4 minutes reading time (705 words)

Mental Edge

People often observe the ease with which I am able to apply techniques and think that I an individual who was born with a natural talent. What most people do not see however are all the years of practice that have gone into developing my skills. My philosophy is one of consistent never ending improvement. What has always excited me about training is that every moment there is a fresh new opportunity to learn something new. I apply this philosophy not only to martial arts but practically everything I endeavour. Just last weekend I completed the last of my Microsoft exams to become MCITP certified in Virtualization Administration.

I successfully achieve my goals not because I am gifted but rather because I focus on the outcome that I am looking for. I did not just walk into a martial arts studio and hope that everything will click into place. I made demands on myself, I trained regularly, ran daily, stretched; went over my moves at home physically and mentally. It is important to know the outcome that one seeks; to be wealthy one must study wealth, to be healthy one must study health; if you want martial art skills you must study self defence. This may mean testing your skills, using pad work to develop striking techniques; using aggression and full contact drills and training at home. If someone calls or emails me to enquire about classes I pull no punches when explaining what is required to be competent in Krav Maga.

If someone commits themselves to learning self defence I know from experience that often the challenge is mental. My aim as an instructor is to change how my students feel and behave in a stressful situation. Some people think that I have an obsession, but as far as I am concerned there is no half way with martial arts like with any of life’s endeavours. It’s like digging half a hole or being half pregnant; there is no such thing. Either you commit yourself fully or not at all.

The mental challenge comes with clearing the mind and to focus; clarity is power. My outcome is to teach skills that resolve violent, stressful and dangerous situations; not to simply train fighters. Some people come to my training with the wrong attitude and then wonder why they lose interest and get bored. I run Krav Maga, not a fight club or a fitness boot camp. I advice my students to never settle for anything less than they can be, no matter how good it may feel always to look for ways to progress to the next level.

Many struggle with their own fears. The only way to deal with fear in my opinion is to face it. Practice full-contact sparring if you are afraid of fighting; if you fear heights do a sky dive or a bungy jump. It is never easy to face your fears and it could take weeks, months or years. The key is to start small and build up gradually, just like training wit weights. This is why one may need a coach for encouragement because we all slip at times, myself included, when confronting our inner demons.

The point is I teach martial arts not to teach new picnic skills but rather to build confident, competent people. I draw from my own life experiences and I encourage others to make decisions that will make profound changes in how they think and feel. Krav Maga is not about beautiful techniques; it is more about attitude. It is about having the gut feeling to react to a threat rather than doing nothing because of fear. The Krav Maga approach is not one stifled by tradition and bureaucracy; if something does not work we simply try a different approach. Amir Perets, a great Krav Maga exponent, stated in one of his seminars that if something does not work the way it should or someone shows a better way to do things; it may save his life on the street so it is a win-win situation. Many martial don’t want to not look good and do not like anything that challenges their techniques. However this flexible approach gives Krav Maga its cutting edge.

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