23 sept 2011 entry /

The Debt has been getting a lot of hype lately in the Krav Maga world. Amazes me actually, that people can glamorize violence into something ‘cool’ when violence is not cool, not glamorous, and not a movie. If it were, we would all go home to our nice comfy beds at night – alive. But we don’t. Nor is real life like Hollywood or Hollywood like the real world of self-defense. 

There was an interview done with one of The Debt’s stars – Jessica Chastain – in which she was asked about learning Krav Maga by Roy Elghanayan for the film. She states the following:

“What I was told, it’s not necessarily simple to learn, but in my very first session they said, ‘Krav Maga is not about self defense. It’s about killing your opponent as quickly as possible.’ It’s just about taking them out. So, it’s incredibly, not simple, but it’s quick in the moves. It’s about someone coming at you with a gun, how to just twist the gun and shoot them, those kinds of things. If they have a knife, you take the knife and you’re able to bend their arm to cut their throat or their eyes or all these things.”

I have actually queried Mr. Elghanayan to see if indeed these were his words or if perhaps Chastain misinterpreted them and will advise should he answer me back. 

As a certified Krav Maga instructor myself (IDF curriculum not civilian) I am a bit dismayed. The first thing I teach a new student is that Krav Maga is the most efficient and effective hand to hand combat training discipline in the world today. That it is flexible to the level of danger. That accessing the level of danger within a moment is essential to the simultaneous defense-attack. Also, to be very aware and knowledgeable of the self-defense law in your state/country as the level of defense must equal the level of attack and intent. Otherwise, you could end up in jail. 

Can I teach someone how to kill a person? Yes. Do I? Yes, of course. But that information, that knowledge is passed along with the stipulation of analyzing the danger level. And understanding the ramifications of such a decision as a whole. Can I teach a person how to identify and defend accordingly to more of a bullying situation? Yes. Do I? Yes, of course. So, you have two different levels of dangers – two different levels of defense with simultaneous attack. Each with different outcomes. Each dependent on the level of danger involved. Should you kill someone if you don’t have to? Absolutely not. Should you control someone if you need to? Absolutely. And everything in between is a continual discussion between me and my student. This is the discussion of Danger Analysis, Situational Awareness, Avoidance & De-escalation. These are the psychological aspects of Krav Maga. Because Krav Maga is not just physical. There are myriad of applications involved. Many of which are not properly taught. 

Again, I find there is too much hype these days with people who think Krav Maga is ‘cool’ to do. When in effect, it is not cool at all. And I just blogged about this very subject just last night, and then found the above-referenced interview and was again brought back to the sheer negligence of said interview as above. Her comment of just twisting the gun around to the opponent and shooting him is… well, the very reason why so many in our world think violence is okay. That violence is an accepted way of life. Of which it is not. Life is to be safeguarded, cherished, and embraced. Life also needs to be upheld – but only when the situation necessitates it.

So to be clear –

KRAV MAGA IS ABOUT SELF-PROTECTION. IT IS ABOUT PROTECTING YOUR OWN LIFE. KILLING YOUR ATTACKER IS NOT THE KRAV MAGA MANTRA. PROTECTING YOURSELF INTUITIVELY ACCORDING TO THE LEVEL OF DANGER, EFFICIENTLY AND EFFECTIVELY, IS PURE KRAV MAGA.