This past week was the school’s semi-annual Buddy Week where any student could bring in a friend, roommate, co-worker, spouse, or other unsuspecting family member to Krav Maga class for a couple of free training sessions.
It wasn’t a full bore training week, to be sure. Given the presence of many inexperienced people in our midst (and the fact that the school was supposed to be enticing them, not punishing them) we “shifted down” the intensity somewhat throughout the week and focused again on many rudiments that serve as the foundation to the more advanced teachings.
I saw this week’s influx of people as a very different brand of person than incoming White Belts in a lot of ways. White Belts have made the mental commitment to get into Krav Maga and the ballsy move of stepping into class. This is tough for everyone as everything is new and the unexpected is around every corner. The ‘Buddies’ who came in, on the other hand may have been dared to show up, shamed into coming, or were just ducking in for a class or two to see if this martial art from The Debt, Enough, and Channel 25 News was everything it was cracked up to be. They hadn’t, in nearly every case, made that same gigantic mental leap that a new White Belt makes. It wasn’t necessarily a joke to be in class but in some cases, it wasn’t too far from that. There was a fair amount of laughing, some clowning around, and flat-out talking during our drills’ instructions. None of these were remotely cool and anyone with any common sense should have been able to see that.
This week the instructors were in a bit of an odd situation. They couldn’t start barking at the noobs for a couple of reasons. This would have made the sponsor student who brought them in feel like a tool and it probably would have decreased the likelihood that the Buddy would sign up at the end of the week for a one-month trial — ultimately the real goal of the week when it gets right down to it. This left the instructors a bit more permissive than they ordinarily might have been in these situations.
Anyhow, back to the theme. What was the lesson? Well, as I watched the Buddies I could really equate them as People Right Off The Street. Again, as explained above, these weren’t really even White Belts — they were regular people, folks you might encounter in the real world and were the closest approximation to an Average Citizen we would see in school. As such it made it a very interesting exercise to “measure” myself against them. Not in an arrogant kind of “I’m better than you” sort of way but rather in a way that says that this is what I was a little like before thinking about starting up with my training. No, I’m not a superior human compared to the Buddies because of it. I see how these months have shaped me into a more disciplined person though. I don’t whine in class when we do 10 minutes of ab work. I don’t roll my eyes when we don’t get a break. I don’t chatter during class or giggle off to the side with other students. I pay attention, I show respect, and I work my ass off at all times.
I’ve developed a harder, can-do mindset since starting and I’m here to work. Sure I have a very long way to go, a lot of technique to learn, and many bad habits to break. But I can see, as a side-by-side comparison with the Buddies this past week, that I have made tremendous strides in my development and should take a moment to appreciate and reflect on all that this school has brought to my character and physical state since starting this past June.