Archive for December, 2011

Orange Belt Achieved

Posted: December 6, 2011 in Belt Test

After another three intense months of steady training 2 – 4 times a week I have made it up to the next rung of the ladder, the Orange Belt. It’s been a rough period with lots of bruises, bumps, and sweat but being granted the belt as I sit at the end of the workout, bathed in sweat, huffing and steaming, fogging up the mirrors, and feeling more than a bit dizzy from exertion is a proud moment.

I am not about arrogance, swagger, or elitism in any area of my life — and certainly not in the dojo — but there is a strong sense of pride and accomplishment as I go to class. The Orange is most certainly near the bottom (it has only been 6 months, after all) but it is the highest belt in the Basic training. I will  enjoy the view from the top of the mountain while I can because, come March, I will be a Purple Belt in the Advanced class and at the bottom of the ladder all over again.

Time for me to re-read my earlier post to maintain perspective.

Know When to Fold ‘Em

Posted: December 6, 2011 in Attitude, Older

The following is a comment I read in the Krav Maga section of Reddit recently. It was posted by one m1foley.

After 5 years, I’ve been through the stages of a Krav practitioner:

  1. Beginner: “Why are these people wearing groin protectors? Oh. Oh my god…”
  2. False sense of mastery: “I hope someone tries to mug me in the street!”
  3. Wisdom: “I’m no idiot. I know some stuff, but will never use it unless my life is in danger. If Stephen Hawking threatens me, I’ll throw him my wallet and run away.”

All too often people get caught up in the aggressiveness of Krav Maga and lose sight of the big picture outlined above. I think it’s understandable and I am guilty of it as much as the next guy. We are pushing ourselves in class in an environment designed for intensity. We are barked at to “GO! GO! GO!” and trained to go full bore. We are always pushing forward, never retreating. We are driving through drills, smashing through our walls. This is pure, adrenaline-fueled intensity.

What I am trying to keep in mind, and I think I have arrived at stage three above, is to keep Krav Maga in context. Out in the real world it is possible that these techniques might be needed, especially if your safety or that of a loved one is threatened. In cases of more minor confrontations, which I would hope would be the vast majority, we should remember that disengaging and retreating are the way to go. In many classes this option isn’t — in my opinion — given much credence. It all comes down to destroying anyone who messes with you, becoming the “second attacker” as it were. This is all well and good I think but there should be some mental judgement going on at the same time. Yes, I need to disable my attacker but above all, I need to get my ass outta here safely ASAP.

There’s a book by Rory Miller called “Facing Violence” that talks about the consequences of street fighting. We can imagine punching, kneeing, and kicking someone into a pulp with our skills and aggressiveness and, if faced in real life, can probably pull it off but there’s a line that can be crossed where self-defense becomes assault. There’s an art of “not-fighting” to be learned that deals with deescalating the situation and avoiding the brawl.