The Little Things Matter In Krav Maga Training

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The Little Things Matter In Krav Maga Training

Guest Post By EVKM Student Abby Huot

When you’re trying to get in the best shape of your life, it’s important to remember that everything is aggregate in terms of your goal. We all know we need to eat well, drink a gallon of water or more, and get plenty of sleep. Those are easy, and yet, so many people skip those simple steps. But what about even smaller ones? Do those matter too?

The answer is resounding “YES!”. Corner-cutting and getting sloppy almost always creates more problems later down the line. Sure, you can get away with it for a while, but it almost always catches up to us whether it’s in work performance, relationships, or even keeping your home clean. Little things add up fast, and little things can create lifestyle changes (positively or negatively) before you know it. If you drink too much coffee in lieu of getting adequate sleep, you can burn out your adrenal glands and raise your cortisol levels, making losing fat almost impossible. If you’re mowing down candy regularly, you can burn out your body’s regular insulin resistance levels. But what about even smaller things, and how does this concept apply to Krav Maga?

For the last few weeks, I’ve either been sick, dealing with a back injury, or dealing with a potpourri assortment of WTF in my adult life. January and February have not been particularly easy for me. I was forced to take it easy when I didn’t want to, but I knew it would either prolong my illness time or perpetuate my existing injuries. I had to sit out. I didn’t have a choice. (I also didn’t want to spread my germs to fellow EVKMers.)  I finally came back to train last week and felt functional and normal again.

Because I’d missed two weeks of training, I felt weak and a bit “off”. My belt test is going to be in April and I’ve been agonizing over not being refined enough in my technique to pass. Am I aggressive enough? Am I proficient enough? I know it’s the Level 1 test and many would say that I shouldn’t worry too much, but I do. I’m not a perfectionist by nature, but I do take pride in my athleticism and drive, and I want it to show on the mats of EVKM when it’s my turn. That being said, I made the decision that I needed to focus on improving my striking and made the choice to work more on punching and less on palm heel strikes.

For the second time in the last 5 months, I banged up my pinky knuckle last week. A split between my second and third knuckle finally healed enough where I felt comfortable enough to begin punching pads and focus mitts, and I almost immediately bruised up my hand. I returned to palm heel strikes with agitation, awaiting the bruising and swelling to go down.

Tonight, I went back to punching again. By the end of class, guess what I did again? I bruised up the exact same spot on the exact same hand! Ice, ice, baby!

I asked Kyle, one of our instructors, what I’m doing wrong because I know I’m not supposed to punch leading with those knuckles to avoid Boxer’s Fracture or a broken wrist. He told me that as I fatigue from class and drills, the tightness of my fists loosen and my form suffers as a result.

That honestly hadn’t occurred to me! But, it makes sense and it gives me something else to work on. This is a little thing that can turn into a BIG THING if I get lazy about it. Training scars are extremely important to avoid in Krav Maga, not just for avoiding injuries but for effectiveness in real-life situations. This “little thing” is a new way to kick up my awareness and how present I am in training and drills.

I’ve seen people get frustrated when an instructor corrects them before. I’ve felt that way from time to time but I also know that instructors know better than I do, and they want to see student advance through the program with minimal training scars and injuries. I’ve been doing groin kicks and round kicks for 5 months, and there’s still plenty I need to work on in terms of my form and ability to extend through these movements for power. It would be easy to say “close enough” (both from the standpoint of student and teacher) but the little things in Krav Maga DO matter.

Sure, I could keep doing sloppy punches because I’m tired by the end of a drill. Know what that would get me in just a matter of time? Broken bones, and further training missed. Therefore… what makes more sense? Logically, being conscious of my fist tightness is the easier route for the long-term goal.

Krav Maga is not like a weight lifting workout or going for a run. You can’t tune out and go through the motions. This is not a punch the clock activity (aka, “Eh, at least I came to class and did something.”) You have to be mentally present for every second of class, no matter what’s going on in your life and no matter how noisy it can get in there. You owe it to yourself to be focused and present for 60 minutes of your day. All the other stuff (kids driving you nuts, boss you want to try an Elbow 1 on, traffic, and other “soul A.D.D”) has to be left outside the door before you come into EVKM.  You owe that to your goals and training. Without the willingness and commitment to keep these things close, your training will suffer across the board and you could very well end up with an injury in higher levels.

If you suck at jabs and doing kicks with your non-dominant leg, that means you work on them more, not that you never do them because they feel awkward. If you’re better at round kicks than side kicks, that means you need to work more on your sidekicks. In my case, palm heel strikes might be easier for me to do (and sometimes I don’t have the choice depending on the bruising factor), but that absolutely means that my focus has to be on striking and keeping my fists clenched TIGHT. We are proud of our bruises and scars, but not if they show up in the form of training scars.

Be present, be vigilant, remain determined, and be certain in your ability to succeed every time you check in at the gym- you’ll be grateful for it later!

Abby Huot is a student at EVKM and is blogging about her Krav Maga journey! To read about her first class check out: My First Krav Maga Class and The Start of a New Adventure!

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