Krav Maga has Changed the way I Approach Life for the Better
I have trained in Krav Maga for two and a half years, and in that time, my life has changed drastically. Simply put; Krav saved me.
Unless you knew me before I began Krav, you would not understand that statement. If you knew me when I first started training in Krav, you might think you understand that statement. It is easy to see the physical changes I went through because of Krav, but if you did not know me from day one, you might not believe that I was 85lbs heavier than I am now. Krav was more than a physical change for me, however, it changed my entire mental outlook.
As a new student in Krav, I hid. I did not want to be noticed, so I stayed in the back of the room and watched all the “fit” people. In spite of my hesitancy, I made goals. At first they were little goals, like make it through a warm-up without stopping. As my confidence grew, my goals became greater. I became that crazy student that came every morning and every night. For the first time in my life, I was not giving up. The truth is, at first, I HATED KRAV. I honestly hated most of the classes, but I wanted to love it, and I wanted to be good at it, so I forced myself to keep going. I would get up every morning and talk myself into going. I would bring my gym clothes with me to work so I had no excuses not to go. Eventually, I did not have to talk myself into it, because I loved it and I wanted to go.
Slowly I got good at it. Good enough, at least, to be invited into the apprentice program. After a year of being in the apprentice program, I was told it was time to go to Phase A.
Phase, for me, was so much more than just becoming an instructor, and becoming an instructor is, well, the whole point of going to Phase. For me Phase was overcoming every mental battle I had ever gone through in any of my training. Phase was finally letting go of the old me. Phase was overcoming my own limits and so much more.
The week leading up to Phase, I was a complete nervous wreck. One of our brown belt instructors kept saying how excited he was for me and that I would have fun. I looked him strait in the face and said, “I think our definition of ‘fun’ is very different.” He was right, though, it was fun. It was also the hardest thing I have ever done, and it was also the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Phase validated everything I had ever thought or felt about Krav. Phase showed me what I already knew, what I had experienced as a new student, that being an instructor is not just about being good at Krav or wanting to teach people. Being an instructor is caring for your students. It is about having fun even in the midst of hell. It is about pushing yourself and others around you so that they become the best version of themselves.
On the last day of Phase, I wore the same shirt I wore to my first level 1 belt test. It was huge on me and was actually kind of a hindrance to wear, it got in the way and felt awkward. It was a reminder, however, of how far this journey had taken me. When they told us we were finished and to turn and bow to our partners, I expected some burden I did not realize I was carrying to be lifted, but instead I was left with the realization that this was not the end of a journey, and it was not just something to check off my to-do list. But instead this was the beginning of the beginning.
As a student, Krav became my safe haven, my lifeline, my stress relief, my outlet to overcome my deepest fears, my place to shed weight, sweat, tears and blood. As a student, Krav saved me from depression, anxiety, self-hate, and so much more. As a student, I did not do the hard work, I was just a willing participant. It was my instructors who did the hard work. They convinced me I was worth saving.
As an instructor, it is my job to make sure my students feel what I felt, to make sure they are not simply learning self-defense, but that they know they are worth my time and energy. It is my job to make sure that they know they are worth saving, even if they hide in the back of the class.
As a student, and an instructor, it is a journey. Are you ready to start yours?