Krav Maga Mind Body

Mind or Body? Which matters more in Krav Maga?

Some of us are born with natural athletic ability and some of us are not. What I have found over my many years of training is that although natural ability is a great gift it is rarely a factor in determining who will succeed in their training; be it Krav Maga, sports or overall fitness.

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Fighting spirit

We all know that when we look back at our high school years and look at people's current state of physical affairs there is often little correlation. The high school football star is often an over weight out of shape, over the hill boozer while the high school loser/geek/dork/nerd could fit in nicely on the cover of "Muscle and Fitness".

So what is the secret? Where can our success come from?

The answer should be obvious but it isn't. Just watch Rocky and you will hear all about fighting spirit, having "heart", and desire. It is in our minds, that is where the power lies, in our minds.

It is said that of 1,000 students who put on the white belt maybe six will someday wear the black belt. What distinguishes those six? I can tell you because I have met them; it is desire, motivation, 'stick to it ness', staying true to your goal over a long period of time, staying focused and not quitting. The "fire within" comes from our minds, no where else. Our minds control our destiny so let's stop making excuses. We can do anything we put our minds to. Believe it.

Recently one of my students, David C. from the USA, wrote me the following

"I watched a National Geographic documentary called rescue warriors, about the USAF Paratrscue training and indoctrination. This 2 year program pushes the candidates' bodies and minds to the extreme limit.

One thing that struck me was all of the candidates said that every morning at 4:30am the first thing on their mind was quitting and every morning they promised themselves they wouldn't. Most did eventually succumb to the extreme tests. Out of a class of 85, 10 graduated after the 2 year course.

what I took out of it was that your body usually isn't what prevents you from training but your mind. You have to want it and know why you want it."

Indeed he got it, it is our mind that plays tricks on us and convinces us we have no time to train, or we need a break, or for some silly reason we are better off not training today. It is our mind that creates the illusion that we have reached our limit and can not go any further. It is our lazy nature that is trying to sabotage our efforts at self improvement.

That is the purpose of fights and testing. Go as far as you believe you can go, and then go some more. Get to the point where "the body says Stop!" Understand that your mind is the only thing holding you back. Overcome the threshold of pain, overcome the threshold of tiredness, these are artificial barriers. Remember "the body says Stop but the spirit cries Never!" (Rocky)

After one particularly brutal test Itay Gil said to me, "I knew you were out of gas but I had to push you further, I was not testing your ability to fight, I was testing your desire to live."

On the street it is our desire to live that must push us to our limits and beyond. But we must not wait for a street attack to begin our mind training. Our mind training must begin in the gym/dojo/training hall. It is here that a good instructor/mentor/guide must train us to understand that we are capable of far more than we think; that we must establish no arbitrary limit. So when a true life threatening situation, God forbid, emerges, we have established a reserve system that we can now draw upon like reserve cash in the bank. This cash was "deposited" during our hard training, when we pushed ourselves beyond what we thought possible.

Many of my students have gone on to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. They have told me stories of body builders who needed others to carry them to the end of the hike. Physical ability alone did not go the distance, it was always heart, warrior spirit, Bushido, and mind training that carried the day.

So my friend you are correct, you have arrived at the correct conclusion, you have discovered the secret. Indeed it is the mind that prevents us from training, and it is the mind that can motivate us to greater and greater achievements. Take this message with you into training, build up your reserve account, use no limit as a limit, and go the distance.