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The Fad of the Week

In my 20+ years of teaching martial arts, I’ve seen countless fads come and go. This is of course not unique to the martial arts, as I have also seen this in the health and fitness industry, another passion of mine. I’m sure it's happened in every industry since the dawn of time. Over the years, I’ve seen variations of Tae Bo, Kickboxing, aerial martial arts, and so many more that all claimed to be the next big thing, and all eventually fizzled out.

The current “next big thing” is Krav Maga. Krav Maga is the hand-to-hand combat system designed for the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). It’s a very aggressive style that takes every technique and situation to a kill, and very quickly. Now before all you Krav Maga enthusiasts inundate my e-mail with hate mail, let me preface by saying there’s nothing wrong with the Krav Maga system!

There’s often a level of value to many of these fads that have come and go. Cardio kickboxing absolutely got a great sweat going, if someone enjoys the aesthetic of aerial martial arts, who am I to argue? But inevitably, these all have had a short shelf life. They get started by some article in Black Belt Magazine or other publications, some movie star mentions it in an interview, or it garnered attention with an exciting advertising campaign.

Krav Maga has been around since 1948, but started to become popular here in the United States only a few years ago. The popularity of the style may have coincided with certain movies coming out, the popularity of television shows like NCIS, 24, and others characterizing IDF members, or even the political ties between Israel and the US changing to where people are more aware of the IDF’s existence, and thus learning more about it.
However, there are already indications of Krav Maga’s popularity waning. Fewer and fewer schools are advertising Krav Maga as one of their offered styles (which in most cases were never experts in it anyway), and the general publicity of the style has noticeably decreased. Very few parents sign their child up for martial arts looking to have their child learn how to kill someone as quickly as possible. There’s also the obvious legal ramifications where if you kill someone for pushing you, you will be held criminally and civilly liable for that. While a system designed by and for military use may be effective for it’s given purpose, that certainly doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for every purpose in the martial arts.
As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, more fads will come and eventually go. When they inevitably do, my advice is not to fall for the bright lights and the hype. What we've done here at USSD has been tried and true for nearly 2000 years! For something to have been around so long, we must be doing something right!
Excuse me now while I read through the hate mail that surely awaits my inbox from all the Krav Maga enthusiasts!

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