Kalah Combat: Self-Defense done the Real Way
Bev Campling on November 5, 2017
I met with Idan Abolnik in Pretoria, South Africa to discuss the Kalah System that he developed and introduced to the public and private sector in 2013. In short, Kalah is a combat system that teaches training course participants how to face violence and survive!
Who is Idan Abolnik?
A focused and direct man who communicates with honesty and conviction, Idan was born in the town of Beer-Sheva, the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. This is where he spent his childhood and teen years until being conscripted into the Israeli military at the age of 18. He was initially stationed in Lebanon and then redeployed to Gaza during the first 3 years of his service. He was involved in gathering intelligence, deployment behind enemy lines and doing whatever was necessary to protect his country.
He decided to make a career of the military after completing the compulsory 3-year conscription. He was assigned to the Anti-Terror and Intelligence division where he served for 6 years working in countries throughout Africa seeking to gain military intelligence to protect Isreal.
Idan was then drafted into the Personal Protection and Intelligence unit of the Israeli government, protecting high-level government ministers and officials. He left that division 2 years later and joined the Israeli Secret Service where he was deployed until 2013 when he decided to leave the military completely and focus on promoting the Kalah System that he had been developing since 2003.
What Idan has learned, and taken with him, from his years spent in the Israeli military is to look at life from a different perspective and deal with problems differently; particularly violent and combative type life-threatening situations. Idan found that the military service humbled him; made him aware of his humanity and the humanity of all other people. It also taught him that taking action should be the first priority. Less beating around the bush and rather adopting a direct approach.
Origins of the Kalah System
The birth of Kalah was totally incidental and unintentional. In 2003, while serving in the Israeli military Idan was approached by a burly man carrying a firearm. He told Idan to disarm him. Instinct told Idan that if he tried to disarm this man it would be a rough and dangerous fight that could potentially endanger his life because he could see that this man meant to take him on. Idan prayed silently while raising both his hands and telling the man that he did not want to do that.
The man continued to provoke Idan asking him to disarm him, but Idan kept raising his hands and declining, saying that he did not want a scrap. He also continued praying silently! As the provocation continued, Idan suddenly found himself lunging at the man and ended up with the firearm in his hands. Totally taken aback, the man asked Idan to show him how he had done it. Idan was not sure himself how he had disarmed the man so quickly, but repeated the actions. As he did that, God revealed to him each move that made up the action of disarming the man.
The Kalah concept was born, but it still needed another 10 years of refining to evolve into the Kalah System that Idan teaches today.
The Kalah System Concept
Idan initially launched the Kalah System in South Africa in 2013. He chose South Africa because he had previously been stationed in the country and he felt that it was where God had wanted him to begin. The Kalah System of training has since been expanded to 25 countries worldwide.
The focus of the Kalah System is to train people how to defend themselves in life-threatening situations. Idan’s mission is to give other human beings a better chance of survival if they find themselves in a life-threatening situation, be it crime or terror-related.
Kalah differs from Krav Maga (the Israeli military’s martial arts training) in that it puts God first! Idan fully believes that the Kalah concept is a gift bestowed on him by God; a means through which he could utilize the experience he gained in the military and share it with ordinary people and special units throughout the world.
When Idan opens a training session he explains to all participants the 2 laws of Kalah:
- We are all flesh and blood, no one is a superhero; the only superhero is God.
- When defending yourself in a life-or-death situation, God gives us all one chance and sometimes there is no second chance; grasp that one chance and defend yourself to the very best of your ability.
All Kalah training sessions are closed in prayer.
The Kalah system is not a sports fighting system, it is not martial arts and it is not the run-of-the-mill self-defense systems marketed broadly. Kalah is a combat system! It deals with real-world violence head-on. There are no frills or fancy moves. Kalah teaches people to tackle violent threats realistically with the same force that the threat attacks with.
Kalah is not Self-Defense!
Self-defense classes are marketed all around the world, many with false promises. “You can be fully trained to defend yourself in any situation in 5 days!” “You can learn self-defense tactics online!” The movie industry has also permeated the publics’ concept of self-defense. The glamour of titles, fancy outfits, and badges and belts indicating your level of success. That’s all good and well, but the majority of these self-defense classes still render people defenseless in real-world life-threatening situations.
In Kalah the use of the words ‘self-defense’ is a diplomatic means of putting the message across to the public. The majority of people would find the word ‘combat’ intimidating, but in reality, there is no difference between real self-defense and combat. Effectively both terms convey self-survival! If you are attacked you have only yourself who can defend you in those moments.
When looking to enroll for a course in self-defense, and you want to make sure it will help you in a real-life situation, Idan advises that you don’t ask the instructor what his / her experience is. That’s just talk! Also, don’t pay attention to instructor versus student demonstrations. The students will follow and comply with their instructor’s actions.
What you must do is get involved! Ask the instructor to demonstrate their skills on you personally. If they say they are concerned that they might hurt you, indemnify them by offering to sign an indemnity against personal injury for the demonstration. Also, have them indemnify you. If you are afraid of getting hurt, you don’t belong on a self-defense course.
If the instructor agrees, put them under pressure. Attack with all that you have, resist and fight back. That is the only way that you will know if you will be getting the training you want.
Kalah is the Real Deal!
Kalah is not for everyone. It is genuine combat training that encompasses a full hand-to-hand combat syllabus, weapons, and firearms training as well as specialized defense techniques. The training is hard and participants are exposed to world-class techniques, including being trained to face, understand and cope with the fear of violence. It is this level of realism that sets Kalah apart from other training systems.
Participants are pushed to their limit, testing their techniques under real pressure to ensure that they have the best chance of survival if faced with a threat. Kalah teaches participants to deal with the psychological and physiological effects of combat. They are equipped with skills to control the instinctive fear of violence and fight-or-flight reactions when exposed to a combat situation, building their confidence through practical training.
Since early 2017 Idan has been training South African farmers. The farmers come to Gauteng for a 14-day training course and then return to their farms to train family and staff. They attend a 2-day refresher course twice monthly. The refresher courses are ongoing. So far it has been well supported, but Kalah is not for everyone and not all participants pass.
Participants who attend and pass any of Idan’s Kalah courses are issued with a certificate. Kalah courses include:
- Close Protection: 5-week course
- Anti-Terror / PSD: 9-week course
- S.W.A.T.: 9-week course
- Combat Shooting: 5-day course
- Kalah: 10-day course
Idan’s Closing Words of Wisdom
Trust God; love life; don’t fight from a place of hatred; don’t be racist; fight for what is right.