Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Friday, October 04, 2013

Who Needs Fiction:Martial Arts Politics

If there is more than one person in a room, politics is taking place. One of the bad things about martial arts organizations is that they are frequently hotbeds of politics. I guess that is just human nature.

My associate over at Dao of Strategy sent me an article on this topic. An excerpt is below. The full article may be read here.

Israeli Martial Arts Gurus Duke It Out For Real

By Marissa Brostoff

When grandmaster Haim Gidon, a top-ranking practitioner of the Israeli martial art of Krav Maga, entered a studio in New Jersey on a recent Monday, the 20-odd people in the room stopped pummeling each other and lined up like soldiers standing at attention. Gidon was visiting from Israel to give them advanced training, and the students — who included law enforcement officers, military personnel and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter John Mayer — treated him like a commanding officer.

But in an interview with the Forward after the session, Gidon seemed less eager to talk about his new acolytes than about his old adversaries — the other disciples of Krav Maga founder Imi Lichtenfeld who formed rival organizations after his death in 1998.

“They all say they are the originals,” Gidon fumed, through a translator. “But if you say you are the originals, show us your proof!”

The strange journey of krav maga — a martial art characterized by gritty street-fighting techniques and, these days, by equally gritty animosity between the organizations that teach it — began in Czechoslovakia just before World War II, when Lichtenfeld, a young gymnast, developed it as a self-defense technique against fascist predators. Lichtenfeld brought the discipline with him to Israel, where it became absorbed into Israeli military training. There, soldiers like Gidon became Lichtenfeld’s top students — and later spread krav maga around the world.

Krav maga has been taught in the United States at least since the early 1980s, and today hundreds of classes are offered throughout the country, many of them in conjunction with military and police training. Its popularity has spiked in the last couple of years as celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lopez have undergone training.

But the technique’s growing popularity has also intensified tensions between the organizations that teach it — over the authenticity of their methods, the realism of their fighting techniques and even the use of the term “krav maga.”

“They all hate each other,” said Elizabeth Greenman, who teaches the martial art in New York through an organization called Commando Krav Maga. “Every group hates each other. In the end it’s about money and clientele.”


Paul said...

"In the end it’s about money and clientele." very true. But there ain't no problem. Aren't everything in market economy is about money and clientele?

PS: I guess the smarter ones of them just pretend to "hate" each other in public. Nobody really "hate" each other in market economy, but the feeling of "hatred" can stir up emotion and therefore publicity, and is (therefore) good for business! The next time when you frequent a restaurant (or a girlie bar if your prefer that as an example), don't imagine the beautiful young waitress has put her true heart on you, but of course you are entitled to enjoy the feeling of the moment, you're her customer afterall...:):)

Rick Matz said...

I need to do some research. :-)

Compass Architect said...

Paul is correct in most cases. ... The person who is ahead, stays focused on being efficient while ignoring those who are behind. If the market share is quite even, there is a chance that the situation could become quite personal. ... Read the Chinese strategy classics. It is all there. Knowing how to connect the principles to the assessed situation is the name of the game.

Paul said...

CA, "friendly discussions" is not news. "Getting personal" is news. The WWE guys know about this, and they are great marketers.

"Didn't those guys arguing about whose techniques are more 'deadly' (Paul's comment: ....and authentic, which incidentally always play second fiddler)? Let's check it out..."

PS: "Being personal" may, or may not, be for real. The benefit is for all, irrespective of one's market share. The pie simply grows bigger! How to increase one's market share is another issue.