It’s been a whirlwind year of training. Since getting my Black Belt last December I have been fortunate enough to experience our school splitting the Black Belts from the rest of the Advanced Class in January. This gave me exposure to more focused training. More intense conditioning and brutal, all-out classes, often in excess of 90 minutes, have been the norm since them and I’ve loved every minute of every class. We’ve been exposed to advanced gun and knife techniques, two-on-one techniques, more gnarly ground defense, Kali stick and knife fighting, and so much more. I am ecstatic about this change as it mixes things up. It also forces me to keep up my commitment and never allows me drop my guard and coast through training. In addition to this renewed focus on the Black Belts at my school, I am thankful for a lot of other things this year.
The theme for 2015 is the amazing students I have the good fortune to train alongside over the years, this past year in particular. Training with top notch, dedicated, talented students makes all the difference and should never be taken for granted. To be in class parterned with a student who’s supportive and in it for the long haul like you makes a good class great. I have been training with this group of students for over 4 and a half years and the deep mutual respect and camaraderie that has developed over that time is priceless. These are men and women with whom I have sweated, suffered, failed, and succeeded with more times than I can count. This journey would not be as meaningful — or maybe even possible — without this group and I am forever grateful for their support and friendship.
In 2015, I am immensely grateful to the instructors who make the school what it is. It’s one thing for an instructor to show up and simply teach a class. It’s a whole other thing altogether for an instructor to live and breathe their training, to walk to walk, and to be driven to make all their students succeed (as someone put it recently, “they don’t let anyone fail”). I am truly fortunate to be training under such watchful eyes of dedicated instructors who fall squarely in this latter category. I can be sure that when I show up to a class to train hard that I am in the most capable of hands and only my best will suffice. There is no going easy, no “going through the motions”, and no phoning it in. It’s all real and we are expected to leave it all on the mat. Without being held accountable by these instructors I wouldn’t be in the shape I’m in, with the skills that I now possess. Yes, true motivation comes from within but these talented instructors find a way to connect with that motivation and bring the best of it out of me.
Lastly, I am thankful (once again this year) for having my health and being close enough to one piece to have been able to train consistently. Sure, there are nagging injuries and sore spots that form and fade throughout the year but fortunately none significant enough that they couldn’t be worked around. This is no small feat when I consider some of this past year’s brutality so the fact that I am still able to walk out there and go 100% is not something I take lightly.
Having an attitude of gratitude. I encourage you to do the same this Thanksgiving. Not only give thanks for all the things you have in your life — family, friends, employment, health, etc. — but also give some thought to your training and how many great things you may have to be thankful for in that area. If you have good instructors, lesson plans, fellow students, dojos…whatever…be thankful for all of them. These are priceless components to your training success and ought to be recognized, if not year ’round, at least once a year. Make it a habit to reflect on these often and know that they make you the very fortunate, kick ass Krav Maga practitioner that you are.
To my fellow training partners, students, and instructors (you know who you are) — THANK YOU.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.