Posts Tagged ‘Testing’

Hey everyone, my name is Justin, some of you reading this may know me from class as we’ve most likely trained together or I’m sure we will at some point in time if we haven’t as of yet, or maybe you are someone reading this who is just interested in learning Krav Maga. I just wanted to share my experience of Krav Maga with
you and a little bit about my journey. I hope you enjoy the read.

About me

I started Krav Maga with Urban Tactics in the year 2013 and it has been an amazing ride. Amongst going to classes, I have taken part in various seminars and courses around knife survival, knife defense, military krav maga, pistol disarming, and tactical shooting, all of which the UTKM had to offer, and I have also had the pleasure of learning from Moshe Katz who is a 7th dan black belt in Krav Maga and one of Itay Gil’s top students. (I suggest you look them both up if you dont know who they are). I originally joined Krav maga because I have always liked the military approach to hand to hand combat, and what I observed about Krav Maga is that it was very practical, tactical and super effective, and the most applicable self-defense system to get the job done.

Growing up as a kid I have always had this vision of myself being this special forces soldier with a set of ninja skills to take on any opponent, at 8 years old my favourite all-time movie was Commando with Arnold Schwarzenegger (a MUST watch if you haven’t seen.. total classic) I used to want to be just like him and would copy him in every way. I used to walk around wearing army pants, a military camo vest, a green beret, I would paint my face with real army paint that I got from my dad (who was in the military when he was younger) and I would strap up toy guns all over myself along with plastic grenades and I would literally walk around like this. My mother would be so embarrassed and tried to stop me but I wouldn’t take NO for an answer!

As for martial arts, around 13 I did Karate for a very short time but didn’t stick with it. Finally, in my 20s, I started Krav Maga. I still have a vision as I did as a kid, but a little less crazy.

Today much like as a kid I draw inspiration from fictional characters. Examples of my adult inspiration are James Bond, Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer from the show 24. Like them, I aspire to be able to move, think, and enter a combat situation and be able to handle myself like they do and complete the mission!

I think in life it’s great to have a healthy imagination, and I’m a true believer of the quote

“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it”

One of my favourite Bruce Lee quotes that really touches the core of my soul is

“As you see in your heart, So shall you become”

and this last couple year I’ve broken through a lot of barriers mental and physical and I feel like I’m living proof of that. Not to mention my vision for who I feel I’m meant to be is definitely becoming a reality. As for being like JasonBourne, James Bond or Jack Bauer; I am already there in my mind and in my heart, I just need to brush up on some techniques and work on some areas to get my body up to speed! I aspire to be the next upcoming real-life JB. Justin Blinkhorn! and be the best version of myself that I can possibly be. So if you see me in person, you can ask me if I am still moving towards this version of my self so that I can stay accountable. Please keep me on my Krav Maga toes!

My Journey in Krav Maga

I will admit, I wasn’t always consistent in Krav Maga from the beginning, sometimes I let life get in the way and had trouble prioritizing it as much as I could have from the start of my journey. Growing up in the city of Vancouver it’s also very easy to fall into the party life style, I eventually started battling with alcoholism and addiction in my early 20s which was the main issue that hindered my growth and slowed my progress. I have hit a rock bottom quite a few times in my life due to those experiences, but I have learned more from those moments than traveling down any easy road in life.

When you endured adversity through moments of darkness, manage to dig deep within yourself, and climb back out, you will find out what your truly capable of.

To me, that struggle and light at the end is extremely beautiful. Despite the road being tough at times, I’m thankful for the setbacks and the mistakes (which can be our greatest teachers) and I truly believe there is no force powerful enough to ever keep me down, as in this journey and through those struggles I unlocked  superpowers within myself I could have only dreamed of as a child.

In 2016 I saw a movie that really resonated with my life more than I can explain in words. This movie called Man Of Steel (which is the latest Superman remake). When I saw this movie, I saw a character, that if he decided to, could do so much good in the world and despite evil forces trying to corrupt him and lead him astray. He battled his demons, blasted through resistance and became the man he was destined to be. I can relate that movie to my life in so many ways, and to that character in a sense that I aspire to give people hope. If you are someone reading this who is struggling in some sort of way, hang in there and keep fighting, never give up.

Another favourite quote of mine (and Jonathan uses this in class regarding why we do breakfall techniques) is

“Why do we fall Master Bruce?
..so we can learn to pick ourselves up again..” (Story of my life)..

Despite my journey being treacherous at times. It shaped me into the human being I am today and I’m very thankful for it. Struggle and adversity build strength and make us stronger.

Justin in 2013 or 2014

Justin is the farthest face in the background that is visable.

This year has been a special one for me, I woke up one day in January 2018, weighing at 223 pounds, I looked deep in the mirror one morning and said to myself

“The time is now, you know what your capabale of, get after it, lets do this” and since that very day I never looked back.. I’ve currently lost 50 plus pounds,
I am the fittest, fastest and healthiest I have ever been. I have changed my lifestyle in all areas of my life, I’m always eating right, I started running like a mad man, swimming, going to classes and not falling off track, and I tell you one thing, discipline equals freedom! #jockowillink and I am the happiest I’ve ever been.  And all because I changed how I saw myself and my approach from what look in the mirror. If I can do it then so can you!

I want to give a special thank you to Jonathan because he has always pushed me to better myself, and earlier this year he said “tell you what, if you keep coming to class as you have been and you reach that weight goal of yours, we will set up your orange belt test” and right at that moment I was like lets do this ! I knew this year I would take my orange belt test, but I had to prove to Jonathan that I had the consistent dedication with no fluctuations, and I’m grateful he gave me that incentive!

I’ll tell you one thing, there is nothing more frustrating than being a yellow or white belt meeting the minimum requirements but being held back from orange belt because I was not consistent or committed in my training to gain the minimum skill and attitude in order to progress further.

I may have been the senior student that took the longest but it made it that much more special.

Everyone’s journey is different, and I currently just acquired my orange belt and I have 300+hours of training with Urban Tactics under my belt and I feel very confident on my abilities. One thing I also do that’s helped me so much in my life, is tracking, everything from my timing of sleep, what I eat, exercises, Krav Maga, daily routines, etc. So, get a pen a paper, it will help you stay accountable and monitor progress in all areas of your life!

The Orange Belt Test

Coming up to the Orange belt test, I met my weight goal of 170 pounds just a couple days before! The exact day I did my Orange belt test also marked my 6 months sobriety date, which made it that much more meaningful! Believe in yourself, back that belief up with action, and you too will see what the universe will give you in return!

The day of the orange belt test, this was a day I had envisioned for so long. I showed up early, there was a yellow belt assessment going on and this allowed me to warm up. Then it was my turn.

The written part was fairly easy for me as I’ve been going there long enough (I would hope to know these things by now) (lol). Next, we worked on techniques from the white belt to yellow belt curriculum for about an hour or so, I went in with extreme energy right from the beginning and gave it my all. I went full force to the best of my ability, then after that first portion I was definitely getting tired but I knew the next section would need full attention.

The famous Circle Of Power, which also has the nickname “Circle Of Death”, basically for 10 minutes straight you’re in the middle of a big circle of about 10-15 students as they each take a turn coming at you with an attack, everything from boxing, knife threats, knife attacks, chokes, bear hugs, anything and everything. Around the 7 minute mark, one of bigger sized students slipped behind me with a rear-naked choke and was super swift and fast about it and I didn’t see it coming or have time to tuck my chin, I could feel the lock, tight as can be around my throat, now at this very moment you have two options:

One, If they don’t lock it in full you can do a basic escape and counter-attack, but if they are skilled and have you fully locked, you’re in a very dangerous position, (at this moment I was already super tired and when that lockset in I could feel the world
shrinking around me)

There is a second move you can do if they lock it in which is also used as a ‘headlock escape’, that involves: striking the groin, getting them  to bend down and use your other free hand to try and peel their head back hopefully being able to dislodge their grip and take them off balance.

However, this one student wasn’t going to give it to me easy ! I had to strike the groin a couple times but during that moment I wasn’t able to continue engaging, my face was turning blue, and I was in extreme trouble. He finally let me loose and I fell to the ground choking and coughing, but I got right back up again. A few moments later I felt my adrenaline race, and I fought as hard as I could for the last few minutes with passion and energy.

My whole neck and esophagus were sore for about 2 weeks after and I couldn’t swallow without feeling a lump in my throat.

There is a lesson learned: Rear naked chokes can be extremely difficult to deal with and if the assailant is trained with a skillset, and you didn’t see it coming. I don’t care how skilled you think you are,you are in deep trouble! My best advice is be aware of your surroundings, see it before it comes to avoid being in that position; and if its too late; then you need to rely on speed and aggression!

Despite that, the test wasn’t over yet. The final part of my test was five 2 minute sparring rounds with different opponents who are hungry to lay the smackdown and at this point, you are most likely running on an extremely low fuel supply. But at last it was over, I had made it through the battle and got my orange belt! With blood, sweat, and tears, it was well earned, there definitely was some emotion involved that day, very happy emotions!

Krav Maga has served me very well and really symbolises all the things im fighting for in my life and is something I’m very passionate about and definitely occupies a huge space in my heart. Getting my orange belt is essentially just a launchpad. I’m going to keep up the grind and continue working towards being the best Kravist I can be, this is only the beginning. I’m also very passionate about wilderness survival and the outdoors, I aspire to live a life of adventure!

-Written by Justin Blinkhorn UTKM Orange Belt

Justin Orange Belt.jpg

P.S.

As Jonathan suggested I start a UTKM Vancouver running group, so if you want to come running, check out the group on UTKMs Facebook Page. I will be conducting 2-5-10km runs. This year I took running to a whole new level; running up to 50km at a time and I’m looking forward to covering some proper distances this year.. which I find is a huge secret to my success, for body and mind. Jonathan told me recently “When you first came to class, if you had told me you’d be the guy to run 50 kilometers at a time, I would think you are out of your mind!” lol ! #getafterit!

 

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If you are just reading this as a stand-alone, please make sure to go and read “The “Hell” That Was the Dreaded Green Belt Test” by our Student Karis who recently completed the test. This was her account of the test and this post is coming from an instructor perspective and response to her post.

Before I break down Karis’s assement I should Note that at UTKM the green belt test is the hardest tests with regards to basic hand to hand combat. It covers the white belt-Orange Belt curriculum which focuses on unarmed combat and control. It does cover sticks and other weapons of opportunity as well as basic knife defenses. The main goal of the test is to push you physically and mentally and still see if you are able to defend your self when tired and under duress.

For some, this is a nightmare and others just another day, either way, we scale the tests to push each individual according to their limits. What I want to try to do is get you do quit, even though I dont want you to quit. Because of this, it is a hard 3-3.5 hour test that only has a few minutes here and there for rest. Because of this, short of being completely oblivious to the techniques one of the only real ways to fail is to quit. So far out of all 5 people who have done the green belt test, though we broke their spirit they all ended up finishing the test. Karis just happens to be the first woman to do it and she sets the pace for every other female who follows as looking at our student base there will most certainly be more in the coming years.

The other thing is if after reading Karis post you can’t see the angst all over the writing then I will tell you, Karis is still young at 18 so for her, someone who grew up in soft Canada, and still has yet to experience much, this test was particularly difficult. But I am very proud that she didn’t quit and completed the test.

Before the Test

 

In response to her comment “but the test was very painful and I never want to do anything like that again.” She will, of course, do many many more things like this perhaps even harder. Eventually, the higher belt tests will come and oh you know that thing called life which she has barely started…

And yes, our classes really are fun, even though we are pushing you all hard. Especially in the Warrior classes.

Her first hardship with this test was the fact she was supposed to do it in December. She had been diligently preparing training 4-5 days a week including running. She was ready both physically and mentally. Then a few days leading up to it she tripped and sprained her ankle. I recall she was more upset because ” I don’t get hurt.”, some of us found this amusing. I think most of the older people said, “You do now, welcome to aging.” or something along those lines.

Injury can wreak havoc on the psyche, especially if you are used to training all the time. Aside from the fact we had reduced class offerings due to our Richmond location shutting down, it is clear that the injury affected Karis in a way she might not have expected. She lost some motivation and energy. This is normal. Anyone who has ever been injured knows this feeling. But those of us who bounce back fast know you can’t let it get you down and you just have to get back into things as fast as comfortably possible. This was her first mistake. Using the lack of classes available as a reason to let her cardio, and other physical attributes suffer.

When you are less physically ready for a test it means that the inevitable will happen. The mental will be all the harder and for Karis it certainly was.

In a real war, if I quit, people die.” 

This Physical Vs. Mental strength phenomenon is something I learned about in the army. Those who were physically gifted rarely really pushed themselves, thus they knew not what it means to feel the pain that someone who is not physically gifted felt. For someone like my self who is not an athlete, I was constantly fighting a mental battle and fighting through everything just trying to keep up. Those who were physically gifted the odd time they were actually pushed to their limits acted like petulant little children and could barely handle it. For me and others like me, this struggle was real. I remember being told once they looked up to me because they saw how hard it was for me and were surprised I never quite. Which I usually responded, “In a real war, if I quit, people die.” 

This attitude in many ways is what Krav Maga is really about.

The Test

 

Bar-Or: This is a standard IDF test, at least when I was there. You are required to do push-ups, sit-ups and then a 2km run. The 2km distance can be tough because you can’t sprint it but it’s not exactly long distance. Thus if you push yourself it usually quite difficult. For Karis, this was probably the hardest part. She started out great but then nerves, her mind and lack of running prep got in the way. I would say though it was mostly nerves and her mind as I had not run in…I dont know..ow my knees and it wasn’t too bad at all. Thus the mind becomes the killer of dreams sometimes. I had to give her a pep talk, something I am not great at in order to get her not to quit right there.

Written Exam: Compared to everything she has written for the instructor course this was easy but due to her nerves it was harder than she would have imagined. Hmmm, I wonder what kind of sadist makes someone write a test right after they just jacked up someone’s heart rate. WHO DOES THAT!? Well, me of course.

Simple, in the military, police or in life you may encounter a stressor, your heart rate goes up but you still need to function. You still need to write that report, coordinates or work after a fight with your significant other. So really, I guess this part is a test of life and adversity. YAY!

Also in response too “I AM SO SORRY INSTRUCTORS WHO HAD TO TRY TO READ AND GRADE MY TEST, I THOUGHT JON WOULD BE GRADING IT.” Why do you think I made them mark it? I is so SMRT. But no seriously, I need to make sure the other instructors are capable of marking and running these tests as eventually everyone will need to be able to run them without me..so sad :(, I mean GREAT!

Review: Now that her heart rate is down again, time to jack it up. AGAIN! Of course, she doesn’t remember doing the white or yellow belt techniques. Thats because she has done them so many times they are like second nature. Funny how training works like that. Ideally, you get to the point where you no longer think, you just do.

The Orange belt curriculum focuses more on takedowns and controlling the other opponent. So if you dont MAKE THEM COMPLY WITH PAIN COMPLIANCE!!!!! Then this part will be hard. Yes, they are wearing cups, so if they dont react, HIT THEM HARDER because they clearly didn’t learn their lesson the first time! A lesson to everyone who helps out on a test. I dont want you to make it easy but if you aren’t responding at all even after they hit you hard then clearly you have nothing there worth hitting. Just saying… And to anyone testing in the future, there is a reason they are wearing cups. HIT HARDER!

When it came to the Judo she did just fine, of course, it helps Petra does Judo which makes it so much easier. There is nothing harder than doing Judo with new people who are bigger than you. It is oh so much more painful than it needs to be. Lucky Karis!

Body shot only sparring: This is basically a 5-minute Karate style Kumite to soften you up for the rest of the test. Yes, it will hurt, it’s fairly hard hitting with no shots to the face. I don’t know what the complaints are for, its not like I made her do a 100 man Kumite! The more aggressive you are back the more difficult it is for your opponents to be aggressive on you. If you just take it, you will have bruises. Lots of them!!

Notice how being aggressive stops your opponents faster….Just saying. Of course, we are not looking for head kicks or strikes in our Kumite but you know. AGGRESSION!

Circle of Power: This is a fairly standard Krav test. Stand in the middle as people take turns attacking with various attacks. Unlike the Orange Belt one, this one involves taking downs. Get stuck on the ground and you might be there for a while. This is where mental fortitude matters especially if you have no BJJ or grappling background. Say…I remember it says somewhere that you need a BJJ blue belt or equivalent to get a UTKM Black Belt. This may take most people a while, but if you start it early BEFORE your green belt then it’s much easier. Of course, Karis did BJJ but has not continued since we shut down the Richmond school so I guess she is rusty…

Yes, some people are bigger than you but that doesn’t matter. I regularly roll with guys who have 20-30-40-50 lbs on me and I still give them a challenge because I am not going to let them just sit on me for an entire round because who the hell wants that. AGGRESSION! Even if you are exhausted by this point in the test. Additionally, I STRONGLY encourage ALL women students to take of BJJ early in their self-defense training. Combine it with your Krav and you will be unstoppable.

Sparring with Takedowns: My test evaluation grading book thing says I got one, but I got two. That’s all I have to say. “I dunno I saw one…maybe 2 but you know I have old eyes… This part of the test is Hard. Because not only are you tired, you need to attempt to use all the techniques you have to control opponents in rapid succession. The record for this section is 3 out of 5. OH, and you need to control them on the ground for 3-5 seconds before you get to rest. Take the entire round and you get no rest.

Conclusion & Advice

 

There was most certainly blood sweat and tears. I will deviate from her post and give my own conclusion and advice. Karis is one of the most dedicated and hard-working students, if not the most dedicated and hard working students we have ever had. She more than anyone deserved this belt as for her the entire journey was a struggle. YES WARREN (Warren Chow is a contributor and UTKM Green Belt student), this includes you. Unlike Warren, Karis did not have a lifetime of experience and martial arts to draw from when the test became difficult mentally.

Karis is an inspiration to any of the other students because she is always there and always training. Like me, I would not say she is physically gifted or naturally athletic but she puts in the work and thus she gets the results. To any students who think they cant do they test then you dont know its simply a matter of showing up and training. Eventually, you too will get there.

If you had asked me when Karis first showed up if she would have been our first female Green Belt I wouldn’t have believed it. Karis came to us when she was 15 and despite living so far from the school (often bussing 2-3 hours to train) she still kept coming. She was a scrawny teen with bad posture and yet she has come so far.

She now stands up straight and kicks ass like no other. We did and do have other females who are Orange belts and started well before Karis but they either stopped training, moved away or take far to much time off. This is a classic example of the Tortis and the Hare. Constant, consistent pace will get you there in the long run and that she did.

If you have not also read her other posts she is also working towards being an Assistant instructor at UTKM. A process that is arguably harder than the green belt because IT TAKES SO DAMN LONG! Sucks that I have standards. OH WELL, better instructors for all you students. YAY!

Anyways. Karis did great despite the setbacks at the beginning. She overcame and didn’t Quit and thats what matters. She has a lifetime ahead of her to continue growing and improving and by the time she’s my age, she will probably be kicking my ass.

Let her be an inspiration to you all and I wish that you to may all learn to walk in peace.

Note: IF YOU DONT WANT YOUR NAME SPELT INCORRECTLY ON YOUR CERTIFICATES MAKE SURE ITS SPELT RIGHT IN THE SYSTEM….Just saying.

The “Hell” That Was the Dreaded Green Belt Test

Posted: February 28, 2019 by karisblog180560859 in Testing
Tags: , , ,

Editors Note: Karis is the first female and at 18 (The minimum age for a UTKM adult green belt) the youngest person to achieve green belt at UTKM. This is her account of her test. The mind of a teenager is always quite entertaining. Lead instructor Jon will be writing a follow-up post from the instructors perspective next week.

 I recently took the UTKM green belt test. I figured since Jon (UTKM Lead Instructor) is always bothering the instructors and me (even though I’m not an instructor yet) to write blog posts, I should probably write something about how terrible it was. Well, I guess it was also rewarding, but the test was very painful and I never want to do anything like that again. Ever. So excited to see what is planned for the blue belt test. But hey, that’s probably at least four more years away. For me at least. I would actually be excited for someone else to get a blue belt. As long as I’m not suffering, it’s fine.

If you are new to the school or Krav Maga, don’t freak out and worry that classes are really hard and all the tests are super challenging. The tests ARE hard, but they start out easier and get harder as you move up the ranks. The instructors also make sure you are prepared and know the techniques before allowing to test. More on that later. Also, did I mention classes are actually really fun?

Now, I was originally planned to take my test sometime in December. That time, I was actually preparing. I was going to ALLLLL the classes, doing push-ups at home, and I actually ran a few times. But with less than a week to go I sprained my ankle and the test had to be pushed back. The second time around and I was an idiot who barely prepared. The Richmond gym had closed so I was attending fewer classes. I was busy with school and work, transiting everywhere and getting home late and exhausted. If you are a student at a university, do not sign up for any classes before ten am. They are hell, and you will hate yourself. I also really hate running. I could have made time to prepare, but I didn’t and of course, I wound up regretting it.

The Test

 

BAR OR: So you start off with push ups, sit ups, and then you get to run for two kms. How exciting. I honestly thought I would fail the push-ups, but I got to 40 which was further then I had dared hope for. The situps were more tiring then I expect, but come on, anyone can do sit-ups, so that part went fine. The fun part came when I stood up and my arms and legs were tired, and I had to run. I’ve mentioned my hatred of running. Well, it went terribly. I may have puked (I did). I felt really dizzy at one point near the end. I was walking for at least the last fourth of the test. To me, that was proof that I wasn’t actually ready and I shouldn’t be doing the test. If I couldn’t even do the “easy” part, how was I going to survive everything else? Throughout the entire test, that was when I was mentally at my lowest point. I wanted to quit, and I told Jon I shouldn’t be doing this. His response was to yell (Editors note: it was more aggressive motivation) at me, which did work, so thanks. I think what he said was something like it’s all in my head, don’t overthink it, and probably something about my confidence. I don’t know. It was a long test.

WRITTEN EXAM: So after that mess was the written test. The questions themselves were easy, but I took too long on the multiple choice/true or false questioning and barely finished on time. I should have been faster, but I was rereading some of them and not as focused as I could have been. So for the written questions, I was rushing to complete all of them and definitely lost points that I could have had if I had more time. My writing was also a mess, literally. I AM SO SORRY INSTRUCTORS WHO HAD TO TRY TO READ AND GRADE MY TEST, I THOUGHT JON WOULD BE GRADING IT. The written test was probably the easiest part. If you’ve been to a ton of classes and heard Jon’s lectures, you’ll know the stuff. Just make sure you move quickly. Twenty minutes sounds longer then it is.

REVIEW: So off to review everything I’ve learned. I’m pretty sure the white belt stuff was fine. As a colour belt, it would probably be a problem if I didn’t know any of those techniques. I don’t remember how the yellow belt techniques went, but I definitely remember the orange. Who can forget being squished multiple times (cough cough QUINN). We avoid the ground for a reason. I would get my arms stuck under someone, and then try to free them so I could actually do something. Unfortunately, to others it would appear like I’m not doing anything and I’d get yelled at to keep fighting. IT’S HARD TO FIGHT WHEN YOU CAN’T MOVE. Also aggression. One of my biggest problems. I just don’t like hurting people. I actually had to repeat a lot of the techniques because I wasn’t being aggressive enough. I also had to stop and think about what to do with certain attacks. We practice the yellow belt stuff more than the orange, and I was unsure on some of it.

The judo throws had worried me, but I did manage to do them correctly (at least by Krav standards). I’m sure practitioners of Judo would be able to spot errors in my form. It also really helps that I got to throw Petra, who knows how to be thrown and how to break fall. Speaking of, Petra I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to throw you so hard. I don’t care if we aren’t supposed to say sorry in Krav, I can and will apologize for things. Fight me (please don’t, I have too many bruises). One thing I knew I wasn’t going to succeed at doing was using oblique kicks to block kicks. I don’t like doing this. I find it awkward and difficult to time correctly. It’s not something I would ever attempt in a real fight. I was okay with failing to properly demonstrate it as I knew I could do most of the other stuff.

BODY SHOT ONLY SPARRING: What even is pain? THIS. Ohhhh this part was horrible. I was tired, but I had to go five minutes with people hitting me. Sure, technically I could hit back but I was trying to avoid getting hit and just survive it. This hurt. So much. Remember that while I’m tired and can’t hit very hard, everyone else still had lots of energy. This is probably where most of the bruises came from. Karch was definitely the worst one to face. I was terrified of fighting Jon because he’s scary and very good. Also, Quinn because like I’ve mentioned he’s bigger and stronger than me, as well as being good. Hahaha nope. Karch just kept hitting very fast and very hard. He actually demonstrated retzev really well. Having to keep standing and taking hits was exhausting. Oof. I don’t know if I can articulate how painful that was. When it was over I sat down and tears started pouring down my face. I think I cried after the circle of death and takedown sparring too. I’m not sure why, if it was a delayed reaction to the pain or I was feeling overwhelmed. Maybe the test did break me. Petra and Devon, another assistant instructor and fellow student, would come to encourage me whenever I had the chance to rest, which I’m really grateful for.

CIRCLE OF POWER: The circle of power or as we call it the circle of death is named so for a reason. For anyone lucky enough to not know what it is, you stand in the middle of a circle of attackers. They attack you in different ways, you defend, and on the green belt have to take them down. It goes for ten minutes. This at first seemed to go so slowly. I looked at the clock two minutes in and didn’t know if I would be able to finish. I know I was lethally stabbed a few times (Editors note: Not really, they were just flesh wounds).

Just a flesh wound.jpg

My takedowns got really bad as I was just grabbing people and trying to spin/slam them down (tip: this doesn’t work very well). And then bear hugs. In case you were wondering, it is terrifying to be suddenly lifted into the air several feet (if not more) of the ground. This is why I tried to avoid any of the bigger guys to not come to my test (They ignored it my request.) If only that worked. Again, the ground sucks. But it’s not as bad when they don’t know what they are doing. The requirement for a blue belt in BJJ or grappling equivalent to obtaining your black belt in (UTKM) Krav is, in my opinion, a valid and important requirement. Also, when I kick you in the groin, please react, or I will keep kicking harder. Learn the first time!

SPARRING WITH TAKEDOWNS: My test evaluation grading book thing says I got one, but I got two. That’s all I have to say. Joking. I did get two, but oh well. This section was like normal sparring, but I had to try and take the person to the ground and hold them there for three seconds in a controlled fashion. Originally my goal was just stay standing, so I think two takedowns was pretty good. I wasn’t going to be able to take down anyone much bigger than me. I didn’t have the energy for the aggression I needed. Also, small teen vs guys bigger and stronger than her. You should know if you’ve been around for a while that physics does matter. Near the end, I was just trying to keep moving and avoid being hit as much as possible.

Conclusion & Advice

 

So some blood, puke, tears, and sweat later, here we are. The test was very challenging and painful, but when is life not? I did get my green belt, thankfully. I now have permission to laugh in the face of any newbie who tries to correct me (mansplaining, google it). By permission I mean that no one has told me that I CAN’T do that. (Editors note: She can’t. She will, of course, be helpful and polite as is seen with her many apologies) It will happen. Honestly, if you aren’t a colour belt I’m probably going to ignore your opinion (Editors note: what she means to say is, listen carefully and try to learn something new from every encounter.) I didn’t attend all those classes and suffer through all the tests to be told I’m doing something wrong. Trust me, if I was doing a technique incorrectly, it would have been caught a few belts ago. Leave me alone. (Editors note: She says this but will gladly kick you in the groin when the time is right)

To anyone who is going to take one of the belt tests, here’s my advice. Firstly, work on your cardio, aka the thing I never do and then always regret not doing. None of the tests are easy. They will challenge you. You will be helping yourself by preparing. Speaking of, make sure you know everything that you are being tested on. Not only do you need to be able to demonstrate the techniques properly, but you also need to be able to answer questions about when you might use them, etc. Lucky you, there are things to help with this now. The student workbooks, and the pre-tests. The workbooks have everything that will be on the test, so make sure you mark off when you learn something. And if you don’t know something or aren’t comfortable with it, you can practice it at the pre-test. The pre-test is just there to show you where you are at and show you what you need to work on. 

Shing ga tai.jpg

Shin gi Tai

Those are the physical and technical aspects, but there’s also the mental part (shin gi tai! Hey look I remembered something). The tests probably seem really daunting by now. They should be taken seriously, but remember that you will not be allowed to test unless an instructor thinks you are ready. The pre-tests will really help with this, as they give the instructors a better idea of how ready you are. So if you are taking a test, instructors who have experience with this (way more than you) believe you can pass. Don’t quote me on this, but the main ways you will fail a test are if you quit (or are injured to a point where you can’t continue), or you are fatally stabbed too many times.

Reading this may not convince you, I know hearing similar things didn’t help me, but try to believe it. The instructors want you to do your best on the tests and that may involve being held back for the next one or being pushed out of your comfort zone. It may be unpleasant, but hey, just don’t die. I managed it, so you can.

To everyone who came out to cheer me on, thank you. I appreciate the time you gave up to be there. All the horrible people who came to beat me up, I have nothing to say to you. Just know that I highly dislike you and will be there at your next test 🙂 Finally, please never say stuff like “I want to fight everyone who thought I should be an instructor on my green belt”. Especially to Jon. He will remember and you will fight them and it will suck. You will be too tired for rage and end up fighting more colour belts then you needed to.

-Karis

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Karis after her Green Belt test (See she looks happy and full of energy, I guess the test was not that hard) Left to right: Karch, Jon, Karis, Petra, Dave 

Belts: What are they good for?

Posted: January 15, 2019 by Jonathan Fader in Krav Maga and Other Martial Arts
Tags: , , ,

The subject of belts and ranking is like so many things a complicated thing because though they are supposed to be straight forward they can mean different things to different people. In Krav Maga, it is no different. There are those who follow the original belt system developed originally for Judo, like us. There are those who follow the Patch system originally developed in the great split of the 90s when IKMF was formed. There are those who say there should be no ranking cuz it does not matter on the street. And there are those who came from a different martial arts background and simply took the ranking system for that and used it for Krav Maga.

Let’s Start at the beginning. Originally there was simply student and master and some way to indicate the difference other than skill. Then as martial arts started to popularize and become more about sport and less about life or death there needed to be a way to track progress and differentiate both skill and time at practice. At some point in the late 20s or 30s Judo’s founder created more or less the modern belt system. And that was that. From there on almost every martial arts style adopted some form of the progressive ranking system using colored belts or sashes. In a lot of styles each colour represents something other than the physical, it others it simply means the next stage.

Back to Krav Maga. If you have read into UTKM a little more you would know when we developed our curriculum we stuck with the traditional belt system as we believe to the lamen it is easier to understand than the patch system. The patch system was developed to appeal to the more military oriented nature of Krav Maga but to most people trying to explain this system can be a bit annoying. But everyone understands what a white or brown or black belt is. So in following Krav Magas original nature, we decided to keep it simple. Additionally, if Krav Maga is simple then we shouldn’t need so many levels to get through the curriculum. Advanced progress can simply be marked by Dans anyways, which are more an indication of continued progress, skill and dedication than anything else.

To the people who say there shouldn’t be ranks, I would say that they really dont understand humans. People who say this usually come from a special forces background and are already physically, and potentially mentally stronger than most people. They may find themselves in a new school and doing far better than average. Thus, due to ego, they feel they deserve more. But they are forgetting that ranks are far more than just skill. They are right though. There are no belts on the street (unless you are wearing one and use it as a weapon of the opportunity of course!) but this is a two-way street. Being a high rank doesn’t matter if you are overwhelmed and being a low rank doesn’t matter if you escape to safety. But humans are funny creatures and we like to measure everything, including our progress. We also like to compare to other people of similar ranks. We are social creatures and thus we crave a system with earnable measurable progression in relation to those around us.

To the last group of people who teach Krav Maga but use some other or random ranking system you are either being disrespectful or care more about business than the actual style, you are teaching. Just my 2 cents and I’ll leave it at that.

So, Belts. What are they even good for?

The obvious has already been stated; Measurable progression. But what does that even mean? One thing to consider is one of UTKMS main goals, to produce people, not belts. People are the product of a school, not their ranks. A belt usually indicates both the completion of minimum time and practical requirements accompanied by an acceptable demonstration of skill for the level in question.

For example, did they show the required attendance or attitude? Did they show the required skills? Did they pass the test? In some systems, it’s simply a matter of going through the motions. In others like ours, we expect you to be able to show us you can really defend yourself while tired and at each level adding the additional skills you have learned at each new level.

Simple, yes? well no. I could have 2 yellow belts, that both passed the test but one is clearly better than the other. This should not discourage anyone, rather show an individual that there are those bigger stronger and faster and that for them the best self-defense is avoidance knowing there are such people out there. Unfortunately, due to our nature, this often discourages people.

In styles with competitions this certainly can be very discouraging but in Krav Maga, it should not. The difference without the sports aspect, the only reason you should be wanting to progress is for yourself. Though really, this sentiment should be applied to all styles. So if you are stuck at a certain rank for a long time all it means is show up more and train harder.

The reality is, self-defense is for your self. It is so that you know what you are capable of in any given situation and you have the confidence to do something should the need arise.

At UTKM we break the skills up based on rank. Beginner is the white belts. Novice is yellow and orange, and advanced is green and up.

When it comes to Krav Maga everyone always wants to lean the fancy stuff which is what a lot of Israeli Instructors focus on. But again, if you are not special forces then you are not a naturally gifted individual physically and mentally and we need to build you up properly so that you don’t hurt your self overestimating your ability.

This is why I believe in ranks. To let you know where you are at so that you dont get overwhelmed in conflict and focus more on the avoidance and situational awareness.

If you can barely punch or kick, then learning to do gun disarms (though easy from a technical standpoint) may just be dangerous. I know you imagine yourself the next John Wick or Hit Girl (Links contain Violence and language) but being delusional is just plain dangerous. I know it hurts your ego to hear this but when it comes to self-defense and your life, there is no room for such things. If you want to learn the cool stuff then put in the time, show us you can do it and you too can learn.

But I want to feel I progressed now!

7 ranks, as a basic, should seem like enough? Or is it too much? BJJ only has 5 ranks. Yet BJJ is quickly becoming one of the more popular styles globally. One thing they understood, is that people are impatient and want to see marked progress now. So they added 4 additionally tape stripes per rank, and even more for the kids. Unlike the days of old where progress meant surviving a life or death battle today just means feeling useful, and happy with a sense of purpose. Before our purpose was just trying to survive. But now our purpose may mean getting to the next rank in a given style. The thing is people are more and more impatient no thanks to social media.

Enter the stripe or half progression. Now people seem to expect progression from JUST showing up. If I show up I will get another stripe. Thus it feeds our ego and our need for acceptance among other things. Yet going this way often dilutes the style. Fortunately, BJJ is still holding strong but there are concerns that standards will fall if ranks are given out too often and too easily. But does it even matter if it’s not about life or death? I think it does still at least.

For Krav Maga, it still is about life or death, survival and much more. There really is no room for ego. Yet if many schools want to survive they need to give the people what they want? right? Well no. If you as a Krav Maga school do your best to remind people why they are leanrning then it should be less about their next rank and more about how they feel about their own progress.

Are they better today than they were yesterday? Delayed gratification goes a long way especially if you ever need to use Krav in a real-life scenario.

I know you want your next rank, I do too (in BJJ) but I care less about the rank now and more about getting better and so should you.

A rank, a belt, a stripe is simply a milestone in a journey. It is not always about skill, but it is definitely about time and attitude.

If you feel you deserved the next rank but haven’t gotten it just stick to it, remind yourself why you started in the first place. In Krav, the reasons are often a little more than just I always wanted to do it, or I just want to do something fun while getting in shape. Often it is things like, I was assaulted, My house was broken into or I was bullied. If those are any of the reasons you came to Krav then the rank doesn’t matter at all.

So remember, no matter what rank you are. It’s about building people ( yourself) not just about getting another belt color or stripe. Check your ego at the door, and just keep training and like everything in time, your next rank will come.

Karch Bear hug yellow belt testEvery once in a while a certain debate about a certain subject arises at UTKM. The debate between which belt test is more difficult, the yellow belt test or the orange belt test.  The simple provocation to answer that the orange belt test would be more difficult since it is the higher ranking belt test would be too easy of an answer. Where my argument would atone that the yellow belt test was the harder of the two since most people (including myself) are not mentally ready for the physical and mental exertion of their first UTKM belt test. In which by no means a simple feat, and one should feel damn proud after completing one. On March 31st of this year, I had the great pleasure of receiving my orange belt and my assistant instructor certification with 2 fellow students, the journey was not short I had many lessons and bumps that I had to experience before I was anywhere close to being the person I am today, my story begins like anyone else in the martial arts world: white belt.

the variable situations where shit can immediately hit the fan are many to infinite.

June 9th, 2016. The Beginning:

Was any other hot summer day, the birds were out chirping, the children were out playing, and people were getting their groins kicked out at UTKM. Just another regular day, right? June 9th, 2 years ago was the day I decided to join and try out this so-called “Krav Maga”.  At this point in my life, I had stopped doing Martial Arts and or anything combat related. I was having a difficult time trying to find a self-defense system that made sense. Now you must be asking what I mean by a self-defense system that makes sense, well a lot of martial arts assume and practice situations that simulate a predetermined situation. For example, the idea that criminals or desperate vagrants will attack you fairly that they will fight with “honor”, where in reality we’re not fighting inside a ring and anything can happen, someone could pull out a knife or a gun, there could be multiple assailants, someone might have past experienced in martial arts, the variable situations where shit can immediately hit the fan are many to infinite. This is where I believe Krav Maga really shines, it takes all these what-if scenarios and simplifies them to the base core of what all self-defense should be: the prioritization of survivability and common sense. Which brings me back to my first day of Krav, where a group of students and myself were told to surround another student who was about to do there yellow belt test. Each student that was outside the circle was given a move to perform whether it was straight punches, an overhand attack with a knife, and the student in the middle was supposed to defend against all incoming attacks. After 5 minutes straight of attacking the poor soul that was stuck in the middle and getting my groin severely kicked a couple of dozen times the only thought that went through my mind was “holy shit, this is crazy”, I knew exactly that this was what I wanted to practice. I wanted to be that badass in the middle of the circle being able to defend himself from what this crazy world had to throw, so began the training.

I personally believe that those 70 hours were some of the most crucial and important lessons you will carry with you in your life and if you choose to continue down the path of a Kravist.

White Belt:

252000 seconds, 4260 minutes, 70 hours. 70 hours is the minimum length of time of training you must acquire before you are asked to do your yellow belt test. This is not including achieving the acquired amount of time you need sparring, volunteering in a yellow belt test, and being able to prove to one of your instructors that you are ready to try and survive a UTKM belt test. I personally believe that those 70 hours were some of the most crucial and important lessons you will carry with you in your life and if you choose to continue down the path of a Kravist. Here are some of the challenges and lessons I learned in those 70 hours:

  • Stay humble, seriously I cannot stress this one enough. Leave your pride at the door, this doesn’t only apply to the UTKM gym but everywhere else you go in life. Someone is always going to be a little better, faster, younger, smarter than you, accept it. That’s life. You’ll learn more if you accept the fact that you might not know everything this world has to offer.
  • Stay standing, stay alive. It’s as simple as it sounds. The ground will do you no favors, your movements become restricted. you lose sight of your environment which brings me to my next point.
  • If there is one bad guy there is a good chance that there is 2 more. I mean what kind of bad guy fights without his henchmen?
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. If you know whats going around you, you could avoid a dangerous situation entirely.

if your fundamentals are weak you will definitely have a difficult time mastering the new techniques.

Yellow Belt:

The yellow belt is where all the basics you’ve learned comes and merges together. Not just techniques but also all the basic principles of how you should be thinking when you’ve been placed in a situation where you must defend your self. During this stage of your UTKM training, you will continue to perfect your training while learning more advanced techniques.  And after another grueling 70 hours, you will eventually be tasked with taking on the orange belt test, but first, what did I manage to learn in those 70 hours of yellow belt:

  • The basics are important if your fundamentals are weak you will definitely have a difficult time mastering the new techniques.
  • Still, continue going to white belt classes.
  • If you’re a smaller person (like myself) you will have to up your aggression, out-crazy the crazy. Physics will not be your friend here. Do not stop fighting ever.

Orange belt and now:

And now we have reached the present. I have overcome many challenges in the past 2 years that I have been with UTKM, and I expect more to come. The training and the people I have met have changed my perspective on life and generally how I view things. I can walk confidently down the street knowing that I have the tools to protect myself and those I care about. I can walk into a classroom and write an exam with zero anxiety, knowing that I have overcome greater challenges and this is just another challenge I will conquer.

Stay fearless, and walk with pride so that you too, may walk in peace. Until the next time

Karch T.

Over the past year or so you may have noticed posts on this blog about students who have finished the ranking tests at UTKM. Many of them are written by Instructor candidates before or after they are certified. Of course, the latter group definitely does it out of there own free will and not as a requirement of the course….

Here are a few in case you forgot.

nnnoooooo-youre-not-ready.jpgTo me, these posts are extremely important. They give students an opportunity to express in writing how they felt mentally and physically about testing, but more importantly, give a glimpse into what other students can expect.

In the Krav world, testing and ranking vary from intensive multi-day tests to no testing and no ranking. To me ranking is important. First of all, it is a natural human behaviour to want, crave or need some indication of progress to show consciously and obviously that yes there is a purpose to walking away bruised, tired and sometimes emotionally drained.

If you follow us regularly you will know our tests are not easy. There is a reason for these. While I fully understand the need of people to feel accomplished and have a sense of progress to stay motivated the thing is if you are learning Krav Maga so that you can defend yourself you need to be able to show you have what it takes to really defend yourself.

Our tests focus less on techniques and more on pushing you to your physical and mental limits so that you can show us you truly have what it takes to survive a real unexpected violent encounter. You should not just be learning krav for fun or to get in shape but doing so knowing you may need to use it in a terrible scenario.

Because of this I really dont want people to do the tests who I feel are not ready. I know you want to feel accomplished, I know you want to get to the more advanced classes but the reality is if I am holding you back its because you are not getting a certain aspect of Krav Maga or self defense in general. Maybe you are not aggressive enough, maybe you just are showing sufficient skill or maybe you have not been training consistently.

Without fail, the people who almost always come close to failing are the people who ask to be tested.

I also do not want to see you fail especially as the tests are so hard. So far we have not had anyone fail but that’s because we decide when someone is ready and we are usually correct. Occasionally someone who I didn’t consider for a test tells me they are ready and sometimes I let them do the test. Without fail, the people who almost always come close to failing are the people who ask to be tested.

Trust me I will feel terrible if I have to fail someone, but I will do it if you fail because in the end of the day I am 100% against giving people a false sense of security in a persons ability to defend themselves. If you are unwilling to spar, or unwilling to put in the time to train. If you prioritize other aspects of your life and are not consistent with your training please do not ask to be tested. It is for your own good.

Yes, I will like you to have the ability to defend yourself, and yes I would like to have more advanced students but I am sorry, please do not harass me or the other instructors because you need to feel special that you are allowed to test. Personally, I think I need to get stricter and if you ask to be tested without being prompted to do so I really should just automatically not let you test until a later date.

I dont want to see you fail, but if you do it will be for your own good.

So show up and train, put in the time, don’t argue with the instructors about not wanting to do a certain aspect of the training (Baring injury) and show us you can push yourself past your comfort zones. If you cant, then you may be a forever white belt, or yellow belt because you need to show us you are committed to learning proper Self Defense combatives which also includes your attitude.

So when you are ready, you will be asked to be tested.

Well, first thing I’d like to say is that Warren (A UTKM Green Belt Student.) lied to me. “The orange belt is easier than the yellow belt!’ You know, for an older, pleasant-seeming fellow, Warren is probably quite, quite evil. It is to be expected, he is a Green belt.
UTKM only really has three belts. Yellow, Orange and Green. There are more above Green, but everyone who has tried, has died. Well, not died, but, you know, not made it yet. Perhaps one day, if they learn immortality.
Editors Note: No one has died at UTKM. This is Andrews dark sense of humour. also, we havent been open that long for anyone to train long enough to achieve the higher belts where we go past the basics of hand to hand combat and start to look into more specific applications like police and military. For most people, the orange or green belt is enough but for those serious about expanding their knowledge in the area of use of force then this is where it’s at. Additionally we currently only have 4 green belts, only warren is regularly still at the school.
Yellow, Orange and Green. I personally think Orange should be Red. Not just because it looks like stop-lights that way, but because the Orange belt test did that to my brain about twenty minutes in. Stopped it. It’s already red (ish) because, you know, brain.
Editors note: Possibly a reference to the awareness colour code? but we are never quite sure with Andrew.
 A Yellow belt test is about mental toughness and determination with basic technique. An Orange belt has you demonstrate the advanced technique, then takes it away from you and sees if you can make it. Then demands technique again. The Greenbelt test is a lovely combination of all this, while maintaining advanced technique at all times.  Good fun.
So the Orange belt is half-way through UTKMs punishing belt regime. After Green, it’s less about testing for physical and mental toughness and more refining and learning. You’ve proven you can take what is dished out and how.
Things like tough belt tests are an excellent motivator not to get in real-life fights.
Andrew does 360

Andrew during testing

Things like tough belt tests are an excellent motivator not to get in real-life fights. You are reminded that not all will go as planned. That training and technique can only go so far when you are winded and repeatedly being punched in the face. You’re wearing a head protector, but that head protector only does so much, as my black eye attested. Looked cool though.

The second reality is the first time it starts to get hard and you have to recommit to pushing through, realising that the only way out -is- through.
157213-Fight-Through-The-Bad-Days.jpg
Editors Note: If you have ever wondered why lead instructor Jonathan Fader is the way he is, it is because he takes this very krav approach to life.
Krav is about always learning and re-learning, and about giving up ideas for harsh reality. The harsh realities of a demanding test come in several, equally-delicious flavours. First, you take that first step and make it to the test. The precipice moment. Comes and goes quickly, but you must still psych yourself up in order to get to it. The second reality is the first time it starts to get hard and you have to recommit to pushing through, realising that the only way out -is- through. Finally, when and if you’ve run out of endurance and technique, is the pure guts part. Just keep marching or fighting, one step after another.
Real fighting also has a precipice moment – one we teach you to spot early in Krav and if you do decide to take the step, do it before the other guy does. Preferably you see it coming and turn aside, but if you have to do it, do it fast and commit.
After that commit point, a real-life, no-rules fight can go anywhere. It can be over in a punch or two or be a ten minute struggle for dominance. It can end with a fast stab and you can spend twenty minutes trying not to bleed to death. We can only train you so much for those moments, but what we -can- do is teach you that if you -do- learn to push through and fight on, your chance of success goes way, way up.
 UTKM belt tests are not only a test of your technique and perseverance, but a reminder of how punishing and unpredictable a real life fight can be. And why you should avoid them when possible – and destroy when not.
So that’s what Orange belt tests are like. Learn to succeed through toughness when technique fails. Can’t wait to see what Green belt is like – apparently, you have to have technique even when tall men are repeatedly kicking you around. Should be interesting.
Oh yes and I got my Assistant Instructors Certificate so now I may pois..polish young minds. And old minds. And any mind that doesn’t manage to escape my reach in time…
Editors note: The assistant instructor course takes 6 months-1 year in addition to regular Krav Maga training, Just like our belts our instructor’s course is not for factory instructors but those who are committed to both Krav Maga technique but also and mostly the knowledge that makes a good instructor.

Here we go, my orange belt test.

To begin with – I was incredibly nervous, I did not want to fail. Everybody was sharing their stories about how hard and horrible the test was which did not help my anxiety. I tried to train for it, Jon helped me to get my conditioning up but then I got injured, I strained a muscle in my hip. Very annoying location for that. So I rested but after a week or so I picked up training again. I tried to train more days to make up for what I missed but that wasn’t the greatest idea either. I felt really bummed out that I struggled so hard physically. Yes, I’m not in my twenties anymore but still, come on you old corpse! Well, yelling at myself also didn’t work.

I also did some trial runs in the gym to familiarize myself with the “circle of death“. Let’s face it – I sucked at it!

Editors Note: The “the circle of death” as some affectionately call it is a component of both the Orange and Green Belt tests and is common in Krav Maga testing. 

With all these things on mind, the days before the test were hard on me. I doubted myself, I didn’t want to fail and I spiralled down into the black hole that so far I was able to avoid.

Andrew (Fellow Assistant Instructor Candidate) helped me a lot during those days, we trained together, worked our way through the curriculum for white and yellow, and talked. What would be the worst case scenario?

I could fail. Working on becoming an assistant instructor failure was not an option for me. I didn’t want to lose students’ respect. I also didn’t want to disappoint people  – Jon, Andrew, Karch, myself …

Petra Success

Petra Post-test Exhausted but victorious

At the end – I made it, and I was incredibly relieved and I felt I really earned that orange belt!

 

During the last part of the test, the sparring – whenever I hit my opponent and people cheered – that was a first for me and I enjoyed it a lot. So thank you to all of you who were there that day!

For people who are going for their yellow or orange belt – make sure you know the curriculum (I know, it is mostly about pushing through and not to give up, but knowing the curriculum helped me a lot, at least one section of the test I felt confident), read the UTKM blog and work on your conditioning. For the test itself, energy control is crucial. Know yourself and your body, know your limits. But also understand that your body is telling you to give up way before your energy reserves are empty. That is the mental part – telling yourself to keep going, to not give up. It always sounds so easy when people say that but in reality, it is hard. It is a roadblock in your head and fighting your own brain is tough. And it is ok to fail – we (including myself) tend to forget that. Sometimes the way how you deal with failure says a lot more than winning. And it is ok to ask for help. If you are unsure about a technique or just want to go over it again – ask the person you feel most comfortable with.

In Judo we always say there is no shame in falling, only if you don’t get up again.

Why DO we Fall BruceEditors Note: When It comes to testing sometimes we really aren’t sure with who will struggle and who will make it look easy, often we are quite surprised as to who does what on both ends of the spectrum. Leading up to the test we can assure you Petra was having a hard time both physically and mentally and it was definitely a low point for Petra (“A fall”). But when it came test day her performance was almost flawless. It was clearly difficult for her but in true Krav Maga and warrior fashion she sucked it up for the duration of the test. Petra is an inspiration to not just women but all Krav Maga practitioners. Difficult, does not mean impossible. And falling either mentally or physically should always be a learning experience. For those who do not get up again are doomed to fail, but those who brush themselves off and keep going to learn and grow will always continue to succeed.

What Success Looks Like

Posted: May 1, 2018 by Jonathan Fader in Krav Maga Philosophy
Tags: , , , ,

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.

Up Coming Seminars & Tests – March 2018

Posted: March 1, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Seminars
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March 17st Knife SurvivalMarch 24th Rifle 01March 31st Orange Belt TestApril 01 Nanaimo Krav Maga Seminar