Here’s a thought for you:
Many people who are completely pacifist in nature, or have strongly-held beliefs around non-violence, will often proclaim that “violence is not the answer” to the ills of the world.
They argue that war inevitably produces more war, that a violent disposition invites violence, that aggression leads to retaliation.
They argue that humankind has to overcome its genetic propensity for bloodshed and evolve into a higher plane of existence where violence is no longer part of who we are.
And, you know what? They’re right. They’re 100% right.
But, as with all blanket statements or philosophies, there are terms and conditions… usually at the bottom, and usually in fine print.
So, here’s one that I think would apply: Violence is not the answer… except when it is.
The truth is that most conflicts can be resolved through mutual understanding, the desire for peace, good communication, willingness to accommodate the needs and emotions of others, and of course the absence of ego. But, for those situations where the other person is not interested (yet) in a mutually beneficial agreement, what then?
What to do, when faced with an impending criminal attack, where your feelings and needs are of absolutely no concern to someone else?
Even then – even in a non-compromise situation – we still have choices. Here they are:
Long before we get to violence, there are still several options on the table.
Awareness enables us to steer clear of bad places and bad people. And because of that, we should be training awareness as hard as we train strikes and gun disarms.
Avoidance gives us the option of placing distance or obstacles between ourselves and a potential threat, rather than risking a life because of overconfidence or good old-fashioned ego.
Escape gives us the option of seeking a way out, and actively disengaging, either at the commencement of a threat, or even during it.
And, finally, when none of those options are present, only one course of action remains.
Engagement then becomes necessary.
And at that point, your engagement game needs to be good enough to stop the threat, because now there are no other options. You need to be able to fight instantaneously, powerfully, deceptively, and effectively, and to make sure that you overwhelmingly win.
Logically, in certain situations, the only way to save your life, and the lives of your loved ones, is to respond with educated violence. And that is why we practice Krav Maga.
So, here’s another thought for you: what if that one single thing, that one-sided, violence-based approach, was all that we taught?
Well, I suppose we’d end up with instructors and students who would be characterized by their single-minded propensity for violence or confrontation. They’d develop the habit of being rude and arrogant in their daily conduct, maybe. They’d be inclined to respond to everything (even imagined intrusions or affronts to their ego) with violence, or a threat of violence.
They’d be convinced that the only way to deal with others, the only way to "win", would have to be violent in nature. They’d see conflict avoidance as cowardice, conflict resolution as compromise, and they’d pour scorn on any suggestion that perhaps there may be another, perhaps even more effective way to get through life.
There’s a proverb that says: To the man who only has a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
Does this sound like a description of some people you may have encountered throughout your life?
I don’t know about you, but I’m not terribly impressed with that.
At Elite Defence Academy International, we see Krav Maga as a holistic skill set. If you choose to carry in your hands the power of life and death over people, then best you accompany that with a strong desire to elevate and edify people, too. To respect humanity – all of humanity, even those with whom you may not particularly agree.
To show grace to others. To be a force for good. To be an inspiration, and to show others, by way of example, that maybe there’s a better way to live.
That true power lies not just in taking life, but in preserving life.
And, of course, and only if absolutely necessary - in the face of unreasoning violence - to use your Krav Maga skills to do so.
So go out there today, with your skills sharp and your weapons honed, but above all else, be a bringer of peace and goodwill to a world that desperately needs it.