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Krav Maga testing
Krav Maga Testing

by Amy Horn

Let's talk a little about testing shall we? Seeing as I recently tested from Level 2 to Level 3, the experience is fresh in my brain. It's been a long time since I've tested in Krav Maga. I tested out of Level 1 after 4 months of training in Krav Maga and haven't done anything since. I'm aware that several students who are training right now are on the brink of testing out of Level 1 to Level 2 and a few are getting ready to test out of Level 2. This is awesome! In this article, I want to review what testing is like and some tips to keep in mind to take you through the process.

The goal of testing is to show the instructor that you have a firm grasp of the material covered for your level. This means you'll have to demonstrate each movement with proficiency. When you arrive for testing, you'll get with a partner that you'll be working with throughout the whole process. It begins with your combatives. You will demonstrate a move for 30 seconds and then switch so your partner can complete it while you hold the pad. You'll go back and forth until both of you have demonstrated all combatives for 30 seconds each. That means every elbow, every hammer fist, and every kick in the arsenal. If you're testing out of Level 2, you not only have to demonstrate Level 2 combatives but also Level 1. This is one reason it's important to continually train in the basics of Krav Maga as you'll need to know all material as you progress. You don't just test out and move on but build on the fundamentals.

Once you eventually finish the combatives section of the test, you move on to the self-defense portion. Again, each partner must demonstrate proficiency in all self-defense moves. This part is different from training in class. When you're in class, you're usually learning things, taking them slow until you gradually speed up to full force. When you're testing, there is no taking it slow. The instructor wants to see you execute a self-defense move fast and without hesitation. This means it is 30 seconds of going fast and hard on your partner before you switch and they return the favor.

Eventually you will move into the ground fighting portion of the test. As if you aren't already exhausted enough, you will move into what I feel is the hardest part. Ground fighting is probably one of the most tiring parts of Krav Maga and you're doing it after exhaustion has set in from hours of testing. However demonstrating that you know the techniques on the ground isn't all of it-you have to show ability under stress. To top off the test, you'll be put under a series of stress tests where you basically just have to get up while your partner is trying to keep you down. This happens in both the Level 1 and Level 2 test (and I'm assuming beyond those, which is terrifying to consider).

Krav Maga testing is lengthy. The Level 2 test took us almost 3 1/2 hours and I'm assuming with all the new material in Level 1, that test will take at least 2 hours. Here are some tips to surviving testing that I've picked up and heard from other students:
  • Pace Yourself. Just like with any exercise, you have to know when to go hard and when to slow down. Use those precious 30 seconds that you have while you're holding the pad for your partner to control your breath. Controlling your breathing is the key to sustaining energy and keeping up the pace without burning out.
  • Stay Calm. This is especially important with the ground fighting. You'll hear Randall all the time talk about finding that balance between using enough strength to control your opponent and burning out by clinging on to them with all your might. It's a sweet spot (which I'm slowly learning to find). While ground fighting, try breathing through your nose to keep yourself calm. When performing combatives and self-defense, use short bursts of air with every strike but return to normal breathing between each move. This will help you stay calm and focused while also controlling your breathing.
  • Drink Water. I think this is pretty much a given but trust me, if you don't drink a ton of water during each break, you will start seeing black spots in your vision which usually precedes you passing out (I saw many black spots during my Level 1 test).
  • Stay Focused. I know, the test is lengthy. Yes, you will be tired and yes, you will want to look up at the clock every 5 minutes. Try to avoid that-it will just cause you frustration. Stay focused on the job and the test and just know that it will be over soon.

Testing sucks-it really does. It's exhausting, it's lengthy, and honestly sometimes a bit tedious. However it's extremely rewarding to make it through and to be able to demonstrate all that you've learned thus far. It's a small amount of suck to get you to grow and mature; the same can be said with many areas of your life. If you're testing soon, good luck and try to have some fun!

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