Returning to White belt classes increases the experience base of the students, allows you to polish fundamentals, and offers a variety of attackers.
Sticking with Defence Classes by Karis M. Audio by Jonathan Fader

Recently I was talking to a few other students about which classes they prioritized attending. Due to reasons of being an adult, I can’t just come to all the Krav classes anymore; it’s tragic really. I can really only come to the White belt classes which, at my level, are not the ones I need to be going to. It’s still training, which is better than nothing, but if I ever want to advance to the next belt, I need to be focused first on the Green belt classes, then the colour belt classes after that. Usually new colour belts will prioritize the colour belt ones, which is fair, as the stuff you learn is more interesting and, let’s be real, you can only go to so many Defence (White belt) classes during 360 week (unless you want your arms to be five different colours from the bruises). However, I think you should still attend the White belt classes as often as you can, regardless of rank. 

Bear with me here, some of this you will have definitely heard before, especially if you show up regularly. To be honest, I’m not sure if there has already been a post saying what I’m saying. I might have even written about this before. Who knows? 

We’ve seen the quote on the blog and heard it in class, something to the effect of “A Black belt means you are really starting to learn now.” You may pass your Yellow or Orange belt test, but you will not have mastered all of the White belt curriculum. I still mess up “easy” knife redirects or parries at times. More practice! Yay! Show up and get good. Point made, I’m moving on.

Then, obviously, in the White belt class, there are White belt students. Often very new ones that you get to train with, which is great for two reasons: They move and act in unexpected ways, and they force you slow down and think how and why a technique works.

I’m not going to deny it, there are days that I show up tired, not wanting to talk to anyone, and I partner up with another Orange/Green belt because we can just jump into practice. While I’m not always in the right mindset to slow down, explain everything in steps, and make corrections, it makes me actually stop and think about the technique instead of just mindlessly going through the motions. Explaining why we hit at a 90 degree angle will also make me double check that I am actually hitting at the correct angle, as well as further ingrain the information into my head so when I need to explain on my belt test why it’s a 90 degree angle, I can. 

One of the other reasons I prefer going with an advanced student is that they know the defence, but they also know how to attack. Recently, I was practicing a virtical sweep knife defence with a very new student, who wasn’t attacking in the way I was expecting. This was causing me to fumble and mess up. At the time, I was correcting her on how she was attacking because I was worried about how I was looking as a colour belt. Soon, I realized that it was my problem to solve, rather than correcting the attacker I should be prepared to adapt faster and “expect the unexpected.” After enough training, people will mostly attack the same in the White belt classes. With the parry defence, you have to remind students not to attack in a pattern and mix things up, otherwise they will become a metronome throwing punches. This isn’t what will happen in reality, people will randomly throw punches and change to something else if punching doesn’t work. So with the same mindset, if someone is trying to cut my guts out, I’m not going to yell at them while they are trying to stab me that “they aren’t attacking right,” I’m going to defend to the best of my ability. When you are partnered with new students, it’s an opportunity to test your ability to adapt and get attacked in a new way. 

In that discussion I mentioned an Orange belt student who made an excellent point that I hadn’t thought of before. He noted that as a colour belt, it’s important to continue to go to the White belt classes to support the school. You guys will know it’s generally easier to learn a new technique from someone who knows what they are doing already. If you ask the UTKM instructors, they will tell you it is much easier to teach a mix of old and new students as opposed to teaching all new students something brand new. If your partner is able to walk you through the technique, the instructor can come by and make a few comments and leave to help someone else. It also looks good for the school when someone new comes and sees that there are students who have stuck around long enough to know something. More students means Jon gets to do more fun stuff which means we get more fun training 😃

This was long and I’m sure it has been said before, but Jon keeps asking for blog posts, soooo. Make an effort to show up if you can, but if you, like me, have actual responsibilities and other things you need to do, that’s cool too. See you when we see you ✌️ 

Written by: Karis M. – UTKM Green Belt

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