February 10, 2021, Troy, Ohio, USA
Having some fun training with Arthur Cohen of blessed memory, but it was deadly serious (Woodmere, New York)
On tour, visiting cities across the USA and Mexico, I hear many stories. These are stories of crime and violence, of personal violation, of human trafficking, of drugs: These are stories of fear.
Training in martial arts for years I experienced many styles, but mostly they were physical. There was little or no talking in class. If there was talking it was just to explain a technique or to correct a student. Looking back I feel we neglected the most crucial part of training; the mind. When the mind shuts down the body shuts down with it; no techniques will be possible.
Prof. Arthur Cohen was the first to really address this issue with me. Our training was mostly private, one on one. Our "training" included discussions during the long drives we took. Arthur would speak of students who were killed, of gangs, of violent crime. He would point out locations were violent crimes took place, right in the heart of where regular folks lived.
The psychological aspect of life is our determining factor in human success. Control a man's mind and you control his body. If the mind is down and out, so is the body. I look to the streets, late at night when the sun sets and darkness rules, where all sorts of strange creatures come out to play and prey on innocent victims. This is when they go to work. This is their kingdom; the Kingdom of Darkness. This is where we need to go with our training.
We need to place our minds in downtown Philly or Chicago, Detroit, the bad parts of New York City, San Juan or Sao Paulo, we need to take our Krav Maga to the streets. We need to feel the fear, we need to touch the pain. We need to "be there".
Taking it to the streets, understanding real fear. Take yourself away from the comfy suburban dojo where you train with your friends, and in your mind, go down to your worst nightmares. Your worst nightmare has already become someone else's reality. We need to take our psychological training to the streets. Once we have the correct mindset we can begin our physical training.
Our physical training must be a reflection of the reality of crime and fear. We must understand how the body works under those conditions. We must understand how the mind and body relate. Our training must be a reflection of the psychological trauma of crime. Hot child in the city, running around and looking pretty, and then, a knife, a gun, an experienced gang member. Are you ready? Is your training geared towards this situation? Are you ready?
Last night at our seminar I spoke to those who have been through this. My words on these pages brought them to the seminar to experience the training; to train our minds and bodies. I looked into their eyes and saw people who have been there, felt that, on the streets. We need to take our training to the streets, we need to adapt to this reality. Our work is not done...and night approaches.
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