Growing up, I was a skinny little Jewish boy from Brooklyn. When I was about nine years old, my family and I moved to California, and it was also the start of my martial arts career. At the time, Bruce Lee was my idol. I was amazed watching him beat the crap out of guys bigger than him, and usually more than one at a time. As I got older and the kids in my martial arts class got bigger, I seemed to take longer to grow. By the time I reached the 10th grade in high school, I was 5’4’’ and weighed only 97 pounds. Needless to say, I would often get challenged by bigger kids talking smack and trying to act all tough, putting me down due to my size. It was hard for me, but I knew fighting was not the answer (or it could have been that I did not want to get my ass kicked). Even though I had been training in martial arts since I was nine years old, it wasn’t until I started training in Krav Maga that my perspective towards the situation changed, and my confidence began to grow.
Studying karate as a kid, you work on technique, flexibility and form. Sparring (fighting) was a part of every class, but the first real fight you got into outside of karate class was a hard realization that what I learned in karate class didn’t prepare me for the fight, and that the punches never stop. There is no Sensei (teacher) or ref there to call time when you score a point. In sparring, anytime you hurt your opponent you were put in the corner and scolded for being too aggressive. I guess if I was the type of kid who was out of control hurting others at school, learning the discipline of martial arts would have tamed me. However, my reality was the complete opposite. I needed to know that when push came to shove in a real fight I could protect myself as well as anyone with me. That is exactly what Krav Maga taught me; that I could protect myself.
The first time I sparred in Krav Maga I remember hitting my opponent and stopping immediately after that. Before I knew it, I was overcome by a volley of attacks that did not stop until I was defenseless on the floor. In real life, when you’re attacked on the streets, there are no rules, no referees, and no parents or teachers to break up the fight. All you have is you, your training and the will to survive. It is all about the mentality of the fight regardless of technique. Ultimately, it depends on the person who wants to win more. Krav Maga teaches you how to tap into that inner animal instinct so you can go from passive to aggressive in an instant – as needed. Add that this the best self-defense principles on the planet and you have Krav Maga, and what it takes to survive an attack.
The more I trained in Krav Maga the more my body developed to become stronger, faster, and more agile. In school I went from the shy kid who hated to get up in front of the class, to the guy giving sales pitches to presidents and CEO’s of companies while working at Enterprise Rent A Car, managing nine retail branches with The Hertz Corporation, to opening up and running two of the most successful Krav Maga facilities in the world with KMW. It was Krav Maga that allowed me to live up to my potential and be successful in business and in my personal life. Taking care of my wife and two boys is my highest priority and knowing that I can protect them when they are with me is the best feeling of all.
Krav Maga is not just about self-defense and fighting. Krav Maga is about not being afraid to go after what you want in life and going after your dreams. This January 2013, I will be fulfilling another of my life dreams, as a partner and owner in Krav Maga Unyted in Downtown LA. I invite you to experience for yourself what Krav Maga has to offer and look forward to training with you.
Never stop training. See you on the mat.