In 1982, an underwater archaeologist discovered a ton of third century Roman vases in the harbor of Rio de Janeiro. They dug around a bit more and discovered two rotting Roman-style ships. This discovery was amazing. It seemed to prove that Brazil was discovered by the Romans, not the Portuguese. How did the Brazilian government handle this situation? They buried the discovery with sand! The government said “By Golly, Brazil was discovered by the Portuguese and we aren’t going to let facts stand in the way of what we believe!”

When I argue with anyone over techniques, systems, nutrition or even my rogue opinions about our great medical system in the U.S. I am amazed why people believe what they believe. My opinions are generally based on hundreds of hours of study. Most other’s opinions seem to be based only on what they want to believe or because they were told what to think by someone else.

I was on a forum recently where someone had posted that Krav Maga was training instructors all wrong. He stated that in Krav Maga they are bringing outsiders in for a week and making instructors of them. The Asian martial arts are doing it right. A student trains under a master for years and learns the intricacies of the art. They are brought along very slowly and are experts before they ever teach anyone else. Well, most people in my shoes would think “this is BS, the guy’s an idiot” and move on, or even post a snotty reply. After all, Krav Maga is my life and I make money off of it. For most instructors to even admit that someone else could be right just isn’t going to happen. My problem with this way of thinking is that anytime a person turns themselves off from anyone else’s thoughts or ideas they are claiming that they know it all, couldn’t possibly be wrong and close themselves off from learning and growing.

So I thought about what I read. There were some decent points in what the guy was saying. After deliberating I came up with my answer to his thought with no anger, name calling or emotions. Every now and then thinking deeply about why you believe the way you do can be an eye opener! My thoughts are that the man was right…for martial arts. Most martial arts have a couple of thousand techniques. They break them up into fifty or sixty techniques a belt and it will take time to perfect them all. They believe that they magic is in the technique. It would take a lot of time to get all those techniques down. On the bad side of this way of training, I have seen major cult of personalities take root in the martial arts. I have seen students bowing and scraping to “masters”. I’ve seen students washing the master’s Benz, constructing entire buildings and I even saw a small female carrying three master’s luggage through an airport, while they went empty handed. I’m an American for crying out loud! This stuff doesn’t fly with me.

Why do I think that we can train people in one week and send them out as instructors? First, it isn’t like they are leaving as a “master of the system” in one week. They can teach level 1 after one week. Level one is basic. If I bring in talented instructors in other systems or arts who will work hard I believe that thirty hours is plenty. I am getting the philosophy in their head, the techniques themselves are easy. Once they embrace how we teach and what we believe self defense is they can leave as strong teachers indeed. The proof is in the amazing instructors that we have turned out.

The point is to think for yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should think. Our system would be pathetic if years ago we believed we had all the answers and refused to listen to anyone else or look into what anyone else was teaching and why. BE SAFE!


1 Comment

  1. Congratulations about your blog. Your advices and the information you provide area great. As a Brazilian, however, I fell the need to explain that besides the facts that you did mention (that are undoubtedly true) it is important to see some others behind them.

    Those were the last years of the last Brazilian military dictatorship and “Angra dos Reis”, the place where the roman ships were found was (and still is) one of the main centers of the Brazilian nuclear research facilities and nuclear plants. The fact that an ecological sanctuary was chosen to host a nuclear research facility shows that “non democratic” governments do not care that much about public opinion (the sunk of the Waterfalls of Seven Falls by the “Itaipu” dump is another good example). Besides, the last thing the militaries wanted at the point was researchers digging near their “facilities”. In short: the Brazilian government position about historical reasons was just a feeble excuse.

    Concerning the training period for an instructor, I am not sure that few weeks would be sufficient. For some very skilled and talented persons, maybe as an exception, but it should not be a rule.

    Congratulations again.

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