how we see ourselves 

July 8, 2014 

I enjoy the Facebook photos where there are several photos side by side: How we see ourselves, how our friends see us, how the world sees us, how we really are, etc. 

A very good one can be made of martial artists, Black belts, Krav Maga guys, and girls.

How the world sees this group would probably be some Rambo type photo.

The big questions for me is: How do we see ourselves? Are we honest or do we buy into the hype that we (the industry) have created?

I recall a certain very well know Krav Maga instructor, the kind that inspires fear, admiration, adulation, the kind "Tough guy wanna bee's" look up to.

But I recall when I delivered some bad news to him. The man was a nervous wreck, quivering, filled with fear and anxiety. He was the picture of the timid worried type.

On the other hand there are those who do not have the "look" but if a crises arises - they are your man. They are the man who can rely upon. 

Mexico City, training in a crowded parking lot. This is reality.

It is very easy to fall prey to your own image and hype. It is very easy to think you are the image that you and your public relations team have created. But you must never believe this. You must never believe your own lies for it will be your downfall and undoing.

The great Karate master Gichin Funakoshi would say,  "Always imagine your opponent in front of you.". And yes, this is important. But there is more. I will add: Always see yourself, as you truly are, when facing your opponent.

You must train for reality. This does not mean what you think it means, for this is not what the popular culture has lead you to believe via advertisements. Advertisements are not truth, they are designed to captivate your attention, just study "Madison Ave."; truth is never on the list of priorities, profits are.  Commercial schools will lead you to believe that "Training for Reality" means doing hundreds of push-ups, feeling that you are pushing yourself to your limits, climbing mountains, and funning for long distances. The truth is none of this has anything to do with the reality of street self defense and survival. None of this has anything to do with the situation that you may face. 

Self-defense is not a test of strength or endurance. Your mindset is the biggest factor here. And if you freeze, if you are overwhelmed psychologically, if you become a quivering coward, all your fitness and tough guy training will not help at all.

We must see ourselves honestly as we are truly are, in that situation.

I will stop myself in the middle of ...anywhere. And I will look around. Perhaps I am in a rush, perhaps I am worried about missing a flight. And I will stop myself and suddenly imagine an attack: What if that guy over there, the big one, the huge one, what if he just came up to me now and started harassing me?  What would I do? How would I react? Am I ready?

If I am in a bus station in Mexico, I will look around, I will imagine how I would react if I were approached. Prepare yourself mentally, have your tools ready. What if you are going to Western Union to send money, or to the ATM, are you prepared?

This is an important component of our training. This how we must think, and train our minds.

Imagine yourself in that situation. Imagine some bad ass jackass idiot coming up to you when you least expect it. Are you ready? This is how we must prepare ourselves, this is how we must train, with reality thinking, not movie star fantasy, or military wanna be training.

Reality is not about fighting in the ring, or training in the dojo. Reality is the mindset, the mental game, the mental training, that will allow you to respond correctly and effectively, real time in a real situation. 

You can fool the world, but please, do not fool yourself. Imagine yourself in your worst nightmare and prepare for that situation. Be ready.


Yes I agree one hundred percent. Since we adapted our training to real life situations using Krav Maga our students for the first time realised the value of Krav Maga. We call it the application of Krav Maga in real life threatening situations. When we started off it was a real disaster from the dojo willing partner to reality attacks was an eye opener. But with dedicated hardwork we gladly announce a huge difference in application and attitude. Besides a belt grading we have now decided that we would like to honour the students level of REAL Krav Maga defense with a certificate of
successful application only when tested and can apply Krav Maga on the "street".

Barry Du Plessis., Krav Maga instructor, South Africa.

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