Reality Based Belt Test

When I first began krav maga training, I did not understand the meaning of "reality based" training. I finally understood the day I earned my brown belt.

After completing an hour or more of martial arts techniques; judo, jujitsu, krav maga knife defenses and so forth, it was time for the fights; thirty minutes non-stop.

The belt candidate would fight for 30 minutes, changing partners each minute. While the belt candidate became increasingly exhausted the sparring partners were always well rested.

I knew the test would be difficult and I trained quite seriously for it. In addition to my usual three sessions a week at Itay Gil's Krav Maga Center in Jerusalem, I added another 15 hours a week of my own.

My training consisted of technique, sparring, and extensive conditioning; running, jump rope, push ups and weight training. It was still difficult.

After the first few minutes of full contact mixed martial arts fighting, I felt already depleted. Nonetheless I pushed hard to complete the required thirty minutes of fighting. When it was over Itay called me over for a talk.

"I was not testing your ability to fight" he said, "I know you can fight. What I was testing was your desire to survive, to live."

It was like the song from Rocky, "The body says STOP but the spirit cries NEVER"

The test was very very difficult but the lesson was very valuable. What Itay taught that day was about reality based krav maga; it is not about your ability to fight, it is about your desire to survive.