I often have to have the conversation with students about what they’re really learning. If I ask any martial artist what they’re learning, they’ll likely respond with the name of their style. That’s the wrong response – I’m sorry to tell you. If your answer isn’t that you’re learning to defend yourself, compete, or some other goal, then you haven’t been given the proper mindset from your instructor.
It is fantastic to honor the heritage and tradition of your style, but that is to come secondary to the ultimate goal. In our case, at FearLess Nation, each of my students will tell you that they’re learning Self Defense, and Krav Maga is the style they are studying to achieve that. Your style is exactly that, a style, but a style of what?
Now that you have that answer, it’s important to recognize the qualities that make up your ability to achieve your goal. It isn’t having a masterful comprehension of your techniques. Though that is important, an excellent student of the basics can beat someone who knows all of the advanced techniques. So what does it come down to?
The most important quality someone who wants to achieve anything in life must have is “heart,” but what is heart? Not the beating muscle, though I hope you all have one. I mean tenacity. I mean drive. I mean ferociousness. I mean that look in your eye that scares them all away. I often talk to my students about the “switch” they must flip that allows them to do the things they might not normally do. Of course, now I’m referring to Self Defense. I tell them so often, “Be willing to do the terrible things that your bad guy isn’t willing to do.” As hard as that may seem, it’s crucial.
If you don’t have the stomach to put in the hours, the sweat, the blood – the heart – then I hate to break it to you, but you’re probably not going to achieve 1/10 of what you think you are or want to. Self Defense training is about learning to REALLY survive a real world altercation. It isn’t about katas (memorized movements) or slow motion techniques. It’s about what REALLY works with the heart to make it work! It’s about having a systematic way of picking apart your enemies and not accepting defeat for an answer.
It’s about HEART! Just ask the students at FearLess Nation!