In our school we train for reality.
Now reality is not always as exciting as the movies. I recall my first real job after completing my MBA in finance. I was working for a major brokerage firm in New York City, wearing a suit and tie, reading the Wall Street Journal; the works. One day I bumped into one of my favorite professors, Mr. Ballabon, a charming English fellow. We spoke for a few minutes about "life after college" and he said, "So the work is not as exciting as that in our class?"
Yes, I remember that moment; the realization that reality had struck again, and I just had to deal with it.
What he was saying was that in college we were assigned complex international financial transactions, multi-national deals where we were the CEO's. In our post-college real life jobs we were doing very simple calculations, very simple transactions, nothing that challenged us or stimulated the brain like our days in the intellectual academies. We held entry levels jobs and had to deal with routine situations; not very exciting.
Suddenly I understood why dear Mr. Ballabon chose to stay in the academic world; it was much more exciting.
With martial arts it is exactly, precisely, the same. The "academy", the dojo, the training hall is not reality; it is a comfortable place where like-minded people get together on a given night to train. There is no real danger. The techniques taught are usually, in most academies, very "academic", the "professors" enjoy the complex gymnastic moves; and these are much more pleasing than the brute short fights that actually take place on the street.
With Krav Maga we have made a choice; we will train for reality. We are often told that our techniques lack beauty, are "too short", too aggressive and "overkill". They do not have the beauty of the academic world; they are less challenging for the bright student who always wants more.
Yes, my friends, but that is reality. In my university days we used complex mathematical equations to determine that risk factor in a stock option. One day while working in my firm I could not recall a certain formula, naturally I asked my supervisor, surely he would know.
He did not know, he laughed and said, "Moshe, we rate the stocks as follows: High risk, medium risk, low risk. Leave your equations at the university."
What a let down!
In Krav Maga we train not for the academic world and not for sparring with other martial artists; we train for the streets, for handling untrained thugs. As such we leave out much of the academic training and we add in elements such as understanding street psychology, the nature of real life attacks, environmental factors, fatigue, fear, and so forth.
One aspect of the real world that we train for often is falling. Each lesson in our Krav Kids program begins with rolls. Within a few months our kids look like bowling balls; they roll with incredible smoothness.
Just a couple of days ago I saw the mother of one of my students; she told me the following amazing story. "We were on a family trip and my son Yonaton, your student, (11 years old and an orange belt), was holding our one year boy. He was walking down the stairs outside and triped and fell. Holding the toddler tight to his body he naturally fell into a perfect roll. He landed at the bottom of the stairs. Both he and the toddler were totally unharmed.
I saw the young hero that day and noticed a bandage on his finger. "So, you did get hurt a little from the fall!", "No", he said, "That was a blister from playing tennis."
The boy did not have a scratch; neither did his one year old brother. Now that student was prepared for the real world. Our training works.