Archive for the ‘Krav Maga Philosophy’ Category

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So you want to train? No, You LOVE to train? At least that’s what your profile says. But if I asked your instructor if that is the truth they might paint a different picture. I can certainly attest that sentiment to many of my students past and current.

If you go to any Martial arts school, Krav Maga or otherwise, you will always find a core group of students who are there 2,3,4 days a week almost every week without fail. They are there because aside from the fact they love the training, they have chosen to make it a priority in their life.

It’s not because they don’t have work, school, family or kids because quite often these individuals have one or more of these things in their lives. It is because they have made a conscious effort to build a life in which they can without guilt, distraction or excuse show up to train regularly and happily.

For so many others though, those same factors, work, school, family or kids have become an excuse as a reason not to train. They can and are of course legitimate reasons not to do something else such as training with your favourite neighbourhood Krav Maga Instructor. However, I want to make a request of you. Stop making them excuses and make them the reality of your life. The reality is that you prioritize those things over training.

It’s not that you can’t make the time for training in your obviously busy schedule its that you simply are not prioritizing it. And you know what, that is totally fine if that’s how you would like to structure your life.

But if training is really something you want to do then make it a priority and stop giving your instructor, your peers, or your family excuses as to why you won’t hit the gym if its clearly something you like to do (or something that is clearly beneficial for you).

Can’t train, or won’t train? Ask your self this question seriously.

In our modern world, both are fine if they can attain happiness and satisfaction in your life. But try instead telling those around you, you know what, it just isn’t a priority in my life.

Trust me, this will garner you a lot more respect from your instructors and peers. Try to use this phrase instead of saying, I want to train but…

The reasons don’t actually matter, its just not a priority and that’s ok. Unless of course you actually want it to be a priority it which case what are you waiting for?

Work schedule in the way? change shifts or job.

Family life in the way? see if you can bring your kids with you, find a babysitter, make an arrangement with your significant other to watch the kids another time so they can do the thing they really want to do.

School and finals? Maybe take one less course next semester because you realize that actually, physical training is a priority for you because taking a break from sitting with your head in some textbook is actually good for your health mentally and physically.

If you answer but I can’t, that’s ok, then training Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Karate or just lifting some weights really isn’t a priority for you. Just be honest!

so, Instead of saying “I Don’t have time”, try saying “its not a priority” and see how it changes your life for the good.

 

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To Act or Not to Act.jpgHesitation can often lead to embarrassment or post scenario guilt or worse. It could lead to much more serious consequences such as permanent disability or death.

For some it can lead to thoughts of why didn’t I make my move, I really liked them. To Act. Or the opposite, why didn’t I do anything to stop them, what they did was not consensual. Not to Act.

In both above examples, there is only regret and/or shame. But when it comes to failure to act in a violent confrontation it can lead to catastrophic consequences.

To Act (Action), or not to act (Inaction) are the dichotomies of Action vs Reaction and Avoidance as well as self-defense in general. In the face of Violence, an action is faster than reaction. One can Act first, to avoid a reactive action. Or you can Choose inaction as an attempt to avoid the scenario altogether. It can be a tough decision, but for Krav Maga, action is usually preferred over inaction even if that means running.

Krav Maga is known for its aggression in the face of violence but aggression is only a tool and means nothing if a person fails to “turn it on”. If in that moment of need, that second you had to strike first or to block or to simply resist you choose inaction then it could lead to your own demise both literally or figuratively (psychological trauma).

Often when teaching students even under light stress they often hesitate to act. Or as is quite common they “screw up” the technique and stop. I will tell them or yell at them “keep going, don’t stop” because that moment of hesitation is all it takes for the attacker to re-coup and re-engage offensively.

When training people, we need to train their aggression to be appropriate and well timed so that when the moment comes no matter what happens even if an error occurs they can fight through and survive. However, if they hesitate and instead of channeling that aggression through retzev, techniques and other strategies and principles their training and aggression is for naught.

This is why situational and high-stress training is very important in Krav Maga or any good self defense training so that we can train the brain and nervous system to recognize situations or scenarios and act or react quickly without hesitation.

To act without hesitation often means to act with confidence. Without confidence in one’s skill then it can be harder to act.

One of the easiest ways to build confidence in your skill, speed or timing is to practice more and practice often. With practice also comes the knowledge of what you are capable of and will help you better recognize when you should avoid scenarios all together so that action or hesitation is not even a factor.

To act or not to act that is the questions, but hesitate to act in the moment of decision and it might not matter at all, philosophically or otherwise.

Be Decisive.jpg

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, believe or wish life just doesn’t go according to plan and the path to where we want to be is full of discomfort and possibly pain and hurt and yet if we wish to achieve or goal we have to take that path.

Sometimes the answer is just to embrace the suck!

A few weeks ago I went on a hike with someone. Now we had planned to do this hike weeks before. It was a long weekend of which sat and Sunday I was doing 18 hour days both teaching and at an event. This left the Monday. We woke up later than we wanted to because well I was a little burnt out. Then we found out there was a leak in a property that we had to check out. This delayed us heavily.

Normally when you do these kinds of hikes in BC you want to get there no later than 10am. Unfortunately, we didn’t even leave until noon or 1ish. Start the 1.5 hour-ish drive to the hike start.

Of course, the place we went to Garibaldi Park in BC is a very popular destination so our first struggle was to find a spot. Eventually, we found one, a good walk away from the trailhead.

My plan had been to test out the new and mildly expensive backpack that I plan to use when I start hunting. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that, Oh shit…where are my hiking boots….

You see its summer and I like flip-flops. Normally my boots are always in the truck, along with running shoes. But due to the event, the day before I had taken everything out and I guess…shit happens.

I dont know about you but I am not doing a 20km hike in flip flops because I feel like that’s asking to break an ankle.

Now the person I was with was not thrilled. The suggestion was to drive back to the nearest town, Squamish or Whistler and get shoes. However, if we did this by the time we started the hike we would not have time to come down before sundown which was not an option.

Again, they were not thrilled….

To avoid catasrtophy I made the snap decision. Ok not to worry, I won’t take my backpack, Ill just take my light jacket with water pouch and do it barefoot.

“Wait what? No, you cant do that. I won’t let you.” is what I was told or something like that. At first, they were reluctant.

“Not to worry I said, I’ve done barefoot hikes before.” I am fairly sure I claimed confidently. Though the truth is the last time I did it, it was on a soft moss covered path that was well actually not very long at all, maybe only 15 minutes. They, of course, didn’t know this at the time and after I told them,

“If you dont come I guess I’m doing a barefoot hike by myself.” they reluctantly decided ok we can do this.

Mild stretching of the truth aside I made this decision to make someone else happy. I knew it was going to suck, and it kinda did. But I also knew that it would be worth it in the end, which it was.

It for sure took us longer than we wanted to and several fairly in shape elderly individuals with hiking polls passed us on many occasions but we made it. 3 hours up, and surprisingly 3 hours down.

Down is always harder and was actually worse on the feet than up. Not to mention my bad knees.

Anyways, I Often try to teach my students that what you think is difficult may actually not be as hard as you think. The truth is you dont know until you try. The other thing is even if you were right, at least you know your baseline so you can grow.

Also, people have a hard time breaking social norms. Doing a hike barefoot is not normal and may seem crazy but really wasn’t that bad. Though the number of comments made by people passing us was quite high. Because I mean who else would willingly do this barefoot?

But the moral is, that sometimes you have to make hard choices or take harder paths because it is the right thing to do. Too often nowadays, we always want to take the easy path but this is not always the right thing to do.

Just like in Krav Maga. Sure you can take that Krav seminar once in a while and say you know Krav Maga, but really that’s just bullshit. If you want to learn it properly you must, like anything, come often and train with the serious intent of getting better.

Of course it will be uncomfortable and of course, you will be challenged, but if you can never overcome what is uncomfortable or hard you will never truly earn anything worth earning.

So, learn to embrace the suck and be a better person for it.

With out a tough journey the reward will not be quite as sweet.

What Success Looks Like

Posted: May 1, 2018 by Jonathan Fader in Krav Maga Philosophy
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What is Success?

The Merriam-Webster defines it as “the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame,”

or see here a Business Insider article asking several wealthy individuals their definition of success is. You might notice that many if not most of them do not count the wealth and fame as why they consider themselves successful. Yet we would all look at them as successful because they have wealth and fame.

Or you might look at them and say they aren’t successful because they don’t have my family or the friends I have so they are really successful. If that’s how you think, perhaps theirs an air of resentment in your tone because of course, they are successful. Others might think that success is about happiness, for what is success without being happy. Well, this is also certainly true, but someone who is miserable but has changed the world with their success due to their wealth and fame is still successful. In fact, they may be the most successful of all (Keep an eye on Elon Musk, his self-isolation and sadness may single-handedly change the world for the good.)

So what is success? well, a far more accurate realistic definition may simply be achieving the goals you set out for yourself. These could be daily goals or life milestones. When you ask many self-help gurus or those seen as strong leaders they often talk about goal setting.

They are most definitely correct, because who hasn’t been ecstatically happy or relieved because they have achieved their goals. These goals don’t need to be big grandiose goals like being the next bill gates because goals like that are completely unrealistic for 99% of you no matter how hard you believe. Your goals and reaching them which will define your personal success must be realistic to your ability, skillsets and drive among other things otherwise they will simply be delusional unattainable goals.

Another thing we tend to do with defining success is focusing on the end goal, with smiling photos and happy times without remembering how hard it was sometimes through the journey to achieve the goal. Remember, some goals could be as simple as getting up on time in the morning, other goals could be oh lets see achieving a certain rank in your Krav maga school…

Recently I ran a few Orange Belt tests (and I can assure you UTKM tests are harder earlier than many other Krav Maga tests that I have seen.) and at the end of every test I saw what appeared to be beaten defeated people, yet they had all passed so I had the thought. THIS is what success looks like:

If you just saw these photos without contexts it would be reasonable to assume they are broken or failed. But this is the look of people who gave it everything they had to achieve their goal of getting Orange Belt. In these cases they all passed but could you really tell just from these photos?

The truth about success is we do focus on the end goal. Getting rich, getting the belt, getting up in the morning on a regular basis. But we always seem to forget that it’s actually the Journey to success which defines success or not as without the Journey, the learning experience there can be no success. To me, even if they don’t think so, these people are successful. For me, they have achieved something hard to achieve, something that many of my students fear, or some avoid because they know that this Journey to success or the goal, is not going to easy because I’m not going to make it easy.

So if success is the Journey + the Goal then there is a reason we must set attainable reasonable goals because the Journey is the hard part, the Goal is just a checkmark on a sheet or a gold star on a paper.

So when you look at the people who you think are successful, (assuming they didn’t just get a massive inheritance and did nothing else after) then ask yourself how hard was their Journey to achieve their goals? Whether we admire them for it or resent them for it it does not deny them their Journey.

SO what is Success? its many things, it starts with setting a goal, then having a plan put in place an then the real Journey the Hard work, sweat blood and potentially sleepless nights to get to the goal?

Whatever your definition of success is, just remember, it’s going to be a Journey one that will be full of good days and bad says, easy times and hard times. But so long as you can learn and grow in your Journey success may be closer than you think.

On this Haloween day, this seems an appropriate topic. On Halloween, we dress up as things we might not actually be. We pretend to be things we are not to fantasize and step out of our personal reality if only for a brief moment. Perhaps we dress and act as we wish we could be, and for a brief moment, we are allowed with out judgment to be just that. So how well do you know yourself based on what you do for Halloween, do you know yourself as well as you think? or just like Halloween are you just pretending.

 

Sun Tsu Quot Art of War.jpg

 

Sun Tsu is a Chinese military strategist who lived thousands of years ago. There is still much debate about who the person really was but one thing is for certain who ever they were they managed to leave a legacy longer than most. The quote above is from the Art of War. A book on military strategy and philosophy still taught today in Military academies around the world.

Personally, I think it is one of the few pieces of literature that should be mandatory to learn and study at some point in everyone’s standard education. For these lessons can be applied to far more than just war. They have been applied to business and relationships and pretty much every interaction that involves interpersonal connections through out history whether people know it or not.

I believe that everything there is to know about being human was already learned thousands of years ago the various ancient civilisations that once were now gone but not forgotten. Though have we forgotten that which is most important? Sure we know a bit about ancient history and philosophy, but as humans, we seem to be constantly relearning the things they already knew.

So thousands of years ago, Sun Tsu, knew that knowing one’s self is the most important thing to victory. For most humans, Ego is the enemy of Self. It can prevent a person from looking within and accepting who they truly are whether they like what they find or not. Accepting yourself. Accepting your limitations. Accepting your skillsets. Accepting what you can and cannot do, can only come from knowing one’s self.

For some, this is easy. For others, it is a long and painful journey. No matter who you are, however, it is a journey you must take if you ever hope to succeed.

One of the first and hardest questions you have to ask is, do you like who you are as a person. If the answer is yes, ask again, are you lying to yourself? If the answer is no, they find out what it is you don’t like about your self.

Generally, when the answer is no, you have two options.

  1. Change your self –Change that which you don’t like about yourself or your life no matter how hard so that you can become the person you want to be. The journey can be hard, harder still if you let your ego overcome and allow yourself to lie to yourself on what you must do to change.
  2. Accept your self for who you are – The positive side is you may find the path to happiness shorter, the negative is if you have attributes that others find problematic, you may constantly find stress in interactions with others. However, if you truly accept yourself, you won’t care.

Regardless of which of these two routes you take, as both are correct answers, once you know yourself and accept yourself, you will still face numerous external challenges. People will often accuse you that you don’t know yourself that well, even if you do. Sometimes a person fails to articulate effectively how well they know themselves. Or worse, they fail to take the steps necessary to show others.

The later of these statements usually applies to people stuck in option One. They know themselves, don’t like themselves but don’t know how or are unwilling to truly make the changes necessary. In my observation again it is usually ego that prevents people from knowing and accepting their limitations. YES, you have limitations and NO you cannot do what ever you set your mind to no matter how much you believe, because no you cannot defy the laws of the known universe or the reality of the world around you.

While choosing option 2, because you don’t care, you will be called egotistical along with numerous other names. Or the classic, let me help you. Sometimes when a person says they don’t want to be helped its because they don’t. Though it should not be confused with a person who doesn’t want your help because they are letting their ego get in the way. Since we do not mind readers, you will never really know which applies. Know the issue with option two is that sometimes it can be quite isolating, but this too is something you must accept should you wish to be happy.

Another big problem is keeping things realistic. Sometimes belief in one’s self can blind. You must not confuse ego, with evidence based beliefs in one’s self. It can be again, a difficult line to tell. If you know yourself, but are 5’6 and know you want to be a basket ball player in the NBA then chances are you are lying to yourself about the reality of the world you live in. Part of accepting yourself is knowing legitimately what you can and cannot do and what is realistically possible. Believing anything else again is a lie and will only lead to more self-doubt and misery. Accepting such realities can be a hard thing, but it is something you must too if you truly wish to know yourself.

Though I am sure this post is nothing but words on a page to you and will do little to bring some introspective reality into your search for self and happiness within, Know this. Everything that has ever been needed to know about being human has already been learnt. You just need to open your eyes, look within and accept. Accept what the ancients already knew, that accepting one’s self in all the beauty and ugliness both within and without is the only true path to happiness and ultimately personal success.

Side Note: Being happy with being morbidly obese is not ok. Or being happy with other things that affect your health in a way that is overtly negative, outside of moderation is also not ok.  You are not doing your self, or your loved ones a favour and continuing to believe other wise is you simply not willing to do the work to overcome your ego and be a better version of yourself. So please, stop with this kind of nonsense beliefs.

Every morning in the wild a gazelle awakens. One thing is for sure for the gazelle for that day, as every other: She must run faster than the fastest lion. If she cannot, she will be killed and eaten.

Every morning, a lion awakens. For the lion, too, one thing is certain. This day, and everyday, he must run faster than the slowest gazelle.

Whether fate names you a gazelle or a lion is of no consequence. It is enough to know that with the rising of the sun, you must run, and you must run faster than the day before, for the rest of your days, or you will die.

We all have to run; run the race of life. – An African Poem, Race of Life, Netflix 2017

Occasionally instead of putting on my usual Netflix debauchery, I find it soothing to watch a nature series or documentary. Recently, I started to watch the shot Race for life on Netflix. The beginning starts with the poem as written above.

Of course, I have seen variations of this quote prior usually on motivational posters or in business guides, but this is so far my favourite.

It seems to me despite what the Lion King taught us about the circle of life, the newer generation either do not understand it, accept it or simply ignore it. This two is applied to evolution and how it operates. There is a common myth believed by most that evolution has some kind of definitive set end goal. The truth is it does not. It is simply a mechanism following some kind of not tangible universal code based on the principles of action and reaction.

For the gazelle to avoid the lion it developed speed and agility, and for the lion to catch the gazelle it must rely on explosive power, strength and strategy. Evolution is simply the action of one species or entity reacting to its environment or predators so that it can best continue to exist as a species. The saying, Adapt or Die could never be truer.

As you can see above, each species reacts to the others defence mechanism so that it can better survive.  – Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder

When it comes to the environment for example, though I fully support sustainable practices, it is also a myth that the environment must stay in a constate static state. With or with out human intervention or existence it operates on an action reaction potential. Species have lived and died for millions and millions of years prior to human existence because they like us now operate based on the same universal code that guides the evolutionary process.

Let’s take a look at the free market and apply the evolutionary process as well. Cars to be specific. If you look at any decade you can often see a distinct style and specification for cars. There was once a time for example when big cars with big engines were popular. Now it’s all about fuel efficiency and safety. So how do the evolutionary principles of adapt or die apply here? Simple, Auto makers must adapt their product lines to which are being sold based on the consumers purchasing power. If an automaker continues to make the same thing because that’s what they are known for unless they are trying to be a small niche market, they too will most likely die because they failed to adapt. As the consumer no longer demands the product that they are offering.

We can sit here and pretend things will always be the way they always were or are but this is foolish as this does not seem to be how things work, anywhere.

lion-vs-gazelle quote.jpg

I recently wrote an article called The Specialist vs the Generalist. One of my students told me there definitely needs to be specialist which I do address albeit briefly, and yes I agree. However, just like in nature specialist do not adapt well to change. Usually, species that are overly specialised will parish should anything drastically change such as their food source adapting to them or the environment changing. While species that are more generalistic in nature can either adapt to the new settings, such as find a new food source. or move to a new location and adapts as has happened many times in the past. For example species in the past that were once land dwelling but are now aquatic or were aquatic but are now land dwelling.

I again make the argument that for the time being humans when compared to other species are in general generalists.

As always I like to connect things to Krav Maga and Self defence when possible. In a given self defense situation, it is unlikely that things will go according to the way you trained in the gym. And this is to be expected. A good Kravist can evolve and adapt in the moment based on their training, experience and ability to survive any given situation. This is why I focus heavy on critical thinking in training in addition to our moves. The ability to critically think in the moment gives you the greater chance to evolve and adapt while still applying Krav Maga principles like retzev (Continous Attack).

This is probably why so many traditional martial arts fail to be practical in realistic self defense. They chose to stay rigid and strong to the cultural and regional beliefs or methods that did not apply in other areas of the world. Or they adapted in the wrong way to focus more on sports application thus making them less adapted for the street.

I really do not know, at least on an intrinsic level why people fear change so much. I guess it’s currently a primal reaction that we are having difficulty evolving out of. The reality is, whether you are a gazelle or a lion, rich or poor, black or white, a planet, a sun the universe. If you cannot adapt to the change around you, you will only struggle, stagnate and die (literally or figuratively).

So just like the Gazelle or Lion keep on running and learn to adapt in a way that gives you a long, healthy and meaningful life.

I have trained with many of the top Krav Maga practitioners in the world, those who have trained under the masters, and under many of the major Krav Maga organizations.One way or another, I have come into contact with high-level Kravists and it’s clear that there is a wide array of philosophies when it comes to Krav Maga. Some organizations, in my opinion, have stayed away from the basic fundamentals of Krav Maga. Some are overly aggressive, some underwhelmingly lack aggression. And of course, the politics are all over the place.

There is one thing I have heard repeatedly from my students, training with other instructors, or simply observing others practice:

“Nobody attacks like that.”

I find this attitude rather confusing…

Humans can attack however they want. Anybody who has the capacity to attack anybody can attack in any way that is possible. People say that nobody attacks like X or Y, or that all attack start off with no aggression, or that they start with all out aggression, and so on. That’s not realistic at all. The reality is that you simply do not know what will happen and how it will happen when it comes to any situation involving physical conflict and/or self-defense.

Many people have this idea that training for violent conflict on the street must always be violent in the gym. However, the vast majority of people do not pick up the details of a movement under chaotic circumstances. Some elite individuals may learn quickly, but we’re trying to train the general population. For example, if I am teaching a wrist grab, it is only logical to start with the simplest movements and practice casually. As students get the hang of the fundamentals, then you ramp up the intensity and complexity of the scenario and do it again.

Always training hardcore is not helpful for the vast majority of people who are trying to learn to defend themselves. There is a military saying about combat in urban environments that goes…

“Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”

If you practice a move fast, it will most likely be sloppy and incorrect when you use it under pressure in real life. It’s better to practice slowly but correctly, which builds good muscle memory of the proper movement.

In addition, preferred attacks vary between cultures as well as the specific attacks that are trending. Just because a particular style is not popular in one country does not mean that it should not be taught. A proper Krav Maga or self-defense program should give a person the ability to defend themselves in whatever situation they end up, whether it’s facing a different style of attack or an attack in a different country.

Just because you don’t attack like that doesn’t mean other people don’t. Yes, it is true that there are attacks and moves in our curriculum that certain people won’t do to others. For example, I find it hard to believe a man would do a basic wrist grab to another man. However, it is common in other cases, such as a man attacking a woman. Gyms that are too macho tend to forget that size matters, and it changes attack styles. Men are typically bigger than women and would attack in certain patterns that they would not use against someone their own size. The same goes with women vs women scenarios.

One of the reasons I dislike teaching women only classes is because the biggest threat to most women is men, with some exceptions. When a class consists only of women who don’t attack like men, they don’t get to experience reality. Thus, it creates a false sense of understanding about self-defense, and a misconception regarding how aggressive attacks take place.

Don’t get me wrong, it is possible to produce an aggressive, professional female fighter through women only classes. However, unless you have a Ronda Rousey, a Holly Holm, or an Amanda Nunes as your training partner, it’s unlikely you will be preparing or prepared for the kind of attacks you might face.

nobody

“Nobody attacks like that!” Back to this blanket statement. It’s false. When you learn or teach Krav Maga, you need to start from the basics. All students build up from the simple movements to more complicated and aggressive scenarios. Imagine you’re an instructor and you refuse to teach something based on the idea that “nobody attacks like that” only to have your students face it in real life and not know what to do. That’s bad instruction and a disservice to your students.

Again, people must realize that they cannot possibly know all the possible outcomes in a conflict. To say “nobody attacks like that” is limiting in nature. In the end, you cannot prepare for everything, and thus you should train to anticipate anything. Krav Maga teaches you to expect the unexpected, keep it simple, be aggressive, and think critically in the moment. Students must enough to be able to fill in the blanks. That is what makes the difference between life and death.

The lengthiness of this article is to be expected. Success rarely has any shortcuts, unless you are the exception to the rule. Read the whole thing!

I am a martial arts teacher and school owner. I don’t like being put on a pedestal, but whether I like it or not, a leadership role is placed on my head. Sometimes, my conversations with students are not always just about Krav Maga and martial arts. Sometimes, students ask about life advice, personal demons, and other problems. People who know me well know that I am a frank and blunt person. Krav Maga teaches us that reality is not always as nice and kind as we would like to pretend it to be. Likewise, while my approach to advice giving is not always the kindest most empathetic or sympathetic, sometimes (or a lot of times nowadays) people need a hard dose of reality.

The students who are more receptive to help, advice or encouragement are often reassured by my words. Others who do not like to be challenged, or are not receptive to my advice, often just get annoyed with me. Whatever my advice is, I am really just acting as a guide. From that point on, it is up to the individual to sort out his or her problems.

Often, students who come to UTKM aren’t here just to learn self-defense. For whatever reason, people come to us from all over the place and all walks of life to better themselves. Some of them have an insane amount of talent but lack the confidence to use it. Some of them have too much confidence, but lack competence to back it up. Some of them have had very difficult lives and are just trying to make it by. The thing is, we need to remember that we are simply all the same species with the same general goal of surviving, being prosperous, and being happy.

For some, this comes with ease. For others, it is a struggle. Of course, there are so many variables in life, and many are against us. Through my personal battle with depression, I have learned that the only one who can make it better inside and out is yourself. Others can only guide you.

What does it take to be successful?

Just so you know, banking on being the next Bill Gates is less likely than winning the lottery. Winning the lottery just requires luck, but being Bill Gates takes more than that. You can still be successful even if you are not the next Bill Gates, Elon Musk, or Richard Branson. These people are the exception to the rule and, as much as we don’t like it, not everyone can be the best. We need to stop lying to ourselves. We can only strive to be the best version of ourselves. Then, you will find all the success you will ever need.

I have broken down the concept of success into a simple model. Again, my advice may not be the softest and kindest, but again, like Krav Maga, it faces the scrutiny of reality.

success

Skillset & Confidence & Problem Solving + Opportunity & Luck = Success

 

As you can see, I have broken it up into two major categories: on the left are things you either inherently have or can acquire and have direct control over, and on the right are things that you can have but cannot control entirely. You can lack some internal factors and still succeed, as some things can compensate for others. However, you cannot lack the external factors, as they are necessary for success. (This is the unfortunate truth.) Of course, if you are lacking in all areas, then you may need to face reality, re-evaluate aspects of yourself and life, and find another path.

Internal Factors

#1 Skillset. This is a very important one. In order to succeed, you need to know your strengths. What are you good at doing? However, more importantly, you need to know your weaknesses. What are you not good at doing? Too many people put emphasis on the positives when it comes to skillset, and don’t consider the negatives. Sometimes (or a lot of times), not knowing what you are bad at and still attempting it can become a disaster. Fortunately, skills can be learned. Some come naturally and some are more difficult. Still, everything has its limitations. You can’t learn everything. Inevitably, there must be something you are bad at doing, and that means you must know when you need help and who you can turn to when specialization is required.

In school, they might convince you not to be a jack of all trades, that you need to specialize. If you’re good at many things, life will be a little easier since you may not have to work as hard. The problem is that If you are not good at everything, then you might want to consider specializing in something. If you try to be good at everything when you’re not, then your life will be an uphill battle.

To specialize or not to specialize? That is the question…

Some skillsets, however, are out of your control, such as your overall intelligence or physical limitations. Some people have to work harder than others to get to the same place. That is simply reality. The important thing is to accept what you are good and not good at doing. The other important thing is to know what you can learn and what you can’t, whether it’s due to your inherent ability, or time, or money. When you know the difference between when you can do, what you cannot, what you can learn, and what you cannot, then you will be able to formulate a plan to compensate for what you lack. If you cannot do something, and cannot learn it either, and you continue trying to do it, then you have or will have a problem. It doesn’t matter if you can’t do something. It simply means your success lies in partnering with those who complement the skills you do not have.

We are a social species. Humans live in groups because we need each other. Whether or not you have skill is less important than knowing yourself, being aware of and accepting what your strengths and weaknesses, and appropriately creating meaningful relationships so you can fill in the gaps. Stop trying to do everything yourself if you don’t have the skills, and stop trying to prove you do everything (because you just can’t, it’s a human limitation). Acceptance is the first step on the path to success.

#2 Confidence. Confidence can be a double edge sword. If you have confidence without skills, then you are just crazy or delusional, especially if you never see results. If you have confidence and skills but lack social skills, then you may be awkward or arrogant. If you have confidence and skills and social skills, then you might just be well adjusted.

Having confidence goes a long way. Also, believe it or not, confidence is a learned skill. You learn it from life, doing things, trial and error, and your historical precedence. If you succeed 9/10 times, you should have confidence. If you fail 9/10 times, you probably shouldn’t have confidence in that. (Yes, many motivational things regarding failure and relentlessness and perseverance and not giving up say that failure is important. Thomas Edison himself said that failure is just finding out what doesn’t work 999 out of 1000 times. Again, however, he is not an average person. Also, he stole a lot of his ideas from Nikola Tesla anyway, so you can’t really follow his example.) If you are consistently failing at something, you can fix it by either acquiring the skills, or accepting that you’re just not good at it (as I said above), or finding another solution through problem-solving (as I will explain below). If you’re consistently failing at something and still think you are great at it, that is disbelief (or arrogance). Arrogance will hinder you from success. As I said, confidence comes with trial and error, then practice. When you can back up your claims with real ability, then your confidence is justified. Confidence will propel you to success.

When I was younger, just like most young guys, I wasn’t very good with women. Options are limited when you’re in high school, and I wasn’t very social outside of school, and then considering I wasn’t the most popular kid in school made mating endeavors hard. But the thing is… If you don’t try, you will never succeed. It wasn’t until my adult life that I forced myself to get out there, even though I still struggled socially, and learn about women and be better at interacting with them. However, I would never have learned and improved if I hadn’t exposed myself to new environments and new people, and increased my chances of successful female encounters.

As a teenager, any confidence I had about women would have been false. As I grew older and gained more experience, confidence that I have becomes more rightful, and people (including women) are more receptive to me now. Of course, I’m not some Brad Pitt or supermodel type, but this is a fact I have accepted and I’m still confident with who I am.

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Obviously, my ingredients for success are not just relevant to human mating strategies, but it’s a relatable example. Generally speaking, if you are good at something, then you should be confident even if you are not the best because you are probably still better than most. I know so many people who are extremely talented but doubt themselves simply because they are not the top of their industry and thus have a hard time utilizing their skills to find success. As I mentioned earlier, we can’t all be the best since that is simply not possible. Honestly, if your skillset is such that you are better than, say, 80% of the population, then you should be brimming with confidence.

Accepting the reality that your ability is good and better than others, regardless of whether or not you’re the best, will be another step toward success. Success isn’t about being at the top. You may never be at the top, but you can find success nonetheless. All you have to do is recognize that you are good at _______. Repeat after me, “Yes, I am good at dance,” and “Yes, I am good at art,” and “Yes, I am a good teacher…” or mechanic, or manager. You get the idea.confidence

Recognizing and accepting that you are good at a given skillset should naturally give you the confidence to keep moving forward. Unless you have tried and tried and tried and still can’t do well, then have some belief in yourself! If the evidence is there that your ability is good, then confidence you should have!

 

#3 Problem Solving. Problem-solving is extremely important and often overlooked. Problem-solving skills are the skills to pay the bills. If you’re not great at an inherent talent, but you’re great at problem-solving, then you’re a quick study. If you can solve problems effectively, you can move forward quickly and still find success.

By the way, problem-solving and critical thinking are key aspects of Krav Maga, which most people overlook because they are not physical attributes. It is often more important to learn how to think than to learn the actual techniques. This is because life will inevitably throw curveballs at you at any random moment, and instead of jumping to the default fight or flight or freeze reaction, you must learn to adapt and solve your problems so that you can move forward positively. Mistakes can be made, bruises can happen, but you must learn to move forward.

Ever wonder why sociopaths are often successful? Sociopaths are often very functional, very intelligent, and very good at problem-solving. Yes, they have over inflated egos, but because they are confident and are great at problem-solving, they can overcome a lack of underlying skills. As they say, fake it till you make it. Of course, that means you can’t fake it forever. You also need to make it. This is why people like Jordan Belfort from Wolf of Wall Street (2013) often come crashing down eventually. (Also, because most of the time they’re doing illegal and douchey things.)

But this just proves that if you have confidence and good problem-solving skills, then you can overcome a lack of skillset by simply learning and acquiring as you go, or finding the right people you need to work with to compensate. Although, problem-solving tends to be an innate skill or something learned and built up from a young age. Sure, there are games and brain booster apps out there, but you have an inherent limit. If problem-solving is not your strength, you may have to lean on skills and confidence areas to help lead you to success.

Of course, you will have a problem if you lack skills, lack problem-solving, and rely on confidence alone. Confidence without the justification is just fantasy, and people will not take you seriously until you acquire what you need to back up your claims. Again, it doesn’t mean you cannot be successful. Don’t despair! Your solution is finding the right person or people to rely on to help fill in the gaps and build a successful working team. A team supports each other by making up for each others’ weaknesses. But struggle to recognize your own limitations, and your team may come to resent you over time.

On the other hand, if you lack overall skillset and are not that great at problem-solving, but still have confidence, chances are your gift is connecting people. Then, boy are you in luck because you can learn to recognize opportunity, and thus find your success by being a middle-man of deals. Which brings us to the next section.

External Factors

Opportunity & Luck. Opportunities are not a dime a dozen. You’re out of luck if you miss a big one that might just have been it. On the other hand, many little opportunities can still add up to potential success.

Okay, so I lied before. Sometimes, opportunity can be in your hands. I touched on this a bit in the previous section. When it comes to opportunity, it is about putting yourself out there. It could be simply a matter of going out some place and having the right conversation with the right person at the right time. That fact that it happened at the right moment is luck, but the fact that you put yourself in the situation in the first place is opportunity.

There is a reason they say the majority of business is done on the golf course (or for other cultures it may be at the post-work restaurant/bar). Sometimes, the best opportunities come up in casual environments. When you’re in the office, meetings, or traditional settings, people are usually constrained by the roles they are expected to play, and also may be cautious of reprisal should something be rejected. Luckily, this means that opportunity is everywhere.

I once went to a fairly high-end company party (not my company) where there were an open bar and lots of food. Someone asked me, “Does anything ever come out of these? Because most of the time half the people are just drunk until fairly later on.” The answer is… Yes! Casual and probably drunken conversations are often the reason for good, fairly substantially large deals.

However, this is the reason why I mentioned at the beginning that both internal and external factors need to work together. I said that Step 1 is putting yourself out there. Well, the pre-Step 1 is confidence! If you aren’t confident, you wouldn’t put yourself out there. Step 2 is… to go out without any real expectations. Sounds sad, but that the thing about opportunity and luck. You never know when it will happen. The more important part is to put yourself out there and be yourself and wait for the opportunity to happen. Then… this part is the big one. It is recognizing potential opportunities when they are right in front of you.

Having confidence can get someone interested in you, having the ability to prove your worth after the initial will make the opportunity a reality, and having the problem-solving skills to close the deal will lead on your path to success. However, if you don’t grab onto the opportunity, and don’t follow through with it, then it won’t matter that it happens and you’ll have to wait for the next opportunity (if it will come at all). Opportunities don’t happen in one instance. Sometimes, the opportunity leads to an introduction of partners or sponsors, and then further planning is needed. That’s how you seize the opportunity. Ideas and conversations are great, but if there is no follow-through and meaningful work was done, then it’s pointless.

Sometimes success is not what you thought it might be. Maybe, recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, learning to be better, and accepting yourself is the kind of success you need to lead you to far greater happiness.

There is more than one path to success

I hope you are starting to see now that there is actually not one set of ingredients for success. Success is achieved through a matter of knowing what you are good at, what you are not, and filling in the blanks appropriately. Success is sucking up your ego and pride to do things that you might not like, or partnering with people you may not like, even if temporarily, in order to move forward to your goals. No one said financial and emotional success was going to be easy, and there will be times when you take two steps forward and one step back. This is when you need to step outside of yourself and see the bigger picture. One step backward is still progress when you’ve taken two steps forward, and thus… success!

They say “never give up” because you just never know. Sometimes, simply being consistent at what you like to do is what will make you successful because one day that opportunity and luck you’ve been waiting for will come along. Internal and external success comes from figuring out what you need to find the path toward success. You need to know yourself at this moment, know what you want to become, and decide if you are willing to put in the effort required to be a better you. I say decide because putting in the work to become better is a choice, and if you want to be successful without having to do what’s required to be better, then you have a problem. Krav Maga teaches you that sometimes reality is not at all what we would like to be. It is not common for everything to fit together and dreams to come true just like that. Once you figure yourself out, though, the pieces will come together slowly. All it takes is self-awareness, honesty, and hard work.

Krav Maga is not a quick fix

Posted: December 22, 2016 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Philosophy
Tags: , , , ,

There is a popular belief that learning Krav Maga is fast and easy, that it only requires a couple months of training, and that you can quickly be ready to defend yourself for life. Yet, many instructors mention the decades of Krav Maga training they have done to become masters. Krav Maga techniques are built upon natural human reflexes, which means it has a very short learning curve for the average person. However, it’s not a quick fix.

Then, why do people advertise this?

Historical Reason. In the Israeli Defense Force, average combat soldiers might get 10-60 hours of Krav Maga training during their service. For Krav Maga instructors, their course could only take about 6 weeks long.

Business Reason. It is an easier business practice to go around the world, teaching short and intense courses. Israeli Krav Maga instructors tend to choose this method instead of taking the time to develop students from scratch.

Cultural Reason. At the core, people are different from country to country and region to region. The Krav Maga mentality that people in Israel or Serbia have is that they train knowing that they will likely need to use it. In addition, the Israeli military is a conscription army, which allows them to choose the best of the best citizens of the entire country to make their army strong. Which means that the level of Krav Maga they display is definitely not reflective of the general population. In peaceful countries, like Taiwan or Canada, people don’t have the same kind of mental and physical toughness, at least in the urban areas. There are certainly rough neighbourhoods or bad weather, but there is a lack of day-to-day dangers. Their priorities are not the same. Thus, it takes a much longer time to educate and train students into the Krav Maga mentality.

UTKM lead instructor, Jonathan Fader served in the IDF in Givati. This video is published by the Israeli Defense Force and depicts baseline combat soldiers, but they are not the elite, which is what most people visualize. These infantry soldiers probably have about 10-60 hours of Krav Maga, but just physical training.

The Krav Maga Mentality

Muscle memory: If you don’t use it, you lose it.

One thing that Israeli instructors fail to understand is that the fight or flight instinct takes a long time learn how to control, and then it takes longer to learn how to maintain control. The same goes with instinctual reactions and fighting spirit. Sure, six months of proper fight training can enhance one’s ability to protect him or herself, but what about after six months? Students here will lose what they learned because they live in a much more peaceful society than Israel. Thus, in order to maintain their abilities and control, they should train a certain amount per week.

Krav Maga is unlike traditional martial arts. It’s not because it’s easy to learn. It’s not because it doesn’t take time to practice. It is because time is not wasted on forms or preparing for competition, which are useless in the real world. Despite what most major Krav Maga instructors advertise, you need to train hard to keep some of the most fundamental moves, such as 360 defense. Krav Maga techniques are built upon human instinct, but it does require years of practice to ingrain it into your muscle memory. The more you practice the more confident you are with them.

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It’s all about the mind

For people in war-torn countries, the warrior spirit comes naturally to them because of their experience. For people in peaceful countries, the warrior spirit takes longer time and more consistent training to develop. Training should be a lifestyle – a warrior lifestyle – not a short cut or quick fix.

Disclaimer: I do not consider myself a master, and I do not accept any such recognition. I am too young, have not been doing anything long enough, have not trained hard enough, and have not experienced enough to justify any such claims. Despite not being a master myself, I can recognize and believe what true mastery should be like. All aspects of the concept of mastery also applies to things outside of martial arts.

What is mastery? A simple search will define mastery as:

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Sometimes, when you read a list of definitions, you can choose at least one of them to reflect what you’re trying to mean when you say something. However, when I see this definition, I think it needs much more than the two options. Can someone be a master with simply comprehensive knowledge and skill without control? Can someone be a master with control or superiority without having comprehensive knowledge or skill?

Obviously not.

Let’s debunk some myths about mastery.

Myth 1: A master is an old man who has spent his life training in solitude, peacefully dedicating his life to his art.

Thanks to the movie industry, we have this inaccurate and ethnocentric image of mastery. Real mastery is simply building comprehensive knowledge and skill through practice and experience, and developing it long enough to show expert control in the use of that knowledge and skill.

Oftentimes, if people who call themselves experts or masters are observed in detail, you may notice that many of them lack some important aspects. Knowledge, skill, and control are three basic characteristics of a master. Many black belts out there are made up of only one or two of these traits.

Myth 2: A master is unbeatable.

A master is not invincible. Someone who fights to win every time is not a master. A master must have the ability to use control in a fight, and not just try to obliterate their opponents. Another crucial ability all masters should have is to avoid fights. Anyone can be defeated at anytime, especially if they constantly stay at the white stage of the Awareness Colour Code.

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Understanding the Awareness Colour Code is essential to mental control. Some people are great fighters, but they lose control mentally during or after the fight despite winning. If one does not know or understand how they react to certain situations, and what triggers them to reach bad conditions like a catastrophic mental shut down (code black), no longer thinking or applying strategy.

Myth 3: Masters are always calm, gentle, and peaceful.

In my experience through the military and martial arts training, it is most difficult to train people for extreme stress. People never know how they react until they are put to the test in a real situation. Even using simulations and aggression training does not fully prepare one for a real fight. Obviously, you should not go around looking for fights so that you can practice. That is dangerous and stupid. The important point is that you do not know what will happen in your body until the time comes. If your training has been effective, you will know when your body wants to explode, but you can control it to achieve your goal (which should be to safely protect yourself and your loved ones, and then get the heck out of your bad situation).

This may seem like a unrelated tangent, but it is so very important to mastery. It’s not about being calm, gentle, and peaceful all the time. It’s about being able to maintain control even when you’re not calm.

The crux of mastery

Once, I was told by a very well known Krav Maga instructor that he didn’t like a certain organization because their top fighters are not hardcore enough. One of his friends, who was a phenomenal athlete and fighter by all accounts, was working towards a high level promotion. The final test was sparring. In the test, he was performing like a champion fighter, dominating other black belts. Finally, they asked him to display control in his fights (meaning to not simply beat everyone up), and he simply could not do it. In the end, they declined his promotion.

On another note, the instructor who told me this story is also a great practitioner. Yet, after getting to know him more, it is obvious that he also has trouble grasping the importance of controlled aggression. People who have difficulty with mental control, usually have other underlying psychological/emotional issues. Often, they eventually create their own organizations, rather than recognizing their shortcomings and then working on those internal problems. The biggest challenge all practitioners face is mental control.

At the heart of Krav Maga

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The goal is to “walk in peace” as stated by Imi LichtenfeldYes, aggression is a central attribute of Krav Maga, but the core of Krav Maga is walking in peace, which means both outer and inner peace.

Most of the Kravists or martial artists who I have met in my life have the same difficulty controlling themselves internally. When real violence occurs, their training and strategy goes out the window. Without mental control, even the most phenomenal athletes I know can easily lose to mediocre opponents with better strategy when it comes to a real fight.

Don’t get me wrong, all of the individuals I know who are like this are still phenomenal at what they do. I would love to train with these people and learn from them. They have valuable knowledge or skills, or both.Yet, in a violent situation, they are either burning harder than they should at code red, or they have hit code black and they don’t even know it.

What does it take to be a master?

The 10,000 hour rule is a great base. 10,000 hours equates to about 5.5 years of full time training at 40 hours a week. This is why in most legitimate belt programs, it takes 10+ years to reach a black belt. And those at that level know that black belt is just the beginning of becoming a real master.

If 10,000 hours of physical practice means you have comprehensive skill, you still need to have comprehensive knowledge and control.

Knowledge comes from both training and real life experience, and then the ability to combine and connect the two. This may require a person to step outside of the cave or the dojo in order to gather the information and accumulate knowledge.

Control is twofold. Physical control could come from the hours of physical training. Mental control, on the other hand, can be difficult to develop. The right training environment and instructor is very important. Many training environments barely scratch the surface on knowledge about the art being learned outside of techniques and moves.

They say the hardest battle you ever face is yourself

I would like to add that the biggest lies we tell are to ourselves. You can tell yourself that you have no problems, but do you really? You can tell yourself that you know your problems and are working on them, but do you really? It is difficult to have the greatest insight, and it is difficult to accept what you see inside yourself. But mental control is one of the biggest parts of achieving mastery.

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True mastery is when you can walk in peace knowing that you can overcome the challenges ahead

Ultimately, it is a combination of everything coming together. It is more than showing up to class and training. It is more than just teaching. It is more than believing that you are a master. It is when you reach the point in which others recognize you as a master. (Self-promotion is not mastery, by the way…)

A true master can physically defend him or herself, and others. A true master knows the mental struggles, but knows that he or she is prepared to deal with them.

Many people just go through the motions and lie to themselves, never accepting their shortcomings and learning to face them. Are you willing to do what it takes to achieve mastery?