Tough is not enough by Moshe Tortomasi

Article by Moshe Tortomasi

Head Instructor of Krav Maga Jerusalem

In all my 22 years as a Krav Maga instructor I have noticed a trend in those seeking training. Often those seeking Krav Maga training are people who want to prove how tough they are or test their ability to fight. Now I understand this to a point. People have experiences in their lives that have made them feel weak or victimized and I can appreciate that. However, there is a point in your training when you must realize that what Krav Maga teaches is not so much about being tough as it is knowing what to do in a given situation. If you don’t understand that then you have completely missed the point.

Krav Maga was created in such a way that everyone, no matter their size, will be able to fight and survive a vicious attack. It isn’t about proving how tough you are but about being tough enough to fight when you have to. In Israel we often find ourselves in the position of having to protect those we care about, not just ourselves. Of course it is great to feel confident and secure knowing you can defend yourself but that is assuming there is no one else with you.

So, think for a minute, if you have others with you that you may be responsible for, your children, relatives or friends that may be depending on you to protect them, everything changes. It’s no longer a matter of ‘self’ defense. It is a matter of your ability to fight and protect those you care about. This is the heart of Krav Maga.

Krav Maga is a military system and therefore assumes you are a part of a functioning group; in other words, a team. So when you have to fight you are usually part of a team and must take into consideration the well-being of the group.  So, once trained in Krav Maga, you take upon yourself the well-being of your ‘team’ or those around you as well as yourself. When you think this way all of a sudden how ‘tough’ you are becomes, not so important. Your ability to ‘handle’ the situation becomes paramount. In essence, you become a bodyguard to those around you.

Now, I know this sounds heavy and is a lot less fun to think about than just punching and kicking the crap out of people. However, this is the reality of life. If your life consists of bar fights and road rage fights or anything like that then maybe Krav Maga is not the right thing to study for you. My years of being a bodyguard did teach me a few things and one of them is…ego makes you weak, slow, and unclear. Krav Maga is not about thinking you can handle every situation but rather having the presence of mind and body to know what the best thing to do in a given situation is and being prepared to do it in the moment.

Once trained in Krav Maga you must understand that you know more about attacks than the average person around you. This, then, gives you a certain responsibility. Krav Maga is not just about fighting, it’s also about being responsible for doing the right thing. It is a very powerful and potentially lethal discipline and should not be taken lightly. It is a system that was developed for defending those who could not defend themselves (the Jews of eastern Europe and later the nation of Israel). As a Krav Maga practitioner, this is your heritage. This is the nature of where your training comes from. So treat it with respect and honor and, if you’re lucky, you will never have to use it. As Imi use to say, “we train so that we may walk in peace”. I pray that we all will know this peace in our days.

My thoughts are aligned with what he has send and it is even more so now that I have experienced Army Training at the source and hope to go back to learn even more from the best GIT’s in the world.  Thanks everyone! PLUS a special thanks to our Instructor Team in Toronto for always getting us great articles to read, learn and appreciate more and more!! Shout out to Henry!