succeed.

One of the first and hardest questions you have to ask is, do you like who you are as a person. If the answer is yes, ask again, are you lying to yourself? If the answer is no, they find out what it is you don’t like about your self.

Generally, when the answer is no, you have two options.

  1. Change your self –Change that which you don’t like about yourself or your life no matter how hard so that you can become the person you want to be. The journey can be hard, harder still if you let your ego overcome and allow yourself to lie to yourself on what you must do to change.
  2. Accept your self for who you are – The positive side is you may find the path to happiness shorter, the negative is if you have attributes that others find problematic, you may constantly find stress in interactions with others. However, if you truly accept yourself, you won’t care.

Regardless of which of these two routes you take, as both are correct answers, once you know yourself and accept yourself, you will still face numerous external challenges. People will often accuse you that you don’t know yourself that well, even if you do. Sometimes a person fails to articulate effectively how well they know themselves. Or worse, they fail to take the steps necessary to show others.

The later of these statements usually applies to people stuck in option One. They know themselves, don’t like themselves but don’t know how or are unwilling to truly make the changes necessary. In my observation again it is usually ego that prevents people from knowing and accepting their limitations. YES, you have limitations and NO you cannot do what ever you set your mind to no matter how much you believe, because no you cannot defy the laws of the known universe or the reality of the world around you.

While choosing option 2, because you don’t care, you will be called egotistical along with numerous other names. Or the classic, let me help you. Sometimes when a person says they don’t want to be helped its because they don’t. Though it should not be confused with a person who doesn’t want your help because they are letting their ego get in the way. Since we do not mind readers, you will never really know which applies. Know the issue with option two is that sometimes it can be quite isolating, but this too is something you must accept should you wish to be happy.

Another big problem is keeping things realistic. Sometimes belief in one’s self can blind. You must not confuse ego, with evidence based beliefs in one’s self. It can be again, a difficult line to tell. If you know yourself, but are 5’6 and know you want to be a basket ball player in the NBA then chances are you are lying to yourself about the reality of the world you live in. Part of accepting yourself is knowing legitimately what you can and cannot do and what is realistically possible. Believing anything else again is a lie and will only lead to more self-doubt and misery. Accepting such realities can be a hard thing, but it is something you must too if you truly wish to know yourself.

Though I am sure this post is nothing but words on a page to you and will do little to bring some introspective reality into your search for self and happiness within, Know this. Everything that has ever been needed to know about being human has already been learnt. You just need to open your eyes, look within and accept. Accept what the ancients already knew, that accepting one’s self in all the beauty and ugliness both within and without is the only true path to happiness and ultimately personal success.

Side Note: Being happy with being morbidly obese is not ok. Or being happy with other things that affect your health in a way that is overtly negative, outside of moderation is also not ok.  You are not doing your self, or your loved ones a favour and continuing to believe other wise is you simply not willing to do the work to overcome your ego and be a better version of yourself. So please, stop with this kind of nonsense beliefs.

Music a Tool to change mood: A Personal History – Part 1

It’s actually because of Matisyahu and his music that helped convince me at the right time to drop everything, move to Israel and join the IDF. Specifically, two songs. Jerusalem and Warrior which also happen to be two of his earlier songs. But with all music, words alone cannot do them justice so here are the songs, assuming It doesn’t get pulled.

Jerusalem:

 

At one point I considered getting the lyric

“Jerusalem, if I forget you, let my right hand forget what it’s supposed to do.”

tattooed on me, in Hebrew as it is a biblical verse. I am glad the tattoo artist convinced Jerislam hebrew.jpgme out of it as it is a bit too religious for my liking now. Instead, I got the Hebrew word for life tattooed on me, to symbolise that I chose life, which I put in the centre of my black and white star of David. It not only expressed my identity, as I am a proud Jew even if I have great disdain for religion but also that the universe demands unity of everything. Male and female, right and wrong, and good and evil.tattooed on me, in Hebrew as it is a biblical verse.

However, the second verse of Jerusalem, in particular, spoke to me, which goes as follows:

“Rebuild the temple and the crown of glory
Years gone by, about sixty
Burn in the oven in this century
And the gas tried to choke, but it couldn’t choke me
I will not lie down, I will not fall asleep
They come overseas, yes they’re trying to be free
Erase the demons out of our memory
Change your name and your identity
Afraid of the truth and our dark history
Why is everybody always chasing we
Cut off the roots of your family tree
Don’t you know that’s not the way to be”

It references the Holocaust and how history has attempted to destroy the Jews as a people, uproot us and destroy our lineage. Did I mention I am a proud Jew?

I decided to accept my identity of as a Jew not because I care about the Torah, not because I am religious, not because I like the holidays but because of history. In the end, it does not matter what I think, whether I accept myself as a cultural Jew, a religious Jew, or a genetic Jew. Those around will always see me as a Jew.

Hitler determined that if you had two grandparents that were Jewish, even if you weren’t a practising Jew you would be considered a Jew and thus subject to the atrocities that were committed under his orders. This was even used in the construction of Israels Right to Return Laws.

Despite claims that there is no anti-Semitism in this world, it is a false narrative. Even when there are mass protests, like the misguided love trumps hate rallies, many of those who claim to operate in the name of love still hate Jews. For antisemitism is real and strong as ever. As such, no matter what I think those who would hate Jews will always see me as one no matter what I think.

This song, as well as the hate of others (irony), made me realise I must accept who I am and be proud of my heritage even if I don’t plan to continue the Jewish practices. This song helps me solidify who I am as a person. It helped me know who I am and accept it. It helped me understand the meaning of the Term Never Again, when referring to the Jewish People in particular with that second verse and come 2008/2009 when I decided to move to Israel to join the IDF this was one of the reasons I convinced my self to go.

The second of Matisyahu’s two songs that helped me decide to go to Israel was Warrior

With this song, the line in the chorus,

“You’re a warrior, Fighting for your soul”

spoke to me.

For I am a warrior, fighting for my soul. Lost and unhappy and looking for a purpose.

For I am the Lion, The Wolf and the Fox, and I will fight for me because no one else will. Though I add the animal analogy as I write this, the three animals which I think embody UTKM, the rest was true at the time. I decided, yes I am a warrior. I don’t care if others look down at me, berate me, hate me, or deny my talents and potential. I will do it for me.

I even thought of my Grandfather who was a proud veteran of the Canadian Forces and a proud supporter of Israel. Outside of my Israeli Cousins, I would be the only of his children or grandchildren in North America closer to him that would continue the military tradition. I know he would have been proud of me, though unfortunately, he passed before my service, the memory of him and his dedication along with the song and what it means to be a warrior further pushed my decision to join the Military.

Music a Tool to change mood: A Personal History – Part 3

Krav Maga teaches aggression which allows you to over come your opponents no matter the size? Sound familer? Or how about this. Learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will allow smaller people to beat bigger people every time?

While partially true statements they only show part of a much larger picture. Believing either of those two statements out right can be dangerous. Like everything else, we must approach it with realistic eyes and not beliefs that baseless in reality.

So let’s start with the basics.

Time for some Newtonian Physics! Which I am by no means in any way shape or form an expert on considering I didn’t even take high school physics and yet some how came to understand through practising martial arts. Yay Practical experience!

Newtons Second Law: In an inertial reference frame, the vector sum of the forces F on an object is equal to the mass m of that object multiplied by the acceleration a of the object: F = ma.

Newtons Third Law: When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.

So what does this mean? It means, there is a reason there are weight classes in professional fighting. Of course, if a person who is 100lbs has 5 black belts and has been training for 30 years, they will most likely win a fight against a person who is 200lbs with 0 fighting experience.

However, an individual who is heavier and has more mass can because of physics exert far more force with relatively less energy. If a person who is 100lbs hits a person twice their size, they will have to hit considerably harder to do significant damage compared to the opposite. For them, the larger opponent with out even doing anything is exerting and force back simply by having mass.

This is the reason we target soft targets in Krav Maga, like the groin, the throat and the eyes. By using Biological weak spots, we are not ignoring physics just finding a “cheat” around it.

However, in training, we should never intentionally be trying to hurt our training partners. As such, we should always take physics into account to avoid mass related injuries and unnecessary head trauma like concussions.

In Sparring, we often tell our students to go 10% as we want them to work on range, speed, technique, movement etc. rather than trying to kill each other every time. This means that a 200lbs person’s 10% when sparring a person who is 100lbs also going 10% they are not equal in force due to their mass and size difference. So really to encourage a healthy training environment the larger person might actually need to go 1% of their power

So what does this mean in real street situations? It means that just because you have training and skill that aggression and speed alone cannot always overcome larger opponents. And believing anything to the contrary can be dangerous.

Imagine a scenario where you are 100lbs, and for whatever reason, you cannot use the biological cheat to down your opponent, it will be a momentous feat if you can overcome a much larger opponent with strikes alone. While not impossible it may take far too long for practical self defense.

It also means that for smaller practitioners it is probably a good idea to cross train Krav Maga or other forms of practical self defense training with some kind of Grappling. I recommend BJJ of course, but other types are also acceptable. This is because with little effort a much larger opponent will have an easier time putting you on the ground either intentionally with skill and technique or unintentionally with simple physics.

So remember, because of the laws of physics size DOES matter in hand to hand combat situations. The smaller you are, the more you need to train to raise your overall skill level to cheat physics safely.

Don’t feel bad though, being smaller or shorter as a human I have heard means you get to live longer as your heart has to work less against gravity through out its life. (Fact Check Please) Though, even if its proven wrong I will still like to beleive it to justify being short…

So remember, No Groin, NO KRAV MAGA!

Your musical brain.jpg

Music is something that has been in the history of man for as long as most can tell. It is sound, vibration, the transfer of energy that creates soothing, or intense emotional reactions. Some of us, are even lucky enough to get goose bumps when we hear music, myself included. Music is ingrained in most cultures in one form or another and can be used for the most beautiful of intentions or used to manipulate you into buying something you wouldn’t otherwise have done.

In 1991 a French Researcher Dr. Alfred A tomatis wrote about something he called the “Mozart effect” in his book Pourquoi Mozart? Tomatis did research into auditory effects of music to help with various mental ailments.

In a follow-up study published in Nature in 1993, Rauscher et al showed using the Mozart effect that listening to particular music could definitively help with spatial reasoning and enhance IQ scores.

In short, something we have always known intuitively, that music enhances mood was shown by the Mozart effect and numerous other studies that music can improve performance and mood both for good or for the bad.

Now that the obvious is out of the way, let’s get into my personal history with music and how two artists, in particular, helped inspire me and get me through some tough times.

When I was younger at home, my parents used to put on things like classical music, opera, or some form of news radio. I used to fall asleep to things like Enya, Sarah Brightman, Andrea Bocelli and Peter and the Wolf as narrated by Captain Jean Luc Picard himself Err, I mean Patrick Stewart. I often forget that when I was younger, I was exposed to such things as it was so long ago, but once in a while when I take to time to think back I remember, I do like such music. Outside of that, however, music was not a part of my life as my family, in general, is not of the musical variety.

As I grew older in Elementry school, for some reason or another, I lost interest in music completely. I didn’t understand my peer’s obsessions with the top 10 hits on the local radio stations. Among other things, this was the begging of my realisation that I am not really like other people. Perhaps I didn’t understand why they all just blindly liked the same thing like sheep and I rejected music because though I didn’t know it yet I am and always have been a wolf. Because of this at the time, I never used music for the good or the bad.

Enter High school and the standard years of angst. I don’t recall exactly how or why I started listening to it, but I began to listen to angry music like Slipknot, D12 or other such things. At the time I used it to enhance my anger, my hate and the feelings of loneliness and despair as I slipped closer to the Dark Side. Though I had “friends” I certainly never fit in, and looking back I feel like they only kept me around out of boredom or to have another person for their games. Post army, learning what real brotherhood and friendship was like I realised none of them ever were my friends. It’s a shame I didn’t know that at the time for perhaps I would have found different friends and had a happier time.

Later, in high school, I found a different group of friends, those who were also social outcasts but not socially inept. Through them, I found things like classic rock, The Beatles, Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC and at the time my favourite Led Zeppelin. Though not any happier with myself or any less angry at least I found music that would no longer enhance such emotions but instead would foster a more open view of the world around me.

As time passed, happiness, finally free of the prison that is the school system. A place not for people like myself, who don’t fit the mould in anyway shape or form and someone completely, to this day, unwilling to be a sheep and conform to the lies and laziness of the powers that be.

It was at this time I started branching out into alternative music and EDM and other similar genres.

On January 18th, 2006, only a few months free, while watching the late night show I saw this performance:

Yes, you guessed it, Matisyahu. If you had read my series on my Camp My Way Experience you would have noticed several of his songs. Though Matisyahu has evolved from his previous personal as that Hassidic Jew singing reggae his music has always spoken to me. Though I am not in anyway a religious man in any way I think Matisyahu’s lyrics and music do a beautiful job at capturing what it means to be human.

Whether I knew it or not, like the butterfly effect, changing the channel on this night at this time would set things in motion for things to come and lay the path of my future life.

Music a Tool to change mood: A Personal History – Part 2

Every morning in the wild a gazelle awakens. One thing is for sure for the gazelle for that day, as every other: She must run faster than the fastest lion. If she cannot, she will be killed and eaten.

Every morning, a lion awakens. For the lion, too, one thing is certain. This day, and everyday, he must run faster than the slowest gazelle.

Whether fate names you a gazelle or a lion is of no consequence. It is enough to know that with the rising of the sun, you must run, and you must run faster than the day before, for the rest of your days, or you will die.

We all have to run; run the race of life. – An African Poem, Race of Life, Netflix 2017

Occasionally instead of putting on my usual Netflix debauchery, I find it soothing to watch a nature series or documentary. Recently, I started to watch the shot Race for life on Netflix. The beginning starts with the poem as written above.

Of course, I have seen variations of this quote prior usually on motivational posters or in business guides, but this is so far my favourite.

It seems to me despite what the Lion King taught us about the circle of life, the newer generation either do not understand it, accept it or simply ignore it. This two is applied to evolution and how it operates. There is a common myth believed by most that evolution has some kind of definitive set end goal. The truth is it does not. It is simply a mechanism following some kind of not tangible universal code based on the principles of action and reaction.

For the gazelle to avoid the lion it developed speed and agility, and for the lion to catch the gazelle it must rely on explosive power, strength and strategy. Evolution is simply the action of one species or entity reacting to its environment or predators so that it can best continue to exist as a species. The saying, Adapt or Die could never be truer.

As you can see above, each species reacts to the others defence mechanism so that it can better survive.  – Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder

When it comes to the environment for example, though I fully support sustainable practices, it is also a myth that the environment must stay in a constate static state. With or with out human intervention or existence it operates on an action reaction potential. Species have lived and died for millions and millions of years prior to human existence because they like us now operate based on the same universal code that guides the evolutionary process.

Let’s take a look at the free market and apply the evolutionary process as well. Cars to be specific. If you look at any decade you can often see a distinct style and specification for cars. There was once a time for example when big cars with big engines were popular. Now it’s all about fuel efficiency and safety. So how do the evolutionary principles of adapt or die apply here? Simple, Auto makers must adapt their product lines to which are being sold based on the consumers purchasing power. If an automaker continues to make the same thing because that’s what they are known for unless they are trying to be a small niche market, they too will most likely die because they failed to adapt. As the consumer no longer demands the product that they are offering.

We can sit here and pretend things will always be the way they always were or are but this is foolish as this does not seem to be how things work, anywhere.

lion-vs-gazelle quote.jpg

I recently wrote an article called The Specialist vs the Generalist. One of my students told me there definitely needs to be specialist which I do address albeit briefly, and yes I agree. However, just like in nature specialist do not adapt well to change. Usually, species that are overly specialised will parish should anything drastically change such as their food source adapting to them or the environment changing. While species that are more generalistic in nature can either adapt to the new settings, such as find a new food source. or move to a new location and adapts as has happened many times in the past. For example species in the past that were once land dwelling but are now aquatic or were aquatic but are now land dwelling.

I again make the argument that for the time being humans when compared to other species are in general generalists.

As always I like to connect things to Krav Maga and Self defence when possible. In a given self defense situation, it is unlikely that things will go according to the way you trained in the gym. And this is to be expected. A good Kravist can evolve and adapt in the moment based on their training, experience and ability to survive any given situation. This is why I focus heavy on critical thinking in training in addition to our moves. The ability to critically think in the moment gives you the greater chance to evolve and adapt while still applying Krav Maga principles like retzev (Continous Attack).

This is probably why so many traditional martial arts fail to be practical in realistic self defense. They chose to stay rigid and strong to the cultural and regional beliefs or methods that did not apply in other areas of the world. Or they adapted in the wrong way to focus more on sports application thus making them less adapted for the street.

I really do not know, at least on an intrinsic level why people fear change so much. I guess it’s currently a primal reaction that we are having difficulty evolving out of. The reality is, whether you are a gazelle or a lion, rich or poor, black or white, a planet, a sun the universe. If you cannot adapt to the change around you, you will only struggle, stagnate and die (literally or figuratively).

So just like the Gazelle or Lion keep on running and learn to adapt in a way that gives you a long, healthy and meaningful life.