Anyone Can Get Beat Up

Posted: October 28, 2012 in Attitude, Technique

Everyone has a plan until they’ve been hit.
~ Joe Lewis

I don’t know how long you have trained, how big/strong you are, how vicious a fighter you are but I can tell you this: you can get beat up. You are not invincible. Your martial art is not perfect nor have you perfected it. It has likely prepared you for defending yourself better than the average person, especially if it’s a RBSD style like Krav Maga, but you are not invulnerable. That’s right. I said it. I don’t know you but I can tell you with complete certainty that you can be beat. You can be hurt. You can lose a fight.

That are some strong words to start a post but I keep these things in mind as I train and in between sessions. Certainly not to the point of it drumming me down into fear and helplessness but as a way to keep me grounded. I think the confidence that comes from martial arts and the knowledge that you can defend yourself is a priceless thing. To be able to “walk in peace” is truly a great thing and I consider myself lucky to be able to train in Krav Maga at such a great school with such great instructors and students — as well as being in a physical condition that allows me such intense training. Not everyone has this available to them and I am grateful. However, I do try to keep it real and remember that anyone, myself included, can get beat up.

A user named endo posted this response to a question about getting beat up as a martial artist on Yahoo! Answers:

Ive (sic) trained for several years but haven’t been in a streetfight since before I started training. (I’d have to say everyone involved lost those including me). I have seen several martial artists get beaten up badly in street fights though. One was a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, one brown belt in Hapkido, and one was a very good high school wrestler (I consider that to be as much a martial art as anything) and college football player. I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think they were beat up by people that had trained in anything. Like most street fights there really wasn’t much technique involved just a few seconds of pure nastiness. The Tae Kwon Do was a very good sparrer, but got jumped while walking next to an alley. The Hapkido guy took a cheap shot and feel down. He then was stomped by two guys while on the ground. The wrestler got hit in the head with a beer bottle, got knocked out and had his ear most of the way ripped off.

How does it happen? Aren’t we supposed to be invincible when we know Krav Maga or other fighting arts? Well, in my mind, no matter how talented, experienced, or bad ass a person is they can still be ambushed, sucker punched, ganged up on by multiple attackers, shot, stabbed, smashed with a chair from behind, or pushed down a flight a stairs. They can also make the wrong move like misjudging a punch or kick, dodging the wrong way, or even slipping on a wet floor. In any of these cases the odds are not in your favor and you could easily go down for the count — or worse.

There are other factors, of course. Some martial artists get puffed up with a sense of super human fighting ability that gets them into more trouble than they can handle. They overestimate their abilities and get in over their heads. Others think technique is enough to overcome any assailant. In these cases their calm dojo tranquility, standing Zen-like in their crane stance or whatever, gets decimated by an attacker who is rabidly aggressive and comes on like a tsunami, like the unfortunate people in the stories above.

Krav Maga, more than other style I think, prepares you mentally as well as physically for confrontations. It doesn’t spend time on philosophy, history, katas, ceremonies, or tournaments like most traditional forms do. Not that there’s anything wrong with these. They have their place and I respect them very much. But Krav Maga is simply not about these. The bottom line is decimating your opponent by any means possible when running away isn’t an option. It’s all about performing techniques on your adversary that would get you penalty points in other styles. And the training is as much mental (i.e., simulating the stress of real-life fights) as it is physical.

My point though is that even with this training and mentality it’s still quite possible to lose a fight. This training does a lot to prepare you but will never make you unbeatable. It is important to always remember this, to never take your safety for granted, and to use every opportunity available to you to avoid danger or escape danger if you fail that. At all costs. Only when that isn’t an option do you fight and fight HARD, forgetting for the moment that you could lose the scuffle and going in with everything you’ve got.

So remember this lesson, keeping it in mind as I do. Not to instill fear or hesitation but to keep you grounded in reality and guide your behavior in the real world to keep you safe!

  1. DL says:

    I just came across this post. Great little write up!

  2. I agree with your article wholeheartedly!! there will ALWAYS be someone faster, larger, more desperate, more afraid than you. ALWAYS. this is why a lot of my training is focused ‘above the neck’. I train in krav, however I have two breaks in my spine (one lower, the other upper)from past accidents. with this in mind I try focus on awareness, meditation, instincts, willingness to survive, how to keep sparring attacks away from my physical vulnerabilities AND how to breathe through excruciating pain when I can’t.

  3. I like this. That’s real talk.

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