Archive for the ‘Belt Test’ Category

Goal_SettingJanuary 1 does not possess any mystical powers and is no more special than any other day of the year but it’s as good as any to reflect on how far we’ve come, and more importantly, where we’re going.

So here we are in 2016. I’m committing to paper lots of new and updated personal training goals — both in and out of the dojo — and want to push the limits in 2016.  (more…)

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As o4f June 1st, I have been training in Krav Maga for 4 years. In some ways it seems like it’s been an eternity, in other ways it seems like I only just started. Some techniques that seemed impossible as a White Belt are second nature and require no conscious thought to perform today. Same goes with many of our exercises. I remember so vividly when I was starting out how hard it was to simply hold a plank. It was common at the end of class for us to be instructed to hold a plank a full minute and there I’d be, trembling and shuddering under the strain to keep it together. I never did end up getting to a full minute in those first several months but, over time, that and so many other things I once thought impossible have opened up to me. (more…)

belt2-redWell, this is a bit overdue.  I celebrated by 2 years of training a month ago on June 1 and earned my Red Belt last week. Life tends to throw things at you that outweigh the blog. Better late than never is what I say!

So here I am. Another step closer towards the Black Belt and (I’d like to think) wiser by a year. Lots has happened this year, of course. I’ve learned some nice techniques including many knife and gun defenses, takedowns, lots of sparring, bear hugs, chokes, and ground defense. Lots of bruises, bumps, fractures, and other minor injuries but thankfully nothing debilitating. Here’s hoping that trend continues into Year Three. (more…)

Green Belt Achieved!

Posted: October 2, 2012 in Belt Test, Belts

Whew. After another arduous three months and lots of bumps and bruises I passed through to the other side and am now a Green Belt.

This cycle has been filled with lots of bear hug variations and neat takedowns. We were introduced to the Escrima/Kali sticks to focus on our striking technique and sharpen our perception of the opponent commencing an attack. We jacked up our aggression drills to levels I didn’t think I’d be able to participate a year ago.

Sparring. Lots of sparring. We’ve got some new techniques and built up some more endurance in this area, which is nice, and I never tire of learning more.

More reflections on the way over the coming weeks.

Blue Belt Achieved!

Posted: June 25, 2012 in Belt Test, Belts

20120625-222052.jpgWhew! Made it. After a tough three months I am one step closer to my ultimate goal.

Some reflections are to come. First, I gotta get some ice.

Hey, look at that. A whole year of training behind me. In some ways it seems like it has been an eternity, in other ways it seems like only a few months have gone by.

I’ve been doing some reflecting over the past several weeks in anticipation of this post. There are so many things I’ve learned over the last 12 months but I wanted to take a shot at writing down the most crucial lessons. Each one of these could be a post unto itself and might end up as one. I just want to at least capture these to provide a recap of the major takeaways.

Bravado at an older age vs. younger age
I recall 25 some-odd years ago when I took martial arts as a teen. After just a few weeks I felt invincible. I walked with such swagger and my confidence at school absolutely went through the roof. I was indestructible. Part of the explanation there lies in the teen mind. Let’s face it, it doesn’t really take too much to bloat a teen boy’s head into thinking he’s Superman.

As I’ve grown older, and I’d like to think wiser, I’ve come to realize that we are all vulnerable. MMA fighters, black belts, weight lifters, macho men, everyone. Everyone is susceptible to smack down given the right conditions, a bad decision, an off day… Take a look at every major fighter. They all go down — no one is perfect.

This extends to the street too. Even if you are heavily trained in the fighting arts and self-defense you are just human. This has stayed with me as an adult, not as a frightened adult but a realistic adult, and applies to my perspective on my training. Yes, of course I’ve increased my self-confidence but it’s always tempered with a pragmatic view of how violence can occur at any time and isn’t always necessarily in your favor.

Injuries can happen at any time, usually when you least expect it
You can make all the necessary precautions, wear all the right equipment, have the perfect attitude and awareness for your safety and still get whacked in the head. I’ve gotten my fair share of injuries this past year — fortunately all minor — and I’d say that pretty much every one of them was completely unexpected. They came from wild partners, slipped gear, a poor grasp of my technique, misjudged distance, slippery mats, you name it.

I still keep my awareness at full strength but realize that this isn’t ballet and try as you might you WILL get hurt. Vigilance keeps it to a minimum and hopefully keeps the extend down as well. (more…)

Purple Belt Achieved

Posted: March 31, 2012 in Belt Test

After another four intense months of steady training 2 – 3 times a week I have made it up to the next rung of the ladder to the coveted Purple Belt.  Coveted to me, at least.  At my school this is the second most meaningful graduation, following the one to Black Belt, of course.  The reason for this is because moving from Orange to Purple also means moving from Basic to Advanced class.  This is Big Deal.

As usual it’s been a rough period with lots of bruises, sprains, and leaning lots of nice new moves but as always the ceremony of being granted the belt reminds me how it feels to accomplish something really difficult.

As was my plan since getting my Orange Belt, I enjoyed the view from the top of the mountain.  Now I’m back at the bottom of the ladder all over again, continuing upwards one belt at a time.

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.

Belts as Goals

Posted: August 16, 2011 in Attitude, Belt Test, Belts, Older

At our recent belt ceremony we heard more about what belts mean at our school. The topic of belts is a very touchy one for some and a very engrossing one for others, oftentimes depending on where a person is on the ‘belt continuum’.  Observation has led me to believe that more advanced students claim to think less about belts than newer students. Anyhow, what made this talk interesting was that it gave us another way to think of the belt. Many of us who train in martial arts see the belt as a reward and there’s no doubt that it is indeed that.  But it is actually something more.

The reason that our school grants so many belts when compared to many other Krav Maga schools is that belts are seen as goals.  Our school Master told us that when he first obtained his Black Belt he asked, “What next?”. He had been conditioned over the years to never be satisfied that “that was it”.  He has been training in martial arts since the age of 11 and this is one of the most important lessons he has gained from it: to set goals and always look for the next step — how to improve and get to the next level of greatness.  It’s his and the school’s philosophy that belts provide those incremental steps to get to your ultimate end goal, the Black Belt and beyond.

One analogy he gave us is the old adage of:

“What’s the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time”.

This is, in his opinion, the way to achieve the long-term goal of Black Belt. And what better way to do it in martial arts than defining belts that are not strung out by many months. One could argue that belts separated by a longer time interval serve the same purpose, I suppose. What is truly the difference between a belt being granted every 3 months vs. every 12 months, right? I think, as a matter of personal preference, that the difference is there and appreciate the smaller increments.  Again, to paraphrase, the school Master said if he were to set out to lose 20 pounds in 2 months he wouldn’t make that his only goal. It’s too big and tough to measure progress against and could be frustrating and overwhelming. Instead he would first figure that he’d need to lose 10 pounds a month, which means 2.5 pounds a week.  This is how the Black Belt journey is subdivided.  Assuming the average student requires 4 to 6.5 years of training to achieve that level of mastery and proficiency, the journey is divided by rough intervals by belts (and some of the belts further divided by stripes).

In the end, the belt to us now looks a little different. Yes, it’s a measure of our experience and time spent training.  But now, thanks to that talk, we can now recognize it for something even greater — a tangible goal that we can aspire to attain through hard work and dedication every day we spend in class.

Yellow Belt Test Passed

Posted: July 30, 2011 in Belt Test, Belts

Great news for me this week.  After many weeks of pounding away and sweating rivers it all paid off.  Most of my class, myself included, passed our first belt test.  Surprisingly I found out that a few students actually “flunked”.  Well, maybe that’s a harsh word, maybe they just hadn’t been at it long enough but word on the street has it that they didn’t get their Yellow Belt following the test.  Bad for them but in a way it makes me feel better that the belt I earned was not just a gimme because I had showed up and did my time.

I am actually going to be vacationing next week which will be nice.  Upon returning I am going to experience my first Graduation Ceremony immediately following my normal class. Apparently the class is a mix of higher and lower belts for socialization purposes so that ought to be nice as I haven’t met anyone in the higher belts yet.

Now, I’m not fixated on the belt by any stretch but anyone who says it doesn’t matter or they don’t care when their next belt is coming is either a Black Belt or a liar. So, yeah, it’s not a small, insignificant deal to me.  It’s a visual reminder that I have put in some hard time and that the lessons are getting through my thick skull.  If all goes according to plan and schedule I am up for my Orange Belt in three months.  Beyond that I will be Purple and moving up to the Advanced class which goes up through Black Belt.  No need getting excited about that yet as the promotion to Advanced won’t be happening for me any earlier than February of next year.

Onward and upward!

As with all new White Belts, I wonder what my first belt test is going to be like.  There are some decent videos on YouTube but since Krav Maga belt systems vary a bit from school to school, the tests shown in the videos vary a bit from one to the next as well.

Below is one that I watch from time to time to see what techniques I’ve learned and some I haven’t yet.  Apparently the test for his group took 4 hours to complete.  I am assuming that’s everyone in the whole class taking turns getting tested with various aspects since the Black Belt test is supposed to take 8 hours.