And expert advice on how you can overcome them!
Throughout the time that I’ve been teaching, I’ve heard a lot of different objections that stop people from taking up Krav Maga training. Some of them are pretty unique, like: ‘I don’t want to start in a beginner class because I’ve had experience killing people’ (I don’t know where someone would get the impression that lethal techniques are taught to civilians, but, O.K.). Luckily, this is not such a common objection.
Below, I’ve listed 8 common obstacles people face when they are considering Krav Maga training. You may have felt these yourself at one point or another, and this article may help you find some relief in knowing you’re not the only one. My goal for this article is to show you that these obstacles are not as insurmountable as they seem.
1. I’m not fit enough yet. I’ll start working on my fitness and then I’ll start learning Krav Maga.
No, No, No, No, that’s not how it works. You will only get fit by training now, today, and getting started right away! Some may be put off by the intensity that Krav Maga training can demand, which is understandable. However this objection is not a strong enough one. In Krav Maga your fitness will always be challenged, no matter what ‘level’ you are at and that’s the point to any solid training session: To be challenged physically and mentally.
There’s no way you can be physically ready for Krav Maga beforehand, and a belief like this can cut you off from training and knowledge that will benefit you for a life-time.
As you progress through training, you’ll get fit gradually over time. You’ll develop your ability to perform under pressure and you’ll enhance your natural attributes (increasing your overall health and sense of wellbeing is a great side bonus also.).
Being ‘fit to fight’ is ideal, but for pure self-defence it’s not essential and may not be possible for some. We all have our own lifestyles and priorities, and to expect that someone needs to have the fitness level of an athlete is silly. Krav Maga needs to work for everyone regardless of fitness! However, please understand that ‘Being fit’ is a currency of its own, and with a good level of it you can be even more effective at Krav Maga.
You can never prepare for Krav Maga – you just have to experience it and grow, no matter where you start! To walk you must first be able to crawl, to run you must first be able to walk. It’s progressive. Most instructors will support you and push you only as far as you can take yourself. You’ll soon realise you’re not the only one, and that the guy or girl training next to you couldn’t do a pushup when they started either.
2. I’ve never done any martial arts or sports in my life. I’m not co-ordinated, strong enough or aggressive enough.
Trust me when I say ‘if you’ve never trained in a martial arts class or participated in any sporting activities, you’ll likely be better off’. If you can start Krav Maga with a clean slate you will find yourself picking things up more easily than someone who may have their ‘cup’ full.
Remember, you’re not training to become the world champion. Many Krav Maga techniques are based on the bodies natural and instinctive movements; there are only a certain amount of ways a person can fight effectively under pressure and learning how to do this will likely be easier than you thought.
Fighting off danger is an inbuilt survival mechanism in most animals, once you learn how to harness these natural tools, the whole thing will be quite simple. All you need to do is get into a class somewhere nearby with an authentic teacher and get familiar with those natural instincts.
3. I can’t afford to pay for classes.
Money, is a sensitive topic for most of us, and it is a totally legitimate reason to stop you from training. Please, allow me to offer you a perspective you may not have considered: What are you willing to afford? Can you afford to be the victim of a mugging? Can you afford to have your family attacked and not be able to do anything as it is unfolding in front of you?
We live in a world that, at times, is cruel. These days there’s insurance for everything, but the insurance that they sell to you is not the insurance you can rely on as something is taking a turn for the worse, most often than not you see no return on investment.
So why wouldn’t you be paying for what is your ultimate life Insurance policy? Invest in something that will give you the practical knowledge to stay unharmed when you’re alone, and to protect those around you; your friends, co-workers and your loved ones. Gaining a true, inner sense of self-security is a great investment, and I think generally worth more than the stuff money usually goes towards.
Think about it, for just $20 to $30 a week, or the equivalent of a few dollars a day you get to learn self defence and protection skills that will last you a lifetime. Not only that, you get fitter, healthier and stronger.
4. I’m not sure if Krav Maga is suited for me.
That is understandable. Certain aspects of Krav Maga appeal more to a specific type of person than others. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have a desire to become better at overcoming stress and life-pressures?
- Are you someone who wants to be more self-reliant and self-assured?
- Do you want to feel safe and comfortable in any type of environment?
- Do you want to learn physical techniques that will stand up to the pressure of violence?
- Do you have a silent desire to fight like those awesome movie action heroes?
- Do you want to have the knowledge to understand how conflict occurs and how you can better avoid it or get away from it?
- Do you like to think, analyse and solve problems?
If you genuinely want to learn how to defend yourself and you answered yes to any of those questions, then chances are you’re the right type of person for Krav Maga training.
People who learn Krav Maga come from all races, backgrounds, ages and genders. I can assume most schools do not discriminate, and teach everyone with equal passion. Krav Maga will teach you the skills and tactics you need to keep yourself safe. Meaning, it will give you the physical tools and the thinking tools you need to survive. Good training will give you the edge with an ultimate self defence strategy that you can apply to any situation.
You know the quote: ‘Brains over Brawn’. Well in this case you’re enhancing both ‘brains’ and ‘brawn’.
5. I’m a bit old and weathered. I couldn’t possibly do a class!
Let me get one thing straight: Most instructors will not expect that you will do all the pushups or all the sit-ups in your first session. Most instructors will let you take classes at your own pace and encourage you to push yourself as far as you can take yourself. In a short time you will be amazed at how far you’ve progressed. This is irrespective of age or physical conditions.
I had a student named Arthur. Arthur is around 55 years old and works as a professional for a bank. I still remember his first class where he couldn’t get through the warm-up.
But over time and with his 100% commitment, he started to gradually build up his output. Arthur stayed with us for 2 years and gained his P4 certification.
What was truly amazing about Arthur is that he never saw age as a barrier. Sure there were many times where he couldn’t do a technique immediately like some of the other students. And sure there were times where he didn’t have the same amount of agility as the others, but he persevered. He went beyond it all and the younger members were really impressed by him and respected him so much.
Arthur and I remain good friends, and once in a while he’ll come and join in on a seminar. The last time I saw him he told me a story about how he defended himself against two guys in a train station in Sydney. These guys began to abuse him and ultimately tried to hurt him.
Let me tell you this: he put both guys on their asses and got home safe and in one piece, in peace! Those who know Arthur, ask him to tell you himself :).
Arthur gradually turned into a very strong Krav Maga practitioner. With dedication, regardless of your age, so can you!
6. It looks terrifying being so close to those people and getting choked!
Krav Maga is terrifying for some in their first class. Often an individual walks into a class and the first thing I notice is how their gaze changes from the adrenaline dump that they experience.
Krav Maga is a reality based system, meaning that it is trained in a realistic way. Ultimately we are meant to be practising Krav Maga as close to what a real situation could be so we are prepared for it. This doesn’t mean that we are careless or clumsy – we are always considering our safety. It just means that if it seems a little intense, it’s because the situation you’re training for will be just as intense (if not more).
If such a situation happens to you outside of training, and you didn’t let yourself get familiar with what to expect or how to react, would choosing not to train have been the better choice?
Each class that you attend should be designed to put you under mental and physical pressure. Each time you learn something you’ll be practicing it in fairly extreme conditions that will challenge you. You will learn to perform under pressure and adapt to the situation.
If you aren’t up for this type of class I suggest you take some personal one-on-one training with a good instructor who will teach you the principles, and perhaps later you’ll feel more comfortable in joining a group class.
7. I don’t know anybody!
Most of us who have been training in Krav Maga for a while started without friends in the school we trained from. It’s only natural to fear the unknown and feel like you might not fit in. It’s a general fear of people, to feel isolated, to feel alienated and not liked.
Everywhere I go, I meet different people from all walks of life, people who train together and get along. Of these places, some are more social than others and each has their own strength.
While it’s nice to make friends and be social, the ultimate purpose of these classes is generally to learn self defence. If your value is primarily on the social, then you may be thoroughly disappointed. Krav Maga is a place to learn life skills first and foremost!
8. Is Krav Maga really suited for Women – because it looks like a boys club…
The reality is there are more men training in Krav Maga than there are women. It’s the way the martial arts and self defence community generally is, at least from my experience.
What’s important to realise is that you’re there to learn self defence. As a women, if you are to face your real fear of a violent encounter, it would likely involve a man or group of men. This is why training with men has its advantages as you learn to deal with a generally bigger and stronger type of person. The training environment is a great place for women to learn, because everyone is there for the purpose of self-protection. You will find that the people in class (men and women) are willing to help you learn as much as they can help, regardless of your gender.
Women have the right to know how to defend themselves, and they are VERY capable of it (if not actually more effective at defending themselves than men). Some cultures know this and embrace it in their society. People such as the Kurds who have women on the frontline and the Israelis who have men and women serving in the army.
These women could frighten the toughest of men with their fighting capability. They do what they do, not because they are superhuman or just ‘wired that way’ but because they believe in protecting what it is they value the most – their well-being, their family’s well-being, their community’s well-being.
The choice is yours: These 8 common concerns are natural and valid. At the end of the day it comes down to ‘will you do it and how much do you want the knowledge?’. You already have what it takes, it’s built into all of us. If you push yourself out of your comfort zone, you’ll attain the skills you need. Yes, Krav Maga can be very confronting and ‘in your face’, and that’s for a reason – because you need to be able to handle it if it actually happens.
Self defence is a necessary part of life and everyone has the right to know how. That reminds me of this saying: ‘It is better to know and not need, than to need and not know’.
Please comment, discuss and share if you care….Written by Kurt Colpan
Your Krav Maga Expert.com
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