At the beginning of the 1999 sci-fi blockbuster hit The Matrix, the protagonist Neo is presented with a consequential choice. He is offered a red pill, which would allow him to understand the world outside of his “matrix” of false reality. The alternative is taking the blue pill, which would return him to the blissful ignorance of the simulated Matrix illusion he had been living in. Spoiler alert – Neo chooses the red pill.
Metaphorically speaking, Neo’s choice to take the red pill or the blue pill is the choice between facing reality or remaining comfortable in an illusion. The red pill symbolizes enlightenment, and the blue pill, ignorance.
The choice to face reality or remain in a comfortable illusion.
I recently recorded an episode on my “Krav Talk” podcast along with my friend Nimrod, who is the fight trainer on the Netflix series “Fauda”. We spoke in depth about how counter-terror units and intervention teams at the front line are able to see what is really happening under the surface. Their job is to prevent terror acts and save millions of lives, all while those whose lives were saved knew nothing about it. They didn’t know they were endangered, nor who to thank for their continued safety.
Nimrod told a story from his service when he and his team were called to handle what is called in military language – “a ticking bomb.” A terrorist was on his way to committing an act of mass killing in Israel during the independence day celebration. While Nimrod and his team moved from their position and ambushed the perpetrator, they could see the fireworks exploding in the distance from the nearest Israeli city. It was a reminder of all of those lives they were saving in that moment. All of those who would never know they could have been hurt or killed that day. Before the end of that night, his unit was rushed out on a different life saving mission call. It’s amazing to know that his team of service men were only 20 years old at the time.
Krav Maga is the key to seeing the world as it really is and defending yourself against potential threats.
It’s about being prepared to take action and defend yourself if necessary. It’s about not relying on others for your own safety. It’s about being aware of the dangers that exist in the world and being able to protect yourself.
It is a choice to open your eyes to the world around you, even if it’s a harsh and uncomfortable world. It is a choice to be aware of the dangers that exist and to be prepared to defend yourself from them. It is also a choice to be aware of the different values that people have and to be willing to engage in difficult conversations about those values.
Krav Maga can teach you how to fight, but it also teaches you how to avoid fighting and escape honorably. It will teach you to be aware of your surroundings, to be an active participant and how to de-escalate situations as the choice of strength. It will teach you how to become more confident and more aware of your own abilities. It won’t happen overnight, and not without hard work, but it is guaranteed if you give yourself the time to learn.
Practicing methods of self-defense helps you become more confident and more capable of handling intense situations, both the easy and not so easy.
While Krav Maga is what I use as a lens and perspective in life, I believe we have to strengthen ourselves in many different ways. Personally, I would not prescribe too much of the red pill to anyone. Not even myself. An acceptable level of surrender to our surroundings is extremely beneficial to our well-being, so we don’t cross the line between living an aware versus paranoid life.
The cliche of “life is about having a balance” is always true — and this case is no exception.