Archive for the ‘Krav Maga Philosophy’ Category

 

MONEY FULL

What do you see in the photo above? Do you see some green, white pink smudges or do you see something more? A few weeks ago I wrote about tunnel vision and big-picture thinking and this is simply a continuation of that thought from another perspective. If you did not figure it out from the title the image above is part of a famous Monet painting. Monet was a French Impressionist painting, one of many. While I am not a scholar in Art or even really an Art person at all I still find my self able to appreciate art and in particular the impressionist movement.

What I like about them is that if you stand to close or look at only a part of the painting then you may not be quite sure what you are really looking at. But if you stand back and take a wider perspective that what looked like nothing now becomes a painting or image with what is usually a beautiful scene.

We live our lives through our eyes and other senses. Because of this, we cannot see what is not within our senses grasp which often gives us a limited perspective. As humans, we are lucky that we can use experience and knowledge to fill in the gaps but often these are just intentional or unintentional guesses.

“If you know the way broadly, you will see it in everything”

 

Additionally, the way at least western society has been trending we have been taught heavily to streamline our thinking processes for specific things such as a particular area of study, let’s say engineering or Architecture. I have found that this can often even further narrow a person perspective as this often traps them in a particular way of thinking. Take Engineers for example. They can often be notoriously rigid in their thinking as compared to say Architects who want to be a bit more free and well artistic with their thinking. Yet they both need to work together to create something bigger their respective ways of thinking and doing.

Take and moment, or a step back to remove yourself mentally from the moment and look at something more broadly can often mean the difference between success and failure.

The great Samurai warrior Miyamoto Musashi knew this well when he said,

“If you know the way broadly, you will see it in everything”

For he knew if you only saw one piece of the puzzle, or become to tunnel-visioned at the moment, then that could mean a swift demise for your self in battle. In his case, it was the swift demise of those he faced for he was one of the greatest warriors partially because he had a big picture thinking and didn’t do something just because everyone else was doing it.

According to modern science, humans cannot literally multi-task, but we must do our best to focus on multiple aspects to get the best possible results.

In Krav Maga and self-defense scenarios we must think and see as broadly as possible. This is why Avoidance is often the best choice because you are not just thinking about whether you can or cannot win a confrontation but you are also considering things like collateral damage or what might happen legally after the fact.

As Kravist we must also see the way broadly so that we are not caught off guard potentially ending in our own demise.

If you see the way broadly it can also lead to richer interpersonal relationships as it will allow you to see things from other peoples perspectives. Though I admit this is something I am still working on.

So when you look at something are you looking at it too closely so that you cannot really appreciate it in its entirety or have you taken a step back to enjoy the thing, the moment or the Monet painting for what it is. Something beautiful.

 

MONEY FULL.jpg

Working Title/Artist: Monet: Bridge over a Pond of Water LiliesDepartmen

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Watch the video. What do you see?

Did you see two antelope locked in battle with a lion charging in taking one out for lunch or did you see the bigger picture and the lesson to be learned?

When we are angry or in conflict it is very easy to get tunnel vision and focused on the threat or perceived threat. This then prevents us from seeing the bigger picture and avoiding danger overall.

If you are in a self-defense situation and are so focused on the immediate threat you might not see their friend circling back and around for the sneak attack.

Or how about this, if you are driving and you are only focused on the road ahead of you and never turn your neck or move your eyes to see other dangers is it more or less likely you will crash? It is definitely more likely you will have a higher than normal chance of crashing if you are not constantly observing everything on the road.

Did you notice that well before the Lion got close, the other Antelope watching the fight stood up? Then before the lion got even closer all of the other Antelope ran? That is because from where they are standing they have a broader perspective of the situation and can see more information.

We as humans often get locked into a specific perspective or thought pattern and while it may be good for the task at hand may blind us to other opportunities or dangers.

Tunnel VisionWhen it comes to self-defense you 100% cannot get tunnel vision. You cannot forget to assess the entire situation around you and look for the best possible solutions to avoiding further conflict. Our goal must always to be to avoid the biggest possible threats, but know that they are there so we can effectively engage them if we need to.

Even in sparring sometimes even though students are supposed to go light I often see two individuals going a bit too hard and they are so focused on each other they cannot hear me or other instructors yelling their names to chill out.

This means that some people are more prone to tunnel vision than others. Do you know who you are? If you are a person that gets locked into tunnel vision under stress, or who focuses too much on one task or thought and not the bigger picture can you learn to take a step back?

Clearly, the antelope who are far less intelligent than humans understand this. The ones who had a broader perspective easily avoided danger. So as humans why do we often act more like the two antelope locked in battle?

You never know, you might be the one who got away or you might be the one with sharp teeth sinking into your neck as the jaws of life come crashing down around you.

Think about it. How is your perspective? Do you see only tunnel vision or can you see much, much more?

 

Foreword: This article was originally published on this blog on June 09th, 2016. However, it still holds true. It has been partially edited to be a bit more up to date. In the wake of the tragedy that occurred on March 15th, in New Zealand where 50 people lost their lives, the NZ Government responded by announcing strict new rules banning many commonly owned types of firearms including most semi-automatic rifles. I am not familiar with NZ laws or due process but this is a sweeping overreach of power in my opinion. While this was a tragedy, an emotionally driven policy is rarely a good idea. A quick search on wikipedia shows that the last time there was a massacre involving a firearm in NZ was in 1997. This would suggest that such events are not common in NZ and this is, in fact, an emotional, politically motivated driven decision. Generally speaking, when you actually look into detailed breakdowns of stats from organizations like the FBI, RCMP, Stats Can or any major government body you will find that the truth rarely matches up with the anti-gun grab narrative that is often pushed. In fact, a quick search can usually find that top law enforcement agencies rarely support outright gun bans. I just did one and found one in which the RCMP commissioner does not support a handgun ban in Canada. Despite this, the current government is trying to push one to gain mostly political favor in certain municipalities (Mainly Toronto, which has a gang problem) which have failed to resolve gang violence issues. I will, of course, be perfectly honest, I am not going to in-depth research to find the stats around this, but if it matters to you they generally are not hard to find. Also if you look into most mass shootings in western countries they are often preventable as the individuals who did so are usually mentally unstable or often regularly are fairly open about their opinions and willingness to use violence. Often, gun grab policies are to appease a particular group of individuals who are loud and emotional and have not bothered to look into the facts.  The irony is they often speak of being scientific and fact-based yet the facts are gun grabs are rarely based on facts because the facts do not support them.

Joe Rogan famously said, referring to America ” This country has a mental health problem disguised as a gun problem. And a tyranny problem disguised as a security problem.”

This is very close to the truth. When politicians are not sure how to fix a problem they usually tighten the rules, ban more things and make things difficult for those who didn’t do anything wrong because it’s generally easier for them.

Ok I lied, since it was so easy to pull up some stats here is a report from Stats Can on firearms violence in Canada from 2012 (Yes a little out of date but still fairly relevant) Generally you really have to pay attention to these kinds of reports as they often mix things to make firearms crime look worse even when they are supporting firearms owners.

Figure 2, shows a break down of violent crims with firearms vs other weapons. It clearly shows firearms comes second. Additionally, the term homicide often includes accidental death or death due to legitimate police activity which often skews the actual data.

If you looked into it further to update modern firearms-related crimes you would find it is mostly Gang related and generally involves illegally purchased firearms which means the individuals broke the law simply by having the guns.

Chart 5 also shows the majority of homicides (remember the earlier definition) are handguns. Simply by taking a handgun somewhere, it is not supposed to be, such as in your pants in public you would be breaking Canadian Law. Based on this alone banning semi-automatics would not be justified in Canada at least would not be based on any facts. It is likely that in most places that have major gun restrictions, they will be heavier on handguns based on the fact they are easier to conceal. I suspect, putting the March 15th event aside in NZ you would probably see a similar trend.

Chart 6 also states that most firearms homicides are gang-related. Which to this day is most likely also accurate. This means if firearms crimes are gang related for the most part then it would be a failure of government policy or police activities to curb gang violence and not anything to do with stricter gun laws. Gun laws in Canada are already tough enough to prosecute gang members using guns in such a fashion.

It should also be noted that recently, in Canada, many types of firearms deaths have been reclassified as a “misuse of firearms” this includes suicide, homicide, and accidental death. According to the manufacturers and the courts, this is not what they were designed for thus it is a misuse of firearms. Keep in mind even self-defense deaths are still considered homicides. This means that future stats my just lump everything together under this term without really breaking down the data openly and truthfully. See how confusing and misrepresentative stats can be?

While I could go on and on about this in-depth ( I don’t want to because I’m not writing a research paper) the facts are that the fact shows that stronger gun laws don’t do much to curb already illegal behavior. Mentally ill people should be blocked from having guns, yes, but if they go the illegal root like the gangs do then increase the laws more doesn’t actually do anything. Anyways, I thought I would add some additional context prior to the original post which discusses why in my opinion it is important that everyone has firearms to prevent tyranny and other things. (It should be noted that in almost all cases resulting in firearms used in Canada in self-defense you will face criminal penalties. WHich means having a firearm for self-defense in Canada is not considered legal or an appropriate reason to have firearms. An while I do not agree with this, it is the law and is not at this point debatable)

 

ORIGINAL POST (Edited for spelling grammar and updated some irrelevant items as contextual to today.)

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Note: I have since watched all seasons and it is a great show.

A while ago, I saw a preview of the AMC TV series Into the Badlands. Something has happened to create a world without guns, and with guns no longer available, the old ways of martial arts came back. Those who are able to train or control those who could fight have become warlords. While I still have yet to see it (waiting for it to appear on Netflix), the premise of the show got me thinking.

This means that the ability to teach or train martial arts and hand-to-hand combat would become a highly sought after commodity. It is likely that many of the best trainers would then become available to the highest bidder, or to those with enough power to control the trainers–much like the character Hundred Eyes from the Netflix original Marco Polo: One Hundred Eyes who has Kublai Khan holding power over him.

As such only those with power and money could afford to train armies and fighters. Sound familiar? Seems like a repeat of human history to me. In the past, kings and queens of Europe and emperors of Asia held power because they had the trained warriors and money. Meanwhile, the average person did not have the time to train properly since they needed to do other work to provide for themselves and their families. As such, martial arts training was a privilege, and the poor or less fortunate would be at the mercy of the upper class who could afford to spend time training.

 

So how does this relate to guns being a social equalizer?

Why is this relevant today? In today’s 21st-century-internet-media-driven world, stories surrounding firearms and gun laws easily take over news streams. Everyone has an opinion when it comes to guns and what should or should not be allowed. In addition, with the upcoming US presidential elections, as well as recent UN small arms treaties, it is likely people who believe in the right to own guns will be louder than ever.

For example, I am such a person who believes that any human being of sound mind, no criminal record or history of violence, and with proper training should be allowed to have guns. I write from Canada where the gun culture is radically different from the US, and where possessing firearms is not considered a human right–though I think it should be.

Any human being of sound mind, no criminal record or history of violence, and with proper training should be allowed to have guns.

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In America, the founding fathers enshrined gun laws into their constitution the Second Amendment. The way it is written leaves some room for people to debate who can and should own and use firearms. However, often times people get too caught up in semantics and forget the intent with which something is written, and thus its true meaning. To me and many gun supporters, the reason is clear–to give the average person the ability to easily defend him or herself against oppression and tyranny.

Real knife defense is simply to shoot the person, assuming they are aggressive and non compliant.

In Krav Maga, we have hand-to-hand combat solutions to deal with knives. However, people should remember that in Israel where Krav Maga was developed, real knife defense is simply to shoot the person, assuming they are aggressive and non-compliant of course. The reality is that hand-to-hand combat solutions are last resorts in the event of an emergency, and using a firearm is a much safer method for such a defense scenario.

Being for social equalization and firearms go hand in hand

Imagine a government with a large army, well-trained in both hand-to-hand combat and strategy, who is determined to oppress its people. Opposing the government is a group of farmers living in the mountains who simply wish to live a free, happy life. If these farmers have guns, I guarantee you they can make a stand. Without guns, though, it is likely that their stand for freedom would fail.guns6 Source Shooter Jobs

Why? Guns give the ability to strike from afar. The “enemy” will be forced to re-think their strategy, as now they may face unacceptable losses. This scenario is quite plausible in reality. For example, in Afghanistan, the locals were able to hold off both Russian and American forces in two different wars simply by having guns to defend themselves.

In the world before guns (or a world with no guns like Into The Badlands), it was arms and legs, swords, and bows and arrows. These take significant time and training to become proficient, and it limits people’s ability to use them to defend themselves or hunt. On the other hand, guns can be learned in a relatively short amount of time, which renders everyone on equal grounds when it comes to general defense.

guns5 Source FB group Right-Winged Birds of Prey

Guns protect the the weak and less fortunate from being controlled by the wealthy and powerful.

From a military perspective, an army is far more likely to engage a group with no firearms because that is an easier target. A group with firearms means that the army must think twice and create a better tactic before engaging.

Therefore, guns are the great social equalizer. Guns protect the weak and less fortunate from being controlled by the wealthy and powerful. Historically, guns and the ease of access to guns has fundamentally changed how rulers controlled the world, as they could no longer use force and fear mongering. Resistance was simply one gun away.

Why being anti-gun doesn’t make sense

So now, left-leaning (politically) individuals often claim that the government is corrupt and unjust and whatever else they think, AND they are also anti-gun? That is the epitome of hypocrisy.

So the government decides to clamp down and initiate martial law because they think the left-leaning individuals are out of control. However, left-wing voters opted to get rid of guns. Now, citizens can be easily overwhelmed by the government and hard pressed to protect and defend themselves because the government has all the guns and the people do not. This concept goes on both sides of the political spectrum as historically tyranny occurs when the power of the people to defend themselves, legally or physically was rapidly or slowly eroded away.

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

MARTIN NIEMÖLLER

Thus, if people are for equal rights, for social justice, and for general equality, then they should also be for reasonable gun access. There should be rules and regulations around gun access, licensing, training, ownership, use, and so on. However, simply saying guns should be taken away from everyone just because they are dangerous or “scary” is unreasonable. Guns, like anything, are tools created by humans to make life easier.

guns8 training and regulations

This is an example of a possible reality.

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So you want to train? No, You LOVE to train? At least that’s what your profile says. But if I asked your instructor if that is the truth they might paint a different picture. I can certainly attest that sentiment to many of my students past and current.

If you go to any Martial arts school, Krav Maga or otherwise, you will always find a core group of students who are there 2,3,4 days a week almost every week without fail. They are there because aside from the fact they love the training, they have chosen to make it a priority in their life.

It’s not because they don’t have work, school, family or kids because quite often these individuals have one or more of these things in their lives. It is because they have made a conscious effort to build a life in which they can without guilt, distraction or excuse show up to train regularly and happily.

For so many others though, those same factors, work, school, family or kids have become an excuse as a reason not to train. They can and are of course legitimate reasons not to do something else such as training with your favourite neighbourhood Krav Maga Instructor. However, I want to make a request of you. Stop making them excuses and make them the reality of your life. The reality is that you prioritize those things over training.

It’s not that you can’t make the time for training in your obviously busy schedule its that you simply are not prioritizing it. And you know what, that is totally fine if that’s how you would like to structure your life.

But if training is really something you want to do then make it a priority and stop giving your instructor, your peers, or your family excuses as to why you won’t hit the gym if its clearly something you like to do (or something that is clearly beneficial for you).

Can’t train, or won’t train? Ask your self this question seriously.

In our modern world, both are fine if they can attain happiness and satisfaction in your life. But try instead telling those around you, you know what, it just isn’t a priority in my life.

Trust me, this will garner you a lot more respect from your instructors and peers. Try to use this phrase instead of saying, I want to train but…

The reasons don’t actually matter, its just not a priority and that’s ok. Unless of course you actually want it to be a priority it which case what are you waiting for?

Work schedule in the way? change shifts or job.

Family life in the way? see if you can bring your kids with you, find a babysitter, make an arrangement with your significant other to watch the kids another time so they can do the thing they really want to do.

School and finals? Maybe take one less course next semester because you realize that actually, physical training is a priority for you because taking a break from sitting with your head in some textbook is actually good for your health mentally and physically.

If you answer but I can’t, that’s ok, then training Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Karate or just lifting some weights really isn’t a priority for you. Just be honest!

so, Instead of saying “I Don’t have time”, try saying “its not a priority” and see how it changes your life for the good.

 

To Act or Not to Act.jpgHesitation can often lead to embarrassment or post scenario guilt or worse. It could lead to much more serious consequences such as permanent disability or death.

For some it can lead to thoughts of why didn’t I make my move, I really liked them. To Act. Or the opposite, why didn’t I do anything to stop them, what they did was not consensual. Not to Act.

In both above examples, there is only regret and/or shame. But when it comes to failure to act in a violent confrontation it can lead to catastrophic consequences.

To Act (Action), or not to act (Inaction) are the dichotomies of Action vs Reaction and Avoidance as well as self-defense in general. In the face of Violence, an action is faster than reaction. One can Act first, to avoid a reactive action. Or you can Choose inaction as an attempt to avoid the scenario altogether. It can be a tough decision, but for Krav Maga, action is usually preferred over inaction even if that means running.

Krav Maga is known for its aggression in the face of violence but aggression is only a tool and means nothing if a person fails to “turn it on”. If in that moment of need, that second you had to strike first or to block or to simply resist you choose inaction then it could lead to your own demise both literally or figuratively (psychological trauma).

Often when teaching students even under light stress they often hesitate to act. Or as is quite common they “screw up” the technique and stop. I will tell them or yell at them “keep going, don’t stop” because that moment of hesitation is all it takes for the attacker to re-coup and re-engage offensively.

When training people, we need to train their aggression to be appropriate and well timed so that when the moment comes no matter what happens even if an error occurs they can fight through and survive. However, if they hesitate and instead of channeling that aggression through retzev, techniques and other strategies and principles their training and aggression is for naught.

This is why situational and high-stress training is very important in Krav Maga or any good self defense training so that we can train the brain and nervous system to recognize situations or scenarios and act or react quickly without hesitation.

To act without hesitation often means to act with confidence. Without confidence in one’s skill then it can be harder to act.

One of the easiest ways to build confidence in your skill, speed or timing is to practice more and practice often. With practice also comes the knowledge of what you are capable of and will help you better recognize when you should avoid scenarios all together so that action or hesitation is not even a factor.

To act or not to act that is the questions, but hesitate to act in the moment of decision and it might not matter at all, philosophically or otherwise.

Be Decisive.jpg

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, believe or wish life just doesn’t go according to plan and the path to where we want to be is full of discomfort and possibly pain and hurt and yet if we wish to achieve or goal we have to take that path.

Sometimes the answer is just to embrace the suck!

A few weeks ago I went on a hike with someone. Now we had planned to do this hike weeks before. It was a long weekend of which sat and Sunday I was doing 18 hour days both teaching and at an event. This left the Monday. We woke up later than we wanted to because well I was a little burnt out. Then we found out there was a leak in a property that we had to check out. This delayed us heavily.

Normally when you do these kinds of hikes in BC you want to get there no later than 10am. Unfortunately, we didn’t even leave until noon or 1ish. Start the 1.5 hour-ish drive to the hike start.

Of course, the place we went to Garibaldi Park in BC is a very popular destination so our first struggle was to find a spot. Eventually, we found one, a good walk away from the trailhead.

My plan had been to test out the new and mildly expensive backpack that I plan to use when I start hunting. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that, Oh shit…where are my hiking boots….

You see its summer and I like flip-flops. Normally my boots are always in the truck, along with running shoes. But due to the event, the day before I had taken everything out and I guess…shit happens.

I dont know about you but I am not doing a 20km hike in flip flops because I feel like that’s asking to break an ankle.

Now the person I was with was not thrilled. The suggestion was to drive back to the nearest town, Squamish or Whistler and get shoes. However, if we did this by the time we started the hike we would not have time to come down before sundown which was not an option.

Again, they were not thrilled….

To avoid catasrtophy I made the snap decision. Ok not to worry, I won’t take my backpack, Ill just take my light jacket with water pouch and do it barefoot.

“Wait what? No, you cant do that. I won’t let you.” is what I was told or something like that. At first, they were reluctant.

“Not to worry I said, I’ve done barefoot hikes before.” I am fairly sure I claimed confidently. Though the truth is the last time I did it, it was on a soft moss covered path that was well actually not very long at all, maybe only 15 minutes. They, of course, didn’t know this at the time and after I told them,

“If you dont come I guess I’m doing a barefoot hike by myself.” they reluctantly decided ok we can do this.

Mild stretching of the truth aside I made this decision to make someone else happy. I knew it was going to suck, and it kinda did. But I also knew that it would be worth it in the end, which it was.

It for sure took us longer than we wanted to and several fairly in shape elderly individuals with hiking polls passed us on many occasions but we made it. 3 hours up, and surprisingly 3 hours down.

Down is always harder and was actually worse on the feet than up. Not to mention my bad knees.

Anyways, I Often try to teach my students that what you think is difficult may actually not be as hard as you think. The truth is you dont know until you try. The other thing is even if you were right, at least you know your baseline so you can grow.

Also, people have a hard time breaking social norms. Doing a hike barefoot is not normal and may seem crazy but really wasn’t that bad. Though the number of comments made by people passing us was quite high. Because I mean who else would willingly do this barefoot?

But the moral is, that sometimes you have to make hard choices or take harder paths because it is the right thing to do. Too often nowadays, we always want to take the easy path but this is not always the right thing to do.

Just like in Krav Maga. Sure you can take that Krav seminar once in a while and say you know Krav Maga, but really that’s just bullshit. If you want to learn it properly you must, like anything, come often and train with the serious intent of getting better.

Of course it will be uncomfortable and of course, you will be challenged, but if you can never overcome what is uncomfortable or hard you will never truly earn anything worth earning.

So, learn to embrace the suck and be a better person for it.

With out a tough journey the reward will not be quite as sweet.

What Success Looks Like

Posted: May 1, 2018 by Jonathan Fader in Krav Maga Philosophy
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What is Success?

The Merriam-Webster defines it as “the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame,”

or see here a Business Insider article asking several wealthy individuals their definition of success is. You might notice that many if not most of them do not count the wealth and fame as why they consider themselves successful. Yet we would all look at them as successful because they have wealth and fame.

Or you might look at them and say they aren’t successful because they don’t have my family or the friends I have so they are really successful. If that’s how you think, perhaps theirs an air of resentment in your tone because of course, they are successful. Others might think that success is about happiness, for what is success without being happy. Well, this is also certainly true, but someone who is miserable but has changed the world with their success due to their wealth and fame is still successful. In fact, they may be the most successful of all (Keep an eye on Elon Musk, his self-isolation and sadness may single-handedly change the world for the good.)

So what is success? well, a far more accurate realistic definition may simply be achieving the goals you set out for yourself. These could be daily goals or life milestones. When you ask many self-help gurus or those seen as strong leaders they often talk about goal setting.

They are most definitely correct, because who hasn’t been ecstatically happy or relieved because they have achieved their goals. These goals don’t need to be big grandiose goals like being the next bill gates because goals like that are completely unrealistic for 99% of you no matter how hard you believe. Your goals and reaching them which will define your personal success must be realistic to your ability, skillsets and drive among other things otherwise they will simply be delusional unattainable goals.

Another thing we tend to do with defining success is focusing on the end goal, with smiling photos and happy times without remembering how hard it was sometimes through the journey to achieve the goal. Remember, some goals could be as simple as getting up on time in the morning, other goals could be oh lets see achieving a certain rank in your Krav maga school…

Recently I ran a few Orange Belt tests (and I can assure you UTKM tests are harder earlier than many other Krav Maga tests that I have seen.) and at the end of every test I saw what appeared to be beaten defeated people, yet they had all passed so I had the thought. THIS is what success looks like:

If you just saw these photos without contexts it would be reasonable to assume they are broken or failed. But this is the look of people who gave it everything they had to achieve their goal of getting Orange Belt. In these cases they all passed but could you really tell just from these photos?

The truth about success is we do focus on the end goal. Getting rich, getting the belt, getting up in the morning on a regular basis. But we always seem to forget that it’s actually the Journey to success which defines success or not as without the Journey, the learning experience there can be no success. To me, even if they don’t think so, these people are successful. For me, they have achieved something hard to achieve, something that many of my students fear, or some avoid because they know that this Journey to success or the goal, is not going to easy because I’m not going to make it easy.

So if success is the Journey + the Goal then there is a reason we must set attainable reasonable goals because the Journey is the hard part, the Goal is just a checkmark on a sheet or a gold star on a paper.

So when you look at the people who you think are successful, (assuming they didn’t just get a massive inheritance and did nothing else after) then ask yourself how hard was their Journey to achieve their goals? Whether we admire them for it or resent them for it it does not deny them their Journey.

SO what is Success? its many things, it starts with setting a goal, then having a plan put in place an then the real Journey the Hard work, sweat blood and potentially sleepless nights to get to the goal?

Whatever your definition of success is, just remember, it’s going to be a Journey one that will be full of good days and bad says, easy times and hard times. But so long as you can learn and grow in your Journey success may be closer than you think.

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.

 

Sun Tsu Quot Art of War.jpg

 

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.

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.

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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.

I have trained with many of the top Krav Maga practitioners in the world, those who have trained under the masters, and under many of the major Krav Maga organizations.One way or another, I have come into contact with high-level Kravists and it’s clear that there is a wide array of philosophies when it comes to Krav Maga. Some organizations, in my opinion, have stayed away from the basic fundamentals of Krav Maga. Some are overly aggressive, some underwhelmingly lack aggression. And of course, the politics are all over the place.

There is one thing I have heard repeatedly from my students, training with other instructors, or simply observing others practice:

“Nobody attacks like that.”

I find this attitude rather confusing…

Humans can attack however they want. Anybody who has the capacity to attack anybody can attack in any way that is possible. People say that nobody attacks like X or Y, or that all attack start off with no aggression, or that they start with all out aggression, and so on. That’s not realistic at all. The reality is that you simply do not know what will happen and how it will happen when it comes to any situation involving physical conflict and/or self-defense.

Many people have this idea that training for violent conflict on the street must always be violent in the gym. However, the vast majority of people do not pick up the details of a movement under chaotic circumstances. Some elite individuals may learn quickly, but we’re trying to train the general population. For example, if I am teaching a wrist grab, it is only logical to start with the simplest movements and practice casually. As students get the hang of the fundamentals, then you ramp up the intensity and complexity of the scenario and do it again.

Always training hardcore is not helpful for the vast majority of people who are trying to learn to defend themselves. There is a military saying about combat in urban environments that goes…

“Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”

If you practice a move fast, it will most likely be sloppy and incorrect when you use it under pressure in real life. It’s better to practice slowly but correctly, which builds good muscle memory of the proper movement.

In addition, preferred attacks vary between cultures as well as the specific attacks that are trending. Just because a particular style is not popular in one country does not mean that it should not be taught. A proper Krav Maga or self-defense program should give a person the ability to defend themselves in whatever situation they end up, whether it’s facing a different style of attack or an attack in a different country.

Just because you don’t attack like that doesn’t mean other people don’t. Yes, it is true that there are attacks and moves in our curriculum that certain people won’t do to others. For example, I find it hard to believe a man would do a basic wrist grab to another man. However, it is common in other cases, such as a man attacking a woman. Gyms that are too macho tend to forget that size matters, and it changes attack styles. Men are typically bigger than women and would attack in certain patterns that they would not use against someone their own size. The same goes with women vs women scenarios.

One of the reasons I dislike teaching women only classes is because the biggest threat to most women is men, with some exceptions. When a class consists only of women who don’t attack like men, they don’t get to experience reality. Thus, it creates a false sense of understanding about self-defense, and a misconception regarding how aggressive attacks take place.

Don’t get me wrong, it is possible to produce an aggressive, professional female fighter through women only classes. However, unless you have a Ronda Rousey, a Holly Holm, or an Amanda Nunes as your training partner, it’s unlikely you will be preparing or prepared for the kind of attacks you might face.

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“Nobody attacks like that!” Back to this blanket statement. It’s false. When you learn or teach Krav Maga, you need to start from the basics. All students build up from the simple movements to more complicated and aggressive scenarios. Imagine you’re an instructor and you refuse to teach something based on the idea that “nobody attacks like that” only to have your students face it in real life and not know what to do. That’s bad instruction and a disservice to your students.

Again, people must realize that they cannot possibly know all the possible outcomes in a conflict. To say “nobody attacks like that” is limiting in nature. In the end, you cannot prepare for everything, and thus you should train to anticipate anything. Krav Maga teaches you to expect the unexpected, keep it simple, be aggressive, and think critically in the moment. Students must enough to be able to fill in the blanks. That is what makes the difference between life and death.