As I mentioned in a blog a month or so ago the first time my wife saw me run a Krav Maga test she was furious at me. She told me that I was an ass, a jerk, mean and didn’t care about people. I had to explain to her that I wasn’t trying to get people to the next belt, wasn’t trying to make people feel good about their accomplishments. My job is to make people tough. Tough enough to survive what, if ever attacked, would be the worst few minutes of their lives. An attack that, if they lost, could find their families dead. She understands now that my only job is to make people safe by giving them a warriors attitude!
The special forces in the military have a saying. “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle.” After a student has gotten through one of our tests we honestly believe that they will “go forward, go now and go hard” if ever attacked. They have proven to themselves that they are tough, that they can keep going and that they will not quit!
My very first level 1 test in Krav Maga was an eye opener. I had taken many, many belt tests in martial arts as I was a 4th degree black belt in taekwondo. I can tell you that the basic level 1 krav test was the hardest test I had ever seen! Krav takes testing serious!! In Krav Maga the testing is very intense for good reason. We go all out in the testing and expect maximum effort. Most students who test will say that it was one of the hardest things that they have ever done as well as one of the great accomplishments of their lives. Our feeling is that if self defense doesn’t work when we are at our worst and worn out, it isn’t worth knowing. We also truly believe that after someone has pushed themselves beyond what they thought that they could in a test a real life self defense situation will be much easier with a “been there, done that” feeling.
In level 1 we put the students through an hour and a half workshop, then an hour and a half test. We use the workshop to 1) show exactly how we want techniques done in the test, 2) wear out those who are going to test a bit and 3) to make sure those who wish to test are ready. If someone is getting tired in the workshop or doesn’t have techniques down this is where we tell them not to test. We let them know this is nothing they want to do over and that they will fail today so they should wait for the next. Right after the workshop we start the test. The test is like an hour and a half non stop exhaustion drill. We go down the list of all level 1 techniques, one after the other. Shadow fighting is first and we have them do this for a long, long time. It’s kinda the first clue that they are in for hell! We have them do burpees when they aren’t going hard enough, are too slow handing pads over or getting pads, etc. After two or three of these burpee stoppages they are truly exhausted….and the test isn’t even half over.
When the test is finally over we tell them that the level 1 test they just finished was the easiest test they will ever take….level 2 is 2 hours workshop and 2 ½ hours of testing right up to our 6 hour level 5 test!! Scoring is totally based on if it would really have kept that student safe. No flash, no BS, no feeling sorry for a hard worker so pass them for effort.
I honestly believe if whatever you are studying doesn’t put it’s techniques under this kind of stress and exhaustion it isn’t self defense. In a real world attack you will be faced with mega stress, exhaustion and adrenaline. If your aren’t training for that, the techniques don’t matter. BE SAFE!!