By Amy Horn
I’ve been training in Krav Maga for just over 3 years. It seems like a lifetime ago that I walked into this school as a 23 year old, overweight college student armed with the knowledge of how to throw a right cross from my dad and a desire to do something for myself. I’ve met a lot of great people and learned a lot from them and through my own training. I’ve listed a few things that my stubborn brain has finally learned and I wish I had known a lot earlier.
- Put in the time. The busier our life gets, the more we tend to compartmentalize our life and list the priorities; which things in our lives are going to get the most attention. Family, kids, jobs, etc. Putting your Krav Maga training into your list of priorities is vital-it ensures that you will carve out time for it each week. Make it like an appointment you set for yourself that you cannot break. You will only get better and progress faster with the more time you put in. If self-defense training is important enough to you, you will make time-period.
- You have to have patience with yourself and you have to practice. Seems simple, right? This one, among all the others is one of the most important ones and was the hardest one for me to learn. Leave it to my stubborn brain to not understand that. We all want to learn something and be good at it right away. Talk about the want for instant gratification. But unless you are some sort of hybrid human, this just isn’t going to happen. Some combatives and self-defense techniques are more difficult than others- but as long as you are patient with yourself, practice, and put the time into really learning, your body will catch up and everything will eventually click.
- In the beginning, you are most likely going to suck. You just will. At first. This might seem harsh but it’s reality. Krav is a whole new skill set that takes time to get good at. While some things become easier to use than others based on a variety of reasons, you’ll still probably struggle. However, the beauty of the Krav Maga system is that it really doesn’t take long for the speed and intensity to get there. The fact that a Level 1 student can put 4 months of devoted practice into Krav Maga and be good enough to test to level 2 is a testament to its effectiveness.
- There will always be someone better than you. At any level, no matter how good you get. I tend to compare myself to other people…a lot. And I do it when training in Krav. “She has a better kick them me.” “He’s so much faster than I am.” Yeah, of course they are, they’ve been training longer and harder than I have. Rather than comparing yourself to them, use it as inspiration to get better. The sooner you can learn this one, the more effective your training will be because you are no longer in your own way.
- The more in shape you are, the easier things get. I know this from personal, first-hand experience. Can I just say that attempting to get someone off of you when you are rolling around on the ground is extremely difficult when you are overweight. When I first started Krav Maga I was overweight and had terrible cardiovascular endurance. Over the past year and a half I’ve lost about 50 pounds to put on a lot of muscle and it’s AMAZING to see how much longer, harder, and faster I can go without burning out. Kicks become stronger, punches become quicker and more effective because you can generally move with more ease. If fitness is one of your goals and reasons for training in Krav Maga then you’ve made the right step and you’ll start reaching your goals a whole lot quicker.
- Train with a variety of partners. Krav Maga is designed for anyone to be able to perform because it draws on the body’s natural reactions to situations. That being said, doing the self-defense technique for a carotid headlock from behind becomes a bit more difficult when you are doing it on a 250 pound man versus a 120 pound female. It’s just a different experience. Depending on your training partner, you may have to be more explosive, or precise, and hit them more in order to make them release. I remember learning the wrist release with both your arms behind your back. I kept practicing with the same woman week after week and I felt I had the technique down pretty well. One week I had to train with a much larger partner and I quickly realized that I was not as proficient at the technique as I thought. My sloppiness showed up real quick and so I had to adjust my training. This was a huge eye-opener for me because I saw how I was getting complacent while working with the same partner each week. Randall always says that he doesn’t care how big an opponent is, if you know the technique and are good at it, it works. Next time you train, try working with a completely different partner so that you can see where you are good and in what areas you need to work on.