Glory Days

October 18, 2010

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 Glory days, sometimes real, sometimes imagined. On guard duty, circa 1990

We all know the type. They sit around with a beer and/or a cigarette and talk about their glory days. They might watch you do some pushups and say, "Oh, that is nothing, when I was in shape I could do twice as many, with one hand yet!"

Perhaps their memory becomes blurry and they vividly recall their amazing spinning back kicks, and their many (unrecorded) victories. And 'in those days' things were much harder. 

Hmm....makes me wonder...

All that makes for a good "chewing of the fat" but unless there is something I can learn from all this, I tune out and find a way  out of the conversation. I do not want to live in the past, certainly not someone else's past, and certainly not someone else's imagined past.

Glory Days, we talk about them, but really, what does it do for us now?

When it comes to Krav Maga, reality self-defense, we must always remember that the true Glory Days, are now, the past is irrelevant, what we do now is all that matters.

There is a story told by a Russian martial arts/security expert. When he was a young boy he was taking a walk through a park near his home. He saw an old man walking alone through the park, he hands behind his back, just enjoying the day. As is sometimes seen in those parts he had medals of honor on his shirt, perhaps it was a special day commemorating a victory over the Nazis. Those medals indicated that in his younger days this man was a hero. He had served in in World War Two and had bravely defended his country and his nation. Perhaps as he was walking through the part that day his thoughts turned towards old comrades lost in battle.

He was deep in thought when two poor excuses for human beings approached him. They were young men, reeking of alcohol and smoking cheap smelly cigarettes. They thought they could have some fun at the expense of this old veteran and perhaps get some cash to support their disgusting habits. 

The young men approached the veteran, their intention was obvious. 

The young boy, now a man, who gave us this story, was thinking, "This is terrible! He is an old man, a veteran of the war, how shameful. I wish I could help the poor old fellow."

The young men made their move. The old man made his. 

In an instant one man's "privates" were being crushed while the other's throat was being squeezed so tight he could no longer speak. With an Iron hand the old veteran squeezed silently as the young men lost the color in their faces. 

The old man did not say a word, he just stared at them. Sometimes an entire speech can be delivered without saying a single word.

Then he let go.  He put his arms behind his back again, returned to his thoughts, and walked away as if nothing had happened. He did not look bac, he was calm and unafraid. 

The young boy watching this episode decided then and there; I will train in martial arts, I want to be like this man; this is what I shall devote my life.  He became one of the leading security experts in the Soviet Union.

What matters is not the Glory Days, what matters is not what you claim you could "once do"; what matters is what  you can do right now.  

In Krav Maga we do no care for fancy techniques that only young acrobats can do. The techniques that worked for that old man, the techniques that work for a young woman, those are the only techniques that we are interested in. Today is the Glory Day. today counts. 

Visiting Moscow, Russia.

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