What makes a good Krav Maga training session?
This is a question that I get very often. Knowing that although there are a lot of instructors and training approaches it is still a hard one to master. I will try to present my point of view.
As I see it, there are a few ways to look at it:
2. From the Instructor’s perspective-
3. From the world’s perspective-
4. What I think it should be….
Breaking it down
1. The student’s perspective – when I look at my training, my history of training, I know it has changed over time from “lets hit someone” (on the mat or outside) to “lets see what new variation I can get from training”. From the feeling that I can barely walk off the mat to “I feel good and still can do something today… and feel no pain tomorrow….”
I think that this change of mind shows a development in a person and in his/ her level. Do not get me wrong, I still love to train hard, hit and get hit, but in a smart way if possible.
So, I think that this is what most people who train Krav-Maga feel or want.
What P level need or want?
At the beginning, lets just say in the P levels, students are a bit afraid of contact, they do not know what is going to happen, so in the first few months of training there is almost no contact. After this period of time they become more comfortable so there is more contact. With contact come marks like bruises, cuts and injuries of all sorts.
In many training places these kind of marks are a sign of good training and great instructors.
By this stage the students just work hard and if they are not dead at the end of the training they feel they did not work or got their money’s worth… and In some training places, if at the end of training the students can still walk of the mat it was a bad training…..
Now for the G levels
When reaching more advanced level, for me the G levels, there is the fighting spirit and the technical level to push things a bit harder and we have the control factor that permits the students to work faster, harder, and still not hurt on another. Not to much at least. Still, if the training in this level was not done breaking in its concept, students feel that something was missing….so marks are welcome, but less as trophies. I hope!
In the higher levels, Experts, marks are looked as a problem! Injuries even more! They should not happen.
Instructor’s view of things
2. Instructor’s perspective – it’s a hard one, it really depends on the instructor’s background and perception of himself… whether he is confident or less confident. The other problem is that a new instructor that has no previous knowledge looks on what his instructor did to him, looks on what he did in the instructor’s course, looks to the web, looks to other martial arts and looks to his imagination.
Then he starts with trial and error, see what works and does not work, and what makes him feel stronger or better or what makes his ego boost higher.
He thinks he is doing the students a favor by killing them on the mat and thinks its the best way to train, but it is debatable.
3. World’s perspective – haaa, the big world out there full with experts on nothing. Born from their own imaginations and wannabees….. there are a lot of people (so called instructors) that have all the answers. They look at a clip (after previously looking at a million other ones) and they know that your training is shit, just like that, without ever even training Krav-Maga!
On the other side, we have the instructor that wants to show the world how good he is and how good training he is doing and how bad ass he is! So it leads to crazy training that put the students in risk of injuries… and of course marks.
4. What I think – me the all know it… funny.
As funny as it is, I will still give my perspective after years of training in Krav-Maga, Kettlebells, driving and shooting. I think cuts and injuries are not acceptable!!
I will explain, and hope you agree with me.
An injury or a scar is not a trophy!
An injury, a bruise or a mark are things that prevent the students from continuing their training and from gaining the levels but most of all the expertise.
If the student gets hurt in some way, next time he will be afraid to get hit again. He will miss training or stop all together. If we are talking about Krav-Maga, he will not be able to act the way we want him in case of self-defense!
In Krav-Maga, unlike other sports even competition ones, we need to be always ready! Every moment of the day we need to be able to use the learned skills of self-defense! Even a competition athlete does not work in those conditions! They prepare for a competition set in a fixed date and peak to that moment in time! Krav-Maga students need to be ready all the time!
This way, in my opinion, training sessions should be hard. Yes they should! However, not killing hard, the instructors should push the students as far as they can without injuries. There is a place to make the students fight in training and pore sweat, but in a smart way. In a way that will allow them to preform later if needed in the street.
Injuries as trophies are wrong! They should not have a place in training. How do we do it? One easy way is to put protective gear on and force the students to put them on. This way they can work harder for longer… but I know protection is for sissies…. not true! Protection is for smart students that want to survive and train another day.
Work smart and use protection.
The smart way of preventing injuries is for the instructor to work smart, make sure the students do not go all the way, aggressively on each other, but just enough to make the technique work and understandable! If you as the instructor want to give them hell, do it by all means, but keep it safe as possible and do it every now and then, not every lesson.
In short: marks, bruises and injuries are things that happen all the time in Krav-Maga or contact sports. They are a “part of life” but it does not mean that they are a must! They should be kept to a minimum as possible, to ensure the students’ abilities to train more and ensure the ability to preform correctly when needed.
Hope you agree with me.