Posts Tagged ‘Awareness Colour Code’

You all thought I was joking.  No, I don’t joke about sleep.

So during class, Jon (lead instructor, has been compared to a dying wolf spider with fewer legs EDITORS NOTE: First I am aware of this but sure)  posted a picture of me to the UTKM Instagram story. Look at the picture below carefully as I shall be referring back to it.

When I found out about the post I, of course, was annoyed and I then reposted it and threatened to rant “share about my life experiences” or whatever Jon always is asking people to do. So in my mild annoyance, enjoy my rant.

If you’ve been to enough classes or poked around on the blog, you will have heard of the mental awareness color code. If you are a student of UTKM who is reading this, you should know that ‘white’ is when you are unaware of your surroundings, usually in a safe place like your home (If you don’t, you need to read all the principles and listen more in class). Eyes closed, headphones in, I’m not going to really argue about that. I was pretty close to white. However, I WOULD argue that if you are asleep that you are closer to black, which is when your brain can’t protect you as it’s shut down. While your brain doesn’t actually turn off while you sleep, sleeping is a lot closer to having been choked out, fainted, or gone into ‘the black’. And I was not in stage black, as you will see if you keep reading. If you stop now, then you are wasting all the effort I put into making a convincing argument. I even did research! Like five minutes worth but still… Might as well keep going to make sure I don’t just say “LET ME SLEEP I WAS TIRED”.

So, is falling asleep in Krav class a good idea? Well first we have to keep in mind the location. Krav class. That’s very different from a Skytrain. I personally wouldent recommend falling asleep on a Skytrain? I mean, I’ve done it, but I also missed my stop once cause of that soooooo TRY TO GET YOUR RECOMMENDED AMOUNT OF SLEEP AND DON’T DIE.

The only people who should be there (Krav Class) are students, instructors, or people interested in joining. There are not going to be random people just hanging out there for no reason. Also if people are coming to class for the purpose of  attacking other students for no real reason and UTKM isn’t stopping it, that’s a major problem. This is why I’m glad that the students are nice (of course until they get to orange belt and they’ve been long enough to feel comfortable with one another, then all sorts of things might happen.)

Look at how nicely that leads to my next point that I’m not sure should been its own point but is anyways cause I’m the author yay! You need to be able to trust the people you train with. To be honest, I’m not sure if there’s a blog post, annnd okay, there is I just checked. It’s more about being a good (student and) training partner but it is close enough. The way we train, it could be easy to injure each other. To all the new people, don’t worry, injuries thankfully don’t happen that often. That’s because we know how to be careful and trust our skills and those of our training partners. Now, if someone can refrain from hurting you in class (where it would be easier to pass it off as an accident), why the !#$@ would they attack you unprovoked in plain view of others (please no one attack anyone in or out of class). Note that I said your fellow students should not being trying to kill you at least, they will and have pulled pranks (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE).

Now, let’s say a threat did come in with the intent to harm someone (with a knife because I say so) during that class. They aren’t going to be going for me specifically as I don’t make bad life choices! I think? If there’s anyone out there who wants to kill me, mind giving me a heads up? Or you could just not. So this person has come to stab people. First, they’d have to get through a room full of dancers. Why bother looking in other rooms when there are convenient things to stab right there? But okay fine. They LOVE dance and refuse to hurt the dancers, moving on to a small room where your author lies helpless. -_- I’d like to draw your attention to the kick shield wall on the right side of the picture. This wall is between me and the door, making me hard to see. Plus why attack me when you can stab Jon, who is conveniently right there. Now in this class, we have Jon, a yellow belt, three white belts who have a decent amount of experience, and obviously me. I have faith in their combined skills to take this attacker down. Or failing that, at least make enough noise so that I wake up and A) fight them off B) steal their knife and stab them or C) run and call the police. I’m voting for C but who knows. Regardless, I’m not dead!

So why would it be a bad idea to fall asleep in class? The place is safe(ish, watch for pranks), the people are more or less good, and you have a bunch of free bodyguards! At this point if you can’t relax you may need to look at the blog again and make sure you aren’t in mental state orange. Guys I’m covering three of five states, that’s so many more than I planned for. This is the exact and the only reason why we should expect the unexpected (to my shock and dismay, there isn’t a blog post about this but Jon has talked about it enough sooooo good enough also I didn’t look that hard). Right, I had a point. If you can’t get out of orange while you are at Krav, it is kinda a problem (obviously be prepared during drills/sparring). But if you are in a place where you trust the people around you (to a certain extent) and know that if something does go wrong the people around you are prepared to handle it and you are STILL worried someone’s going to attack you? You are getting paranoid (or you made very very BAD life choices). I can’t think of anything else to say to transition to the conclusion. I’m so glad this is voluntary and I’m not getting a grade back. That would NOT go over in my English class.

A few things the picture doesn’t show you. I was feeling sick that day which *I* thought was justification for a nap, clearly I was wrong.  I watched at least 1.5 hrs of class, so it’s not like I was sleeping through all of it. Now, are you ready for this? I wasn’t actually asleep, just listening to a podcast. And you see that knife in the bottom right? Later on I actually grabbed that knife just in case (if you’ve been half-heartedly scrolling through and not paying attention, allow me to reiterate, DO NOT TRUST ANYONE NOT TO PRANK YOU! They WILL betray you).

Hey look at that. A well-reasoned explanation that ties in Krav principles and is more than “aaaaaaaah i’m tired let me sleeeep” bet you didn’t expect that! I don’t think I did. I put way too much work into this if only I could do the same for my school work. I’m not kidding I have school tomorrow (actually it’s now tomorrow) and I’m doing this instead of schoolwork. Moral of this story is don’t sleep at Krav if you don’t want people to poke/kick you awake because it’s time for class, or build a FREAKING FORT AROUND YOU! WHY? I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING.

That is all,

Karis out!


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:


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.


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


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.


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?