Krav Maga, Disaster Capitalism and Self Defence

Krav Maga

Krav maga is the deadliest self defence fighting method, simply put. Unlike other known self defence techniques, most of what is taught about krav maga is a recent invention. It is said that krav maga was developed by the Israeli Military, I was definitely popularized by the military. The innovative minds in Israel formalize the best way to deliver the most lethal attacks on opponents (or assailants). Israel is renowned for its finesse in the security business which now involves self defence.

Krav maga is efficient, in engineering terms. That means that a punch technique is designed to deliver the most lethal blow at the least strain to the puncher. It incorporates several techniques from some martial arts and sports and made them easier to do while maitaining or increasing its effect. Punches were borrowed from boxing, kicks from taekwondo & kick-boxing and throws from karate and judo. However throws are rare (inefficient for energy). Its more efficient to kick/punch an opponent until they throw themselves out of pain. Another efficient method is to lock an opponent in a painful position; inflicting pain with little muscle movement.

Disaster Capitalism

Disaster capitalism is the ideology that there is profit in destruction. Unlike the covert profit making during the second world war, disaster capitalism is in the open. From IMF to  the private companies and all that benefit from absence of “development, infrastructure and security”, disaster capitalism has been given legitimacy.

There have been three remarkable economic booms in the past two centuries; when sovreign economies grew as fast a race car on nitro. Three markets benefitted; Manufacture market from the industrial boom and E-commerce market from the dot.com boom. Disaster capitalism brought booms in security, weapons and construction markets among others. Security here refers to those products and services that make us FEEL safe.

As explained by Bruce Schneier, it is not security that matters but the feeling of security. The product of this market relies on fear for marketting. It used to be a few people that build bomb shelters in the USA but successful fear propanganda has made more demands for this after “Al qaeda” attacks and never ending broadcast on nuclear possessing countries like Iran and North Korea. While Bush was in power, a drug for bird flu went out of stock (due to demands) in pharmacies accross the USA as the bird flu epidemic was being predicted and marketed. The ever-certain prediction never came to be. Coincidentally, a major shareholder of the company was Donald Rumsfeld, then secretary of defence.

A more recent boom is the App boom in the mobile computer market. Companies have been formed that employs application developers to be creative and produce mobile apps that people will want to purchase. Sometimes it requires marketting because consumers need to feel they need (or want) the App before purchasing. Similarly, disaster capitalists come up with imaginative ways disasters can occur and then market their products along those lines. Israel is famous for its security expertise and its fear-profitable market. Israel also gave us Krav Maga.

A Fear Driven Market

Krav Maga is efficient, deadly and very convincing when shown a demonstration (check youtube if you doubt me). Its simplicity and effectiveness for self defence makes it the ideal product to subdue an opponent or do away with him/her for good. In Israel, where every able citizen is required to pass through the military, it seems it has the market. This is the same country where citizens are aprehensive and twitchy looking over their shoulders for the next suicide bomber from those Arabs that don’t seem to take oppression too well. What about Krav Maga’s popularity in other countries.

Krav Maga is a close contact self defence method. If someone has a bomb and is ready to die, I am not sure how much Krav Maga can do to stop them. However most of these countries where krav maga is popular, they have more assault situations that krav maga can handle. So krav maga is marketed for alley-attacks. Did I mention they are “dark alleys” (quite and hearing only your noisy footsteps echoing); a scene common in many movies. The rest is easy, the imagination will run free and that is how fear marketing works in disaster capitalism.

Another perk of Krav Maga is that it is easy. Unlike those stressful martial arts like Kung fu and Taekwondo, the practitioner doesn’t need to be gym-fit to inflict damage. It is to martial arts as fast food is to home cooked food. It has been made accessible to the everyday Joe (and Jane). It is easy to operate and energy efficient… I feel as if I am describing an everyday consumer product like a phone. Perhaps Krav Maga, as it is marketed is as much a well designed consumer product as it is a self defence technique.

My Krav Maga Class

Some months ago, I decided to join a Krav Maga class after being impressed by its efficiency. Those martial arts hardly stand a chance with krav maga because it takes one Krav Maga attack to put your opponents hopes in comatose. I can count how many fights I have had in my adult life and none of the situations seemed appropriate to use a terminal Krav Maga technique. I had been seduced by the self propagating marketting of Krav Maga which is planted in the mind and fear is fertilizer. Now every time I watch a movie scene in an alley (or find myself in a similar position) I say to myself “hmmm what if someone jumps out and I Krav their Maga”.

I attended the first class, which every new member is entitled to try by paying cash. Subsequent classes are paid by direct debit which means every month a certain amount will be paid from your bank account. I geared up and the session began.

It was surprising to find that there wasn’t a single female in the class. I would think they are more the victims of “alley-assaults”, at least according to Hollywood movies. There guys, who like me, think themslves as lethal machines like Steven Segal. How did I know? I looked in to the mirror. Imam Ghazali (and others in different ways) advised that by observing your company and noticing their faults, one should reflect that fault on himself/herself and improve. My partner was a 40-year-old pot-bellied man whizzing noisily after less than five minutes of warm ups. Yet he was as pretentious as unaware of his reality. There was no doubt that his mind was nimble but his mind was unaware of his body. His gear were so complete that you can call him a Krav Maga Ninja. But the most revealing part is when we are given a task, he makes it so theatrical that I forget whether I am there for training or in rehearsals.

Warm up is done, heavy whizzing in the ambience and techniques about to begin. We started with classical setups like close proximity with single opponent whos strikes a scripted attack at the command of the instructor. But then things started becoming interesting; the attacks were now from the side, from behind and from two sides at once. Real-looking plastic guns and knives were brought out and given to the attackers. The feeling is good when you avoid a knife (or gun) and take possession of it. It is adviced that you throw the weapon away and hold down the attacker but you could stab (or shoot) your attacker if you feel it is safer. Many trainees prefered to attack with the confiscated weapon. When they shoot, they do it like Jack Bauer and when they stab, its like Rambo.

After an exhausting (and enriching) two hour session, I noticed the uncanny similarities in the attack methods used in different scenes. I also found out that most of the scenes we practised have been done by the trainees several times. So the sessions were mostly repititions of scenarios that could happen. The trainees role is to become used to such scenes so that when that day finally comes, it can be put in to practice. The trainee may have as much chance of using his skills in an actual hollywood movie. The Krav Maga market depends on creative imaginations of those who design its deadly techniques and the dependence that these scenes are fear inducing. I am beginning to doubt originality in the Krav Maga think-tanks, the scenes could have been thought up by movie directors and script writers and I’m sure you can find some in movies, I have.

Art or Sport?

It could be any of the two or both, as any other endeavour could. However it has more chance of being a sport than art. Art is characterized by Originality and subjective meanings (inner dimension) whereas sport is characterized by mastery.

I can’t find anything original about the techniques in Krav Maga, the only thing original may be the sythesis of different techniques from Martial Arts and perhaps the product’s (Martial Arts Techniques) accesibility to a wider consumer base. The latter is originality in marketting but not Martial Arts. The only inner dimension to Krav Maga is FEAR which is transmutated to mean security and confidence. I believe the inner dimensions of art should be an emotion that one is in control of not one that controls you.

As for being a sport, any thing that can be repeated and made more effective is sport. Repitition and effectiveness correctly describe Krav Maga as the demanded product it is. To rest my argument, Krav Maga is a registered sport. I wonder if royalties have to be paid to Krav Maga Associations (or whoever claims ownership) before legally teaching Krav Maga.

My Self Defence

Siding with common-sense-statistics, a person is more likely to get attacked by food (food poisoning) than by another person. So I’ll watch the hygiene of the food that I take like a germ vigilante. I am taking self defence to a new frontier, different from dark alleys. Although the two frontiers are not mutually exclusive, I prefer to put my resources in a frontier that is more practical.

Another important frontier is the mind. I prefer to defend myslef from fear; especially from the popular fear marketting. I prefer to defend myself from the action-movie syndrome that makes me want to feel like Jason Bourne. Ineluctably, I did not subscribe for the fear based Krav Maga class.

I still think Krav Maga is effective and I might someday decide to enroll for a month or so, or get a training dvd to learn the essentials for whenever (if ever) an opportunity presents itself. I refuse to be consumed by fear and vicarious enactment of an action movie.

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