If you do your best people will expect you to perform that well ALL the time! (source)

sand·bag, transitive verb
3. deliberately underperform in a race or competition to gain an unfair advantage.

If you are reading this because you’re trying to see if UTKM is the right school for you, read on. If you know me from classes, well…

Today was my 100th class at UTKM, and I have a confession.

My whole life I’ve relied on my wits to get my way. I’m a bit of a talker, but I don’t mean to come off strongly. I just find that there’s always a lot rattling on upstairs and that if I apply myself well, I can help find faster, easier ways to get things done — be a bit of a rising tide that can help lift all boats if you will. Presumptuous of me, possibly, but, c’est moi.

The shadow side of this trait is that I try to use my brain to weasel out of things I don’t want to do. I’ve become a bit of a master at it. Maturity has tempered it somewhat, but it’s still there, lurking, waiting to make excuses that sound clever and completely reasonable.

The first time I heard of the term “sandbagging” it was during one of our Warrior classes at UTKM. The action of Warrior class is designed to tire you out, so that you can practice techniques in a physically stressed state. One might call it, “training under duress“.

I can’t remember exactly what we were doing, but I heard, “Danny, move it! Quit sandbagging.”

Now, I’m not the most physically capable guy. If you’re thinking Krav Maga is for the MMA, ‘roided out, aggro set, no sir. I’m short. 5′ 4.5″, maybe 5’ 5″ on a good day. My legs don’t have reach, and I have bad eyesight. I have no ACL in one of my knees, resulting in a asymmetrically weak posterior chain (i.e. I have a weak glute on one side). I have sporadic bouts of exercise-induced asthma — See! I have a doctor’s note and a prescription! — and I’m pretty sure my hair is thinning out. What else, oh, yes, I have an old whiplash injury, I’m sensitive to smells and I sweat a lot. A lot!

Excuses? I have plenty!

I didn’t know what sandbagging was, but I knew I didn’t like the intensity of Warrior class. What do you want from me? I’m old! Yes, there were guys like Ted and Corey who have been on Spaceship Earth for as long as I have, or more, and sure, this guy got his GREEN belt when he was 54… but… asthma! Right? And no ACL!

Such was my attitude towards Warrior class for the last several weeks. Run a little slower. Take a half second longer to get up. I wasn’t outright complaining, but that desire and intensity just wasn’t there. I was as sandbagger.

After all, why shouldn’t I be? I sweat a lot! A lot!

Then, a couple weeks ago, I read elsewhere on this site the idea that, “training for Krav Maga begins when you are exhausted”. The phrase stuck with me and I began to realize that I could have utilized the last few months of training so much better. I didn’t want to go to Warrior class because I was tired. I didn’t want to put my 100% because I didn’t want to get injured.

But today, something deep down inside clicked. When I’m tired is exactly when I should be going to Warrior class. That’s the whole point. Anyone can learn techniques nice and slow, step-by-step, have a few laughs and enjoy the community of students.

Side note: The community at UTKM is really great. Great people from all walks of life. You’d think it would be intimidating but nothing is further from the truth.

There’s nothing wrong with learning techniques because they are cool, but really we’re at UTKM because there are a certain type skills we want to learn, skills that can hopefully one day save us from a really bad situation. The only way to do that well is to practice in a worn out state, trying to simulate the exhaustion and mental conditions of a real world altercation.

I realized that by journeying in Krav Maga, I’d have to leave behind excuses and wit. Mindset shift. Managing the risk of injury is indeed a legitimate concern, and there’s a place for clever talk and weaseling out of situations. But there’s also a time when push may literally come to shove, and that’s what we’re here to train for.

Warrior classes are open to students that have completed their first, discounted introductory month of training and have received instructor approval to do so. Designed to push you physically, they are run by certified instructors in a demanding but supportive environment.

Written by Danny Y. – UTKM Yellow Belt

For training online visit www.utkmu.com. If you are in the Metro Vancouver area, come learn with us in person, sign up at www.urbantacticskm.com or check out our merch at www.utkmshop.com