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daveyoung2In any martial art, there is always the risk of getting injured. I think most martial art and self-defense students have experienced at least one mild injury during their training. This is the trade-off. Training that is meant to prevent violence requires violence, so it must be imbued with an inherent risk. Yet,being trained allows you to reduce risk in a real fight.

How can you avoid injury in training and avoid injury in a real situation?

As a musician, my hands and my brain are the two more important things that allow me to write, record, and perform. Thus, throwing punches and getting hit in the head may seem counterintuitive towards preserving these body parts. There is a balance between avoiding injury to maintain my ability to work, and taking the risk of injury to be able to defend myself and my family.

First of all, I am NOT a fan of being punched in the face or hit in the head in any manner.  Many studies show that repeated blows to the head, even those that don’t cause concussions, can cause long-term changes in the brain and have lasting neurological effects. That being said, it is very important from a Krav Maga perspective to experience high pressure real world situations and be able to react appropriately.

In a fight, you are going to get hit, so experiencing the real thing in a simulation-type environment is invaluable as a learning tool.  At UTKM, we spar in a very controlled manner, and this is great for safety.  Even so, accidents happen. Everyone is at a different point in learning to control their strikes (and their emotions) so the best way to avoid getting hit and protect your brain is to train hard and improve your technique.

The best way to avoid getting hit and protect your brain is to train hard and improve your technique.

When it comes to protecting my hands, the same idea applies: technique.  I work hard on improving my technique so that I retain thorough muscle memory of the proper movements and positions, whether I’m punching a bag, focus mitts, or sparring with one or many opponents. This reduces my chances of getting injured — remembering to keep my hands up, fist at 45°, elbow slightly bent, and so on. When I ingrain this into my muscle memory, I won’t need to remember to do it in a distressing situation, my body will know it and do it.

Better hurt in the gym, than killed on the street

Perhaps, I will never be required to fight for my life or to protect my family physically. Nevertheless, in the end, I would rather train hard and perhaps break my hands defending myself successfully, than be overly worried about hurting myself in training and ending up seriously injured in a real confrontation.

In a fight, you are going to get hit, so experiencing the real thing in a simulation-type environment is invaluable as a learning tool.

daveyoung2

Hi, I’m #Dangerous Dave! Photo from http://www.hevydevy.com/dtp/dave-young/

I am a musician and a Kravist

For as long as I can remember, I’ve related or equated the things I experience in my life to music.  The ups and down are dynamics.  The quiets, the louds, the transitions in between, and definitely the moments of silence all make up a grand piece of music that plays throughout life.

If this over-arching “music-of-life” concept is like an album, individual events  or ideas or philosophies are like singles. As I got into Krav Maga, I  began thinking of what kind of music it would be.  Many other martial arts have a specific genre that springs to mind, but Krav Maga seems a little harder to pin down.

 

As I got into Krav Maga, I  began thinking of what kind of music it would be.

When I was younger I studied Tae Kwon Do. Similar to many other traditional martial arts, like Kung Fu or Karate, Tae Kwon Do has a distinct classical music feel.  While they have a great dynamic range and power, they are filled with and steeped in tradition and can sometimes seem rigid or inflexible.  Tai Chi has a flow to it, but also a very relaxed feel that reminds me very much of ambient music.  Boxing is like hip hop with the swagger and the attitude.  It can have finesse, but also rawness and aggression. And of course, the world of MMA is rock and metal.  Being mixed, this sport contains a large amount of different techniques from karate, muay thai, BJJ, boxing, wrestling, and so on.  It is a very deep genre.  It draws on many influences and histories.  There is also a lot of aggression and posturing, and the gladiatorial beating of another person in front of a cheering crowd (like a mosh pit).  Of course, there is technical ability involved, but that can easily be overshadowed by egotism (or the “meat-head” attitude).

So then, what genre is Krav Maga?

It contains elements of all other martial arts: the technique, the history, and certainly the aggression.  It has a rich and traceable lineage.  It can be anywhere from smooth and subtle to harsh and aggressive.  I think Krav Maga is the jazz of martial arts.  Jazz involves a great deal of technique and knowledge.  It also involves the ability to improvise, which is a key point.  In jazz, every situation in different. In Krav Maga, every encounter with every person is different.  You need to have the ability to assess each unique situation and react, just like jazz.  Every time you play a piece, the individual parts may be familiar but the song a different version.  Knowing the technique, the moves, the history and the philosophy is very important.  As well, you have to know when to break the rules and improvise.  In Krav Maga, you must know how to fluidly move between attackers. In jazz, you must know how to transition between chord changes.

Krav Maga is the jazz of martial arts.

Finally, in both Krav Maga and jazz music, regardless of whether you execute perfectly or make a mistake, you have to keep moving forward and turn difficult situations to your advantage.

daveyoung1

Dave Young (far left) is a member of the Devin Townsend Project. Photo from https://www.facebook.com/dvntownsend