Sort of in the news.
Rabbis from European countries gathered in Prague Tuesday for training in self-defense and first aid in response to a wave of attacks against Jews and a rise of anti-Semitism on the continent.
In a stunning beginning of a training session, knives were distributed to dozens of rabbis, young and old, before they received instructions and practiced what to do to survive stabbing and how to treat injuries.
Some occasionally burst out with a laugh, but overall the rabbis took it seriously, as it was prompted by fears after the deadly terror attack against a kosher grocery in Paris in January and the murder of a Jewish security guard outside a synagogue in Copenhagen earlier this month.
Tuesday’s training was part of an annual gathering of rabbis organized by the Rabbinical Centre of Europe and the European Jewish Association headed by Margolin.
He said the idea was to demonstrate “the most basic stuff needed.”
But are they? I don’t understand Hebrew, so I can’t follow the instructions, but I’m not persuaded:
Compare that to this:
There are many self-defense systems out there, but it’s hard to see anything beating the Krav Maga knife defense. There’s no slipping the attack, no sleight of hand. Just meet the attack perpendicularly, wrist to wrist, stopping it, while delivering a single hard punch to the face. There are a few fine points, but the key point to remember—as it is in so much of Krav—is to attack the attack.
I wish the rabbis had been taught Krav Maga. Who would know better than they what it means (“contact combat”)?
A year ago, it wasn’t knives in Europe Jews had to worry about. It was fists in New York City:
The so-called “knockout game” has lost popularity in recent months, perhaps because those who played it are now in jail.
The rabbi’s best advice is awareness. Don’t lose yourself in your smart phone. Awareness alone may be the difference between getting home safely and not. Another Krav student recently shared a story with me in which she became aware that two men were following her at night. She looked each one squarely in the eye—a look, I can imagine, that said I am aware, I am unafraid, and I have a sword in my car and I know how to use it—and they lost interest. That’s self defense.
Here’s “Rabbi Rambo” teaching a different kind of self-defense:
A more behind-the-scenes look:
“In order to be spiritual, you have to be alive.” Another lesson worth remembering.
Krav is fun, and there can be no better place to learn and practice it than from the great teachers at MacDonald’s Academy of Martial Arts. But never forget you are also training for the occasion (God-forbid) when you will not be at the Academy, and fun will have nothing to do with it.