Today is Anzac day where we commemorate those who have served to protect our freedom and our Western ideals. In ‘American Sniper’ movie, at the beginning of the film the father of the protagonist admonished him and his brother at the dinner table saying that there are three types of people in this world. There are people who like to believe that evil does not exist and if it darkened their doorsteps, would not know how to protect themselves. They are the sheep. Then there are the predators, which use violence to prey on the weak. They are the wolves. And then there are those who are blessed with the gift of aggression and overpowering need to protect the flock. They are the rare breed who lives to confront the wolf. They are the sheepdogs.
Why is the sheepdog such a rare breed I wonder? Standing up for what is right involves a price which you have to be prepared to pay, that is why sheepdogs are a rare breed in society. History tells us how Winston Churchill was mocked by his contemporaries because of his tirade at “Herr Hitler” and the threat he was posing to Europe. Instead people wanted what Neville Chamberlain was offering – a useless piece of paper with a promise of “peace in our time”. England was a nation of sheep wanting peace in a time of war whilst Churchill recognized the threat and knew the cost of not taking action and the price of victory.
Today also commemorates the remembrance of the Holocaust. Against all odds the Jews have survived numerous persecutions and returned to the land that God promised; to live in dignity as a nation with a fierce warrior culture protecting their freedom and ideals, the same ideals which we all share in the West. Against all odds the Jews took on the armies of the Arab world and prevailed, capturing land from the aggressors. The Arab world realized that Israel could not be destroyed with troops, tanks and planes so a new insidious warfare manifested itself, the myth of the Palestinians.
In over 500 years of Ottoman Turk and British rule and 19 years of Jordanian occupation of Judea and Samaria and Gaza by Egypt there was never a mention of a Palestinian state. Rather than little plucky Israel fighting against all odds against overwhelming Arab forces it was suddenly the ‘Palestinians’, a small persecuted people, who were now victims of Israeli oppression; a tactical way of reorienting the conflict and changing history to something for Western ideologues to believe in.
I have to admit in my ignorant salad days I swallowed the Kool Aid about the Palestinians, but as I got involved in Krav Maga, as I read books, talked to people and visited Israel the truth became apparent. I consider myself a sheepdog, I teach the true and simple skills to save life and likewise I also speak up for what is true and right in the world. Three factors drive me; is Krav Maga compelling enough for me? Am I qualified to be a Krav Maga instructor and speak about Israel? Has my sense of identity or history thrust me in this?
The answer to the first question is that IKI Krav Maga is an organization that cross examines everything we do and teach to see if it’s simple, practical and will work for anybody. Likewise the founder and head instructor of IKI, Moshe Katz, does not care much for liberal dogma and tells everything as it is, whether relating to self-defence, Israel or Judaism. IKI perfectly aligns with my own personal values and principles. The answer to the second question of whether I am qualified; I am one of a few instructors in NZ who has trained and certified in Israel, I have been teaching Krav Maga on and off for nearly a decade. The answer to the thirds question is although not Jewish by birth I have some Jewish heritage and feel connected with Israel. I would have liked to have had the opportunity to volunteer for IDF in my younger days however all I can do now is teach Krav Maga and speak the truth.