Today’s Thanksgiving in the U.S. where I live. It’s not just a time to stuff ourselves silly with good food and spend time with family and friends, it’s also a time to stop and think about all the things we have to be grateful for. For me, it obviously extends to many aspects of my life: my family, my job, house, health, etc. Since this is a Krav Maga blog, however, I want to focus a few minutes on Krav Maga and one thing in particular that I am thankful for.
I think I’m at a wonderful point in my Krav Maga training where the newness of it has all but worn off and I am now entering the long stretch between being a beginner student and moving into the early stages of being an advanced student. I think it’s at this point where many start flagging. It’s no longer new and novel and begins to show itself for what it is: a lifelong commitment and a long, tough road without end.
No longer are people at this stage able to entertain the fantasy that you can just show up briefly and — before you know it — BLACK BELT! No longer are people prancing around showing off their bruises, fractured toes, and black eyes and bragging to anyone who’ll listen about how they love the aggression and stress of the training, how they’re freaks of nature who enjoy the pummeling of training and the violence of it all — aren’t they really something?! If you search Twitter for the #kravmaga hashtag you’ll see many people in this stage of their training.
At some point you realize that no one but you cares. It’s at this point that you understand more about what it was that drives you to go to training and endure the classes. Did you really join for you or for the prestige and adoration you hoped to get from others? Are you really committed to continuing this 2 – 4 times a week for years to come with no one standing in the bleachers, no one nodding in admiration, no one bragging about you at parties or bringing up your amazingness and dedication? Do you need that external validation or is the real motivation inside of you?
So what about this is there to be thankful? At this stage I am thankful that I am still enthralled with the journey. I am challenged by our incredible instructors, curriculum, and my fellow students to drive hard and get better every class. I know I am not the best and have a pretty good shot at never becoming the best in the class. You know what? As corny as it sounds, that’s okay because I am certainly not the worst and I get better every class; that’s what matters. I strive to be self-aware, maintain my commitment, know what I am pretty good at and what I need to work on, and still show up wide-eyed and ready to go every class.
So, among so many other incredible things that Krav Maga is and has done for me, I am truly thankful that I have made it out of the ‘Honeymoon Phase’ and am more thrilled than ever that I can still look myself in the mirror and say that I am committed. I am in this for the long haul. I am thankful I was not in it for the admiration or so-called prestige. That’s a fantasy. I am in it for myself and no one else and I don’t care if no one outside our class ever knows that I am a Krav Maga student for life.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some eating to do.