Krav Maga: Real World Solutions To Real World Violence, by Gershon Ben Keren
I had heard of this particular Israeli martial arts, in which all recruits to the Israeli Defense Force are trained, but I had never read it in any depth until looking at this profile. I have to say, though, that this particular martial arts definitely appeals to me. There is no question that this particular martial arts appeals to real-world issues, and in a particularly relevant way. When you think of the sort of martial arts that gives practical tips in how an unarmed person can use one of multiple thugs as a human shield or shank an attacker with his own knife, this is definitely the sort of martial arts that is appealing to me, and would also be appealing to those who watch movies like John Wick where people improvise weapons and use the weapons of others against them. Israel is in a dangerous part of the world, and this book has no illusions about people minding their own business but finding others targeting them anyway and seeking ways to use alertness and courage in order to overcome aggressors and enemies, advice that others would do well to learn from.
This book is almost 200 pages long and is divided into three parts of unequal size. The book begins with a preface and introduction that discuss Krav Maga, then discuss Krav Maga Yashir in particular, and then discuss Gershon Ben Karen a bit more in detail. After that the first part of the book looks at basic skills (stances, movement, blocking, and striking) that make up the martial art, including things like groin kicks, rear elbows, and 360 blocks that serve to inflict pain even as they block attacks. The second part of the book is made up of a wide variety of self-defense scenarios that have an unarmed person in a variety of different scenarios including knives and guns being pointed at various arts of the body or attempts at shanking or even rear hostage situations, some of which include the advice of using improvised weapons and many of which involve techniques which would allow the defender to utilize the weapons of the aggressor against him/her. Finally, the third part of the book looks at unarmed assaults and the dynamic components of violence, including dealing with chokes and preventing headlocks, after which the book closes with a conclusion and acknowledgements.
There are definitely some people who won’t like this book and what it represents. But for me, at least, this book represents the sort of mentality that Israel has about the world and it is an entirely sensible sort of approach to a nation that desires peace but has to prepare for war. Just because you want peace doesn’t mean that others want to let you live in peace, and though there are ways to demonstrate that one is not an aggressive threat and seek to defuse tensions before they reach violence, sometimes other people simply do not want to let one remain at peace, and this book does a good job at providing scenarios where one can disrupt the aggression of others, damage those who would attack, destroy them and leave them incapable of aggression, whether with one’s fists, improvised weapons, or the weapons of one’s aggressors being used against them, and then disengaging to live another day peacefully. Not only is this an immensely appealing mindset, but it is one that I can wholeheartedly endorse on a geopolitical as well as a personal level. I suppose it is only a matter of time before this particular martial art gets the credit and respect around the world that it deserves.