A girls guide to starting Krav Maga, Part 1: The emotional implications of starting self-defence training.
A Girls Guide to Krav Maga (Part 1) There are some things that get in the way of you taking that first step to start Krav Maga training… it can be intimidating. You don’t know what to expect, how you’ll be treated, what is required of you, if you can keep up, if you’ll be treated well in training. I’m here to share my experiences to hopefully help you get take that step to start. (please note: this is part one to this mini-guide for women and Krav Maga training. Subscribe to this blog, or like us on facebook to get updates on future parts. So, who am I to be writing this blog post?
My name is Dani. I’ve been training in Krav Maga for 5 years and I have been trained as an instructor, I am also co-founder of Krav Maga Systems. I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs as a result of my training, but just like a musical symphony, each note has been an essential part to one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. Let’s be honest you wouldn’t normally expect something like self-defense training to have the potential to dramatically change your life – yet so many that go through the process of training become more complete versions of themselves. I went from being an extremely introverted, timid girl to someone who knows who they are, what they want and is not willing to give up or compromise that for anything. I’m willing to not take on other people’s issues/insecurities as my problem, I look out for myself more than ever before – and in every way. Krav Maga training is one of those things that teaches you to either ‘sink or swim’. You can’t afford to give up when things feel impossible, because if you do, your life could be on the line (sounds dramatic, but it could be the reality). Training makes you face situations where you feel powerless like; being choked out, getting carried away, thrown to the ground, threatened with a knife or gun, being confronted by verbally aggressive individuals. You don’t realise the effect it has on you ’till you experience what you are required to do to get yourself out of there (emphasis on ‘yourself’ because it is likely going to be just you to rely on). There’s an emotional turbulence that comes with training in these situations (which may or may not be immediate). It’s not a combat-sport, where you learn a physical skill and are told you can use it for self defence. In training, you actually are put into those situations. You practice facing the mental aspects as well as the physical. The emotional turbulence is the big lesson… Its your opportunity to evolve and grow. It’s order through chaos, so to speak. As women we often feel like our emotions are our weakness, like they make us look idiotic or irrational, but once you allow yourself to really feel and move through it all you will know just what sort of power you have. Once you move past it you get a focus that helps you stay relatively level headed under highly-stressful situations. You eliminate your in-built reaction to freeze up, to cower inward. You learn to control that reaction to lash out too (not all of us freeze or run at the sign of a stressful experience). You learn to channel it down a path that puts you in control. On a bigger level you develop a drive and a determination that makes you self-resilient, and comfortable with who you are.
So, what emotions/situations will you face during training?
Fear: “I don’t wanna look like a fool. I don’t want to get hurt.” “I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
Doubt: “Will I really be able to do this?”
Insecurity: “I don’t want to hold guys back from training properly.” “Guys treat me differently as a training partner.”
Frustration: “I should be able to do this, but I can’t.” “Why do guys talk down to me.”
Anger: “Why did I let myself get hit.” “Why did I let myself get caught in that attack?” “Why didn’t I react like I should have?”
Pride: “I’m so stoked I got through that drill” “I did everything right this time”
Confidence: “I know I can handle this” “I know I’ll be able to make better choices”
When something makes you feel emotional – go within and ask “what is this really about? Can I do something to change it?” It could be as simple as speaking up and telling your training partner to ‘attack you better’ or ‘hold back on the pressure’. Use the training floor to practice everything from being assertive, confident, strong-willed, capable (the list goes on and on). Once you start showing yourself that you ‘can’, the possibilities are endless. Understand, these are all going to be experienced at some point – maybe not in this order. Likely, you will jump from point to point. You might even go through most of these stages in the space of an hour session. All it takes it to prove to yourself once, that you can do it. You can only gain from learning these skills that should be as important as learning how to read and write. Be brave and take that first step, have faith in yourself and the process of learning. What’s your experience with training been like? Are you thinking of starting training and facing some of these emotional/mental blocks? Comment below 🙂