"In a place where there are no men "


September 21, 2007
Kfir Mazaki


By Kfir Mazaki

As a civilian security professional and a martial arts practitioner for many years I’m always dwelling on the ways in which we use power. The recurring questions arise: where are the boundaries and what amount of force should be used? are translated into particulars: should I storm forward the aggressor or just try to contain the situation?

Or maybe a different reaction should be used?

After many years of on field experience I still have many questions and uncertainties.

Daily life make us meet different kinds of people, every one of them will have his own insights according to his experience and the way he deals with it. Accordingly his reactions to the events will be unexpected.

I can not expect a behavior that suits my caprices, and I can not judge a person. We all have good and bad days, but inside this cauldron I hang on to some sort of guiding principle written in Pirkei Avot by Rabi Hilel Hazaken: “In a place where there are no men strive to be a man”, or as I see it: to try and be humane at the most basic level when I need to do my job in front of impolite or aggressive behavior.

Every time when things are boiling around me (and in my profession there are many times like this), I see myself being tested in three areas: ethics, personality and self control. These situations are the best places to check myself.

What does this mean? From my point of view it means two things: paying attention to the surroundings, the human environment, and being aware of my own feelings inside the complicated situation.

The need to use force is sometimes necessary in a confrontation; in this case I do not have time to hesitate. Afterwards I look at the “emotions after” and have many questions: did I use force properly? Was it to satisfy myself, to prove something? Was it for protection? Was I hot-blooded? Was I afraid?

Last years have seen me react better, in a suitable way. In situations I encountered I did not fret too much but remained attentive to my inner principle. For me, this kind of a motto is like an inner Kamae.

“In a place where there are no men strive to be a man”

link to the AKBAN ethical code