Training & Muscle Memory

Posted: March 27, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles
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Muscle memory.jpgHow you train in the gym is how you will react in the street. The more you repeat a movement, the more your body will know how to do it. The more you practice, the faster you will react. There is a saying; a true master forgets all he knows. This is due to muscle memory. (It should be noted that it is actually your neurons, and nervous system getting trained how to fire and when, which intern activates the muscles) The more time you take to think on how to move or react, the more likely a situation can go from bad to worse.

Bruce Lee famously said,

I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times. [yes, this quote again]

By continuing to practice the basics over and over your body reaches a point that you will act without fear, instantly dealing with a situation to which you hope never happens but for which you have practised over and over.

Of course, there is some negative aspects to muscle memory. If you practice incorrectly for too long this also will become your muscle memory. Because of this, it is better to practice slowly but correctly than fast and incorrectly. As well, muscle memory may cause you to act in a way that can be inappropriate. The reason we always say to look first prior to attacking is so that you do not just react arbitrarily. You must always identify if something is a threat or not prior to acting. Failing to assess properly and relying solely on muscle memory could result in you injuring your friends or family as they attempt to simply hug you.

We also tell the famous story of the police officer who got himself killed due to muscle memory. He taught how to disarm guns and knives regularly. After every drill, however, they would pass the gun or knife to their partner without even thinking about it. This action was repeated over many years of training. One day an individual pulled a gun on the officer, he disarmed the individual and then without even thinking passed the gun back. The officer was shot and killed. (This story, or versions of the story have been repeated by different agencies all over the world. So it happens.)

Muscle memory is how we get good at the movements but we must always remain conscious of all our actions. Be alert, be observant and always take that split second to decide if an action is appropriate.

For Kravists, a big part of training muscle memory isn’t about just drilling the techniques but training the mind to function under stress. While it is important to first learn the technique and how it works, you must also train the environment that you expect to practice it in as well. Most self defense scenarios are stressful, you may be tired, you may be sore, you may be drunk but you will most likely not be expecting it, and will probably be stressed or have a rush of adrenaline. This is something we must also train into muscle memory.

If your Krav Gym looks more like a Karate class, with Katas all the time, no active sparring and very little stress testing you need to look elsewhere. Good Krav Maga is not just technique, but also strategy and mental training. As our motto says, we Turn Lambs into lions. So know, that to properly train your muscle memory we WILL push you to your limits and expect you to function. Because failing to be able to do so, may mean the difference between life and death.

So train hard, train properly, and train yourself to the point when you can act without thinking and still make the right choice.

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