Pain is Temporary

Pain is Temporary

I don't think anyone really likes pain or enjoys being hit. Some people really want to train in Krav Maga and learn valuable self defense skills but they are afraid of the pain. If only they could avoid being hit, all would be well. Some commercial schools avoid the part of being hit as the pain part reduces financial profits. Krav Maga, Thai Boxing, is advertised as "Fun for the whole family".

I remember coming home from America and showing Itay Gil an advertisement for a Thai Boxing club in the USA with the caption, "Fun for the whole family", he just said, "Yeah, right. Who are they kidding?"

Pain is part of our training because we have to learn to cope with it. In a real fight you are most likely to get hit, and it will hurt. The question is how will you respond? Will you freak out! Will your entire nervous system collapse? Will you be unable to function or think straight?

Any one of these reactions can be deadly, regardless of whether it is a fight, a plane crash or any sort of painful situation. We need to learn to cope with pain.

A new prospective student is talking with Itay. He wants to train but would rather skip the fighting part. Itay explains to him that fighting is a necessary part of the training, to learn to deal with pain. The guy says he already knows how. So Itay punches him. The guy buckles over in pain. Apparently he was not quite ready.

I recall a parent talking to a child. The child had fallen a few minutes ago and was crying. The initial pain of the fall was clearly over and yet the child continued to cry. The parent said, "Why are you still crying? Is it because you remember the pain?"

The message was that the pain was gone, it was only a momentary, temporary pain, and now it is in the past. The child was crying because of a mental attitude, because he was focusing on the pain, remembering a pain that should have already passed.

The pain is temporary. You get hit, you feel an instant of pain, and then the worst of it is over, like a shot in the doctor's office. Get over it.

This reminds me of an old Jewish story. A man is on the train and is whining, "Oy, I am so thirsty, I am so thirsty." This goes on for half an hour. Finally the guy sitting next to him can't take it anymore and goes and gets him a drink. The man drinks and is quiet for a moment. Then he starts up again, "Oy, I was so thirsty, I was really so thirsty!"

Years ago Itay said to me that during difficult kickboxing fights, we must "put our mind elsewhere, make a mental switch and turn off the pain." That is how he survived the 100 man kumite.

Indeed this is true. In a fight you get hit, you feel it for an instant, like the doctor's needle, and you continue to fight. Later on of course you will feel it, when you are home. At the point you can put on ice and so forth but at that point the pain is on longer a threat to you. The key is that at the moment of the pain we must not focus on it. For if we do – we are doomed. Remember; pain is temporary.

If you want to survive a difficult situation, do not focus on the pain. Do not be like the child who was crying because he was 'remembering' the pain.

While teaching in Ukraine, a two day 17 hour seminar, I noticed many people covered with bruises from our training. No one complained. Elena, a tall attractive woman, looked like a map, with so many dots, large and small, all over her arms. When I mentioned this to her she simply dismissed it without a word as in saying, 'It's nothing, I came to train.'

When you began your training session do not think about any potential pain. If you get hit, do not focus on it. If you feel some pain, quickly forget it and move on. This is a key to survival.

Whenever anyone got hurt in our gym Itay would respond as he did as combat medic, "Nothing happened, you are fine." Minimizing the injury, not focusing on the pain, is the first step to getting over it.

Remember, the pain is temporary.