Archive for the ‘Class’ Category

Questioning and Active Learning

Posted: February 23, 2017 in Attitude, Class

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
― Albert Einstein

As adults, we are often lulled into silence and complacency after achieving a certain level of competence in a subject. This can happen at the_wise_owl-t2school, at work, at home, and in the dojo. We get comfortable enough that we can settle into a groove and just coast along without questioning or pushing back on the walls. We listen, we mimic, we go home thinking we learned some cool new stuff. This is called passive learning. The more advanced we become and the more belts, bars, patches, or years we stack on, the more we should be questioning and seek to understand at a deeper level. We should internalize what the lesson is about and what the technique is doing, using this knowledge, alongside what we already know, to solve problems. This is active learning and must be every successful student’s mindset. (more…)

The Damaged Warrior

Posted: March 13, 2016 in Class, Injury

edit-21749-1390451296-9If you’ve been training for a span of more than a week, you know all too well that injuries are a part of life in training. They range from the minor (scratches, bruises, and bumps) to more serious (breaks, fractures, pulls, tears, and the like). Whenever I am injured, in or out of class, one of the top three questions that pops to mind — frequently the top question, actually — is “how will this affect my training?”. No, I am not obsessed, living for my training. I do have a life outside the dojo, a job, and a great family life. But for me, Krav Maga and exercise is a lifestyle that I am very passionate about. It’s only natural that this involuntary thought flashes in my mind. If I can’t train, I fall behind. I also lose conditioning, muscle mass, valuable time to work on my motor skills and techniques, and even social time with my compatriots. Having talked to others at the school, I know that this is a common thought in many students’ heads when they get injured too. (more…)

Giving Thanks 2015

Posted: November 26, 2015 in Attitude, Class
Tags: ,

Gratitude rockIt’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. (more…)

The Brain Cycle

Posted: October 3, 2015 in Class

brainI think the most fundamental question you can ask in Krav Maga is “When do I use it?” You’ve got the skills, you have sweated through training, so with a bit of luck you ought to be able to defend yourself in most self-defense situations. When confronted with one of an infinite variety of attacks, by countless types of attackers, in an infinite variety of settings and situations — when do you use Krav Maga?

I’ve read in many books and articles that you first should run. Don’t be a hero. If you have the opportunity, use it. Run faster than you’ve ever run before and don’t stop until you are a million miles from danger. The next choice if running is not an option should be to grab a weapon — a stick, chair, phone, can of Red Bull, whatever — and bash the attacker. It is only after all else fails that you should use your Krav Maga skills to defend yourself.

On the other hand, I have also heard more than once that, when faced with an attack, you don’t think, you immediately strike back. For instance, let’s say you’re in a bar and someone pushes you from behind or tries to get you into a full nelson. You wouldn’t hesitate — you’d go from zero to a hundred in an instant. Does striking immediately and without hesitation counter the other advice of running away?

Fight or flight? (more…)

Fuel Choices

Posted: December 29, 2014 in Class, Food
Tags: ,

The-WallIt doesn’t take many classes to realize that Krav Maga training is a very high-intensity activity. Without proper nutrition prior to class — and many times, boosts of energy during class –it is all too easy to “bonk”, or “hit the wall”. This is when your body is out of energy reserves (stored in the form of glycogen in your muscles and liver), resulting in dizziness, fatigue, and a host of other unpleasant symptoms.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I like hitting up one of my special oatmeal concoctions a few hours prior to training or sparring. There are a lot of other great choices to be had as well, the best of which have a good balance of complex sugars, protein, carbs, and fiber. This is pre-training nutrition and is pretty straight-forward as you don’t have to rush to eat it, aren’t jittery from adrenaline, and don’t have to fish it hastily out of your bag between drills, etc. — unlike your nutrition during your training. It will keep you going through a 1 to maybe 2 hour class, though you will likely begin “feeling the deficiency” into that second hour. (more…)

Black Belt Achieved!

Posted: December 7, 2014 in Class
Tags: , ,

Training Partners

belt2-blackWell, after 3 and a half years of hard training (including 6 intensive months of Boot Camp) I passed my third and final test yesterday for my first degree Black Belt!

And here we are on the right. Yes, that is a bit of blood near the collar of my shirt from sparring (mashed nose and no tissues in sight, you know…), those are bruised shins and I am completely soaked with sweat (along with some mud from outdoor drills and runs in the rain), and that’s one hell of a training partner standing next to me, Mr. Kurt Cederholm.

I was truly blessed with the best group of comrades and instructors who made this part of the journey so rewarding and fulfilling. It was a long trip with tons of surprises and challenges — and I wouldn’t change a damn minute of it.

All’s been quiet on the blog front as I’ve been focusing all of my attention on getting ready to do my very best on the test.  Now that it’s behind me I can rest, heal, and reflect.  Then it’ll be time to set my sights on the next big goal.

Stay tuned! Lots more to come.

A Vivid Imagination

Posted: November 14, 2014 in Attitude, Class, Technique

heroOne topic that gets little to no attention when talking about Krav Maga training is the role of imagination. I mean, as in imagining being attacked, being the Attacker, and so on. All of these roles involve having a good imagination and “playing along” or else the person being the Defender is not applying their training in a way that simulates reality.

Let’s take an example. Say you and your partner are working on a knife technique like an overhand (or ice pick) stab. Your Attacker drives down with the knife, you defend it by creating your 360 defense and bursting in with a counter-punch to their face. What you’re simulating here (but not fully executing) is a nice smash to the Attacker’s face, one that would “short circuit” their brain and result in them halting their downward thrust of the knife for a split second. In reality, this is what would happen. Don’t believe me? Let’s try an exercise to illustrate this point. Try picking something up off the floor and, when you just grasp it, have a partner kick you as hard as they can in the ass. Go ahead. I’ll wait… (more…)

My 3-Year Retrospective

Posted: August 8, 2014 in Attitude, Class, Technique


Long Way to Go, Gratitude, Thinking/Not Thinking, and Taking it Off

The past June I passed my three-year milestone. My training is now a toddler, almost out of diapers. Boy, time flies when you’re laying in groin kicks, doesn’t it? Three years of Krav Maga have gone by performing countless clinches, punches, kicks, breakfalls, knees, elbows, and 360 defenses. Not to mention my share of bruises, fractures, sprains, pulls, cuts, and sore muscles. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve hurt my toes this past year!

Except for 3 weeks out of the year (a week vacation for me and two 1-week shutdowns annually for the school), I’ve been training faithfully an average of 3 times a week. No injuries or illness kept me away — knock on wood. So, as of this month, that’s approximately 500 one-hour classes of training. Of course there were some seminars here and there and sometimes I’ve logged 4, maybe even 5 or 6, classes per week but  this is a pretty good ballpark estimate. I’m in it for the long haul. (more…)

Fear and Krav Maga

Posted: June 6, 2014 in Attitude, Class, Injury

Recently I was given the opportunity to post an article on the blog over at the Krav Maga Institute. In return, today’s post is courtesy of Josh Greenwood.


by Josh Greenwood

kniferAt some point in all of our lives we’ve experienced this dreaded feeling. It’s creeped up on us, surprised us, and even punched us right in the gut when we least expected it. Fear is something that is never going to go away. But why would we want to live without one of our bodies’ original self-preservation mechanisms!

As fighters and Kravists fear is a daily battle and something that we learn to harness every time we step onto that mat or venture out into the world around us.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we should be scared of everything around us! Fear, False Evidence Appearing Real. I’ve heard that from many people I’ve met in my life and from all different walks of life. We need to realize that fear is nothing more than a tool we can harness. It is then when we can truly progress to that next level past someone who just does something to someone who embodies that something. Here are five fears that most people have when training, fighting, and defending oneself.

Fear to freeze and not speak up

AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! It’s easy enough to type out but if I asked you to go out into a crowded intersection and scream at the top of your lungs a vast majority of people couldn’t do it! That could be the difference of going home or getting drug into a side alley and assaulted. Getting others attention to a violent situation is key to the first step of prevention. We have a fight or flight response, but what people don’t talk about as much is the response that can take over when we experience immense and sudden fear, freezing. Your body shuts down and you can’t move let alone call for help. The only way to experience this is through intense stress inoculation drills. In Krav Maga we train every scenario as if our life is on the line. This is the only way to learn to harness that fear and turn it into intense focus for survival.


Thinking Outside the Box

Posted: June 3, 2014 in Class

Today I was given the opportunity to post on the awesome blog over at Krav Maga Institute in New York City. They will have a post appearing here on Krav Maga Journey very soon. Keep your eyes open for it!

In the meantime, here’s my take on applying Krav Maga “Fight IQ” to the real world:

Krav Maga Institute NYC


Boxing the bear

As humans, it is so easy to do the least amount of work necessary to get the job done. We are optimizers. When faced with a task in everyday life we immediately — whether we know if or not — try to find a way to do it simply. We don’t like over-complicating tasks and we certainly don’t want to spend more energy, strength, or time needed to do something.

This is as true in the gym and training as it is in the “real world”. Take push-ups, for example. Proper form, to avoid injury and strain on the shoulders, is to have your elbows tucked in, rather than flared out to the side. Flared elbows make the push-ups much less difficult, effectively taking strain off the relatively weaker triceps and putting onto larger, stronger muscle groups such as the shoulders and chest. We’re able to bang out a higher number of reps in a shorter amount of time. More ‘oohs and ahhs‘ from the sidelines, if you will. The downside? Pain and injury and an overall “missing of the point” of doing the exercise in the first place. (more…)

Red/Black Achieved

Posted: January 17, 2014 in Class

red-black-beltAt the end of December, just before Christmas, I tested for my Advanced Red, also known as the Red/Black belt and passed. As with many people around that time of year, wrapping up things at work before taking some time off, holiday stuff, overspending on shopping, and spending time with my family took the majority of my time so it’s only just now that I’m caught up enough to bring this up.

This was a very momentous occasion for me. As you know, I’m a firm believer in belts as goals, and this was one that I was aiming at for quite a while. Nearly as much as the Black Belt, I imagined what it would be like to have a Red/Black tied around my waist back when I was brand new to Krav Maga. No, I didn’t obsess about it or any other belt but I aspired to it. It was a big goal of mine for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being because it is the last belt you can achieve in class. After this belt you’re off to Boot Camp to get sharpened up for the three grueling, crushing tests to achieve the rank of Black Belt. That belt at our school is awarded at a special Black Belt ceremony held outside the school at a larger venue in order to accommodate family and friends attending the event. So the Red/Black, in some ways, is a bittersweet event, the passing into a new phase of goals.

The moment was almost surreal as I look back and reflect on it now. In ways similar to graduating high school or college. You are sitting there thinking about how it somehow took forever and yet practically no time at all to get where you are at that very moment. It seemed like it would never arrive when you were training week after week but looking back it seems like you only just started. You’ve learned so much yet you feel like you’ve only begun. So it was with this introspection that I found myself sitting in a row at the front of the dojo with the rest of the graduates, anxiously awaiting my neatly folded, completely sweat-free (for the moment), colorful new belt. (more…)