Orange Belt… What comes next?
Since we opened Lions Krav Maga, we have been absolutely driven to find the best training out there in order to provide our students with the best self defense instruction we can find. That’s what brought us to Krav Maga in the first place, and why we decided to open a school that taught Krav Maga specifically.
But, after exploring several different Krav Maga organizations and having worked as affiliates of three of the major organizations (KMG, KMW, and KMA), we found that there was something in the Krav Maga ranking system that we found problematic – people were being moved up the ranks largely based on the the quantity of techniques they knew rather than the quality with which they were being performed. As Alan Predolin says, “You shouldn’t be learning bazooka defense before you know how to punch and kick!” It was from conversations like this that we decided to move away from the “Level 1 techniques –> Level 2 techniques —> Level 3 techniques, etc.” type of model and develop our own. That’s why we created the curriculum that we have now.
With that being said, what does this mean for you as an upper level student? How can you continue to advance through the higher levels? What should be your main focus?
We’ve put together a little list to help you answer those questions…
Put The Fun in Fundamentals
We already know that you got moves… that’s why you passed the test and earned your rank in the first place. No one can take that away from you.
Now, we are asking you to make those moves better.
Go back to the same mindset you had when you first started training – that “only-as-fast-as-perfect” mindset. Slow down and make your technique better, stronger, sharper from start to finish. Get reps on that. We can tell you right now that the ones who are going to be earning their next belts the fastest aren’t going to necessarily be the ones who go to the most classes… it will be the ones who show up to class ready to work on improving the fundamentals. It will be the ones who are working hard to make their palm heel strikes stronger, to make their choke defenses cleaner, and to make their counterattacks smoother and more dynamic. A great practitioner is one who never feels like their technique can’t be improved, so s/he is always striving to make their fundamentals better. These are the practitioners who are just as excited to drill choke from the front with a 2-handed pluck as they are to work on stick vs. knife techniques. Our advice is to be humble, be curious, and be willing to work. That is the attitude that leads to mastery.
Get Those Quality Reps In
We’ve all worked with that partner … we’ve probably all been that partner ourselves … the one who spends the first 3 minutes of drill time asking who wants to attack first. “You want to hit me? Should I hit you first? I don’t care, it’s up to you. No, I don’t mind.” etc.
How many quality reps do you think you could’ve gotten in those 3 minutes? Cut this conversation short by immediately saying, “I’ll attack first,” when you get with your partner. Then start drilling. You know what they say… Drillers make killers.
Here are a couple other ways to get more drill time in . . .
- Actively find a partner instead of raising your hand and waiting for someone to find you.
- Pay special attention to the instructions on how the drill should work so that you don’t have to take away from your (and your partner’s) drill time to find out.
- Work through the technique physically instead of verbally as much as possible. If you need help, ask the instructor instead of your partner. If the instructor is busy, drill only the part(s) of the technique that you know until the instructor becomes available.
We’ve probably all heard that it takes approximately 1,000 reps to get a technique into muscle memory, so use the time you have to get those reps in.
Write It Down
Don’t have a training notebook yet? Go get one.
Take a moment after class to not only write down the main technical points of the techniques, but also which parts of the technique you think you should tighten up next time you drill it. This will completely transform your training. It not only will help with your memory, but it will help you to stay focused and allow you to unload your thoughts so you have the mental space to learn even more. After a few days, read through your notes and try to visualize the technique piece by piece. This will make it obvious which aspects of the technique you have internalized and what you haven’t. If you have questions, send your instructor a message. If you need to work through it, grab someone before class and go outside to drill it a few times (Quality Reps FTW!). This will keep your training focused, and you’ll soon see that it pays dividends.
You Gotta Commit
When you burst in for that combination… When you dive in for that overhead stick defense… When you shift your weight into that gun defense…
…you gotta commit.
There is no halfway when you’re fighting for your life, and we know that what we do in real life under stress has only maybe 50% of the quality of what we do in training. Bring all your passion, aggression, and energy into your training, and decide that you will be the hardest person that anyone ever tries to kill . . . or rob . . . or rape. Even when you’re doing the reps slowly, do so with intention! Stay engaged! Think back to why you started training, and remember what you’re training for – the defense of your very self! You deserve every ounce of fight you have in you, so take all the stress of your day job, all the frustrating exhaustion, all the passion and fear and anger and love you have in your whole heart and push it out through your fists.
You have everything in you that you need to succeed. You just gotta commit.