IKMF Krav Maga for the disabled, an Article by Master Avi Moyal:
Normally, the purpose of headlines is to garner interest and to encourage the reader to read all the way through, only to discover that there is barely if any connection between the header and the content, Krav Maga for the disabled is exactly the opposite. The title sounds weird even unrealistic for some, but the content is wide and fascinating like nothing in the field.
A few days ago we have completed the first part of one of the most exciting innovative projects we have ever made, and one that I am personally very proud of.
16 incredible people have accomplished their qualification as Krav Maga instructors for disabled people.
And why would a disabled person need to protect himself? This question conceals the initial cause the project entails.
The question itself indicates that the able body do not consider the different as equal, i.e. "he is already disabled, so he will not be attacked".
This approach actively prevents their rehabilitation, their strengthening process, and their integration in society.
Disability is not a choice but a condition that limits an individual in some aspects but can also strain him in others, therefore being disabled is not being less, it's being different but as amazing as anybody.
In a split second we can cross that line and become handicapped, moreover, look at our parents, grandparents, will we not get there some day? Will we not have disabilities? Our Hearing, sight, movement, might deteriorate as years go by. There is no us and them.
Every Saturday night I stay with my mother, spending time with this wonderful woman who raised us with a firm hand and loving heart, she taught us to become independent and determined as we are. But being with her also confronts me with the sad fact of her getting old and witnessing her vanishing piece by piece, leaving a shadow of what she used to be. She can barely hear, can barely see and in constant need of assistance for basic activities, just as we were as babies. For me, this visit every Saturday, demonstrates what most of us try to deny, the fact that our health and strength are temporary conditions.
In fact, most of the time we are all "temporarily limited" in some way:
Sitting in a chair at the office, a restaurant or even restroom.
Holding something in our hands, or preoccupied with something, or even limited by space like inside an elevator, and eventually closing our eyes, and see as much as any blind person.
The funny thing is, that the only time we are not limited, is during a Krav Maga training, when we are dressed and ready for any scenario, we consider our system Realistic, because it simulates reality :)
That is the reason we aspire to prepare our students to act in their own defense and their loved ones in reality. Our job is to train them according to the reality in which they live in, which is always temporarily limited.
We named this new sector Adaptive Krav Maga, since we need to adapt every technique to any limitation.
Sitting on a chair while defending against knife, obligates us to use our hands only to control the assailant and defeat him without using our legs.
Holding an object with one hand, will force us to perform a defense with the one available hand we have, just like an amputee, and defending in the dark will simulate the blind people who reacts to contact.
Adaptive Krav Maga is not conceived by us as self-defense for disabled people, let's be realistic, a disabled person, whether he is in a wheelchair, using a cane, cognitively limited or other disability, will find it very difficult to defend their selves against able body assailant. From our perspective, adaptive Krav Maga is conceived as sort of sport for disabled people, a sport which contains elements of self-defense, and a sport that provides them with extraordinary empowering elements more than any other sport available to them.
During the course, it struck me that teaching this sector, enables us to teach our injured students, so they don't have to sit at home. That alone makes a significant contribution to their inspiration, granting them further abilities without them getting hurt in the process and worsening their state.
Adaptive Krav Maga recognizes the disability, analyzes it and establishes suitable individual program to each student.
The course itself:
imagine a team where in it you will meet a doctor that finds out one day she suffers from Muscular Dystrophy and can no longer operate.
A guy who discovered suddenly he can no longer move, and will need a walking stick for the rest of his life, a senior Krav Maga instructor that loses his legs in an I.E.D explosion, and add them a group of para medical disabilities experts, add a project manager, head instructor of the federation, along with instructors from Germany, Greece, Australia, USA, Italy, France, Canada, studying each other and how to help each other defend themselves.
As hard as it is to imagine, you should have been there to see that wonder, and what it does to each and every one of us.
The goal of the course was to equip the instructors with a "toolbox" that will enable them to provide tools especially for each and every one of their students.
unlike any other course we conduct, Military or Law enforcement Krav Maga instructors, VIP Krav Maga instructors, women, and kids Krav Maga instructors, etc. - this course does not have a curriculum of techniques, this course provides tools in order to create tailored tools for a specific student. This course is educational, not only to its participants, but to us as a team, we had to invent the techniques, improve them, create teaching methods as we go, after years of research and studies we have made prior to launching this course.
It was both amusing and educating to witness a Krav Maga instructor perform an obstacle course while sitting on a wheelchair, attacked from all directions in different ways. It is a wonder to watch how the human body adapt itself to its new situation, learning new abilities and preventive behaviors.
As in any field, IKMF presents a direction, makes the first step, and leads the way by being the best. I'm not fooling myself thinking that others will not attempt to copy us. I used to get frustrated when other organizations 'stole' ideas from us, but nowadays I find it a blessing! Knowledge is not made to be kept in a safe for the benefit of its creator and few chosen ones, knowledge is made to spread and help as many as possible (apart from confidential materials of government and security sector). It's also a way to contribute to a greater good by letting others continue improving it. Knowledge that is not spread will be lost, forgotten, and never developed.
The only thing I can promise you, is that under my watch IKMF will continue to lead in every possible sector, and continue standing as the best, the biggest and the most renowned Krav Maga organization in the world.
A special thanks and appreciation to Stephane Chatton, head of Adaptive division in IKMF and Federico Fogliano, Europe region director, for all the hard work they put into it, and for sharing this path together.
Head instructor and chairman of the International Krav Maga Federation.