Krav Maga (pronounced krov məgah) is a brutal Israeli martial art. It was originally developed in 1930s Europe to help Jews in the ghettos escape from Nazis and their anti-semitic collaborators. Krav maga was created for quick fights in streets and alleyways against an enemy with superior weaponry and numbers. It’s therefore designed to incapacitate or kill one’s opponent in under thirty seconds. It’s also the official martial art of possibly the most terrifying and determined military in the world: the ID-freaking-F.
Allow me to reiterate one important point in order to convey its full import: krav maga was made to kill Nazis. That puts it in the same category as the OSS, Indiana Jones, and the atomic bomb. Of all the awesome things in this world, Nazi-killers are among the most verendic. They’re up there with space marines, free refills and hugs.
And while we’re on the subject, that reminds me: never, ever, ever make the mistake of getting in the way of, defying, or even taking too lightly anyone or anything whose sole or primary purpose for existence is killing Nazis. A Nazi killer is someone or something you always want to have on your side. A point which will become clearer shortly.
But first, arms akimbo. Arms akimbo means to have one’s hands on one’s hips with the elbows turned outward. This a wonderful and versatile way to stand. It can be negative — expressing anger or frustration — or positive –expressing an unaffected nonchalance. It also comes in quite handy when one is nervous and doesn’t quite know what to do with one’s hands. And arms akimbo happens to be one of the most delightful expressions in the English language to say aloud.[ii]
I was developing a spiel in which I would convince you of the surprising connections between arms akimbo and krav maga, but it would have mostly been blarney, blandishment, bamboozling and alliteration.
They have only one real connection:
I decided a long time ago that if I were ever unfortunate enough to be in the position to need bodyguards, and ever fortunate enough to get to have bodyguards, I would name the one “Arms” Akimbo and the other Krav McGaw. Mr. Akimbo would be a tall Nigerian with a sour disposition and the biggest biceps you’ve ever seen. He would stand threateningly at my side with his arms eponymously akimbo. Krav McGaw would be a vaguely Eastern European man with a hooked nose, a beard and nasty scars on his face, neck and arms which he got wrestling a rabid porcupine.[iii] He would occasionally pull a quill out of his neck as a reminder of how hardcore he is.
Nobody would ever dare cross me with “Arms” Akimbo and Krav McGaw at my side. But don’t worry, lest you think I would become a villain. Another thing movies have taught me is that giant, terrifying men are always ironically sensitive and kind-hearted. So I’m sure Messrs Akimbo and McGaw would never do anyone any real harm. Except Nazis. All bets are off when it comes to Nazis.
If you were to have a bodyguard, what phrase would you name him after? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you, my taciturn reader.
[i] “But a bit” is an phrase that when said in rapid repetition sounds like a horse galloping. Try it when no one’s in the room. It’s fun.
[ii] Try that as well when you’re finished saying “but a bit.”
[iii] He won.