In this article, my goal is to help you enrich your Krav training with some new ideas, concepts, and easy to implement tips. As a Krav home study student, you are blazing a trail that can be hard to walk. Since you are not actually training with a physical instructor and class in a facility, we need to be innovative in our home training methods, and turn up the grit and self-discipline to see similar results. You have your own reasons for mastering Krav Maga: maybe to feel more confident in being able to protect your family; to get in really good shape, and your workout having a purpose; or earning a black belt in a new martial art. Let’s jump in to the helpful tips:
1 Find a Partner that You Can Beat Up – I am completely serious! Well, of course, not to injure, or be malicious. To truly practice the philosophy of Krav, you need to be willing to go hard, and land some of your strikes. We often say to punch right next to the head, while still hitting their shoulder as you punch through. The fact that you are making some sort of contact, and closing the gap to a realistic distance will serve you well in an actual confrontation. You will not be able to train as realistically with your spouse, your child (well, depending on their age and stature), or your boss! The best partner is someone that is also interested in learning Krav, so that you can both do this together.
2 Get Some High Quality Training Targets – To master something, you may have to do it 10,000 times. With our Krav Maga combatives, we want to induce a state of muscle memory and comfort in our physical motions. We want to build natural combatives, which lead from one technique to the next, depending on your angular stance in regards to your opponent’s position. To practice with full power combatives, you need the right gear. A couch pillow will only work for so long, until your wife gets on to you, and you have to buy an entirely new living room set for some reason. Revgear makes some really strong and long-lasting targets and bags. Their products are on the higher end, and more costly (for their durability). Century Martial Arts has some nice stuff as well, which I have used for years. The curved kick shield and tombstone are good for Krav applications. And, a nice hanging bag can be great for general practice and workouts.
3 Change Up Your Training Location – If you always train in the exact same location, with the same lighting, the same floor, and with the same person – are you going to be as prepared for the real world? Try going outside and doing your practice session. Find a gravel driveway and train. How does gravel change your footwork and movement, due to the loss of traction? How do you react in low light, when it is dark? Do you think more attacks happen in low light? What about if it is colder or hotter?
4 Test Your Endurance as a “Stress Drill” – In a real situation, your body will receive an adrenaline dump, and create a very different state of being. We have a few ways to get similar to this state in our practice sessions: causing fatigue or getting really dizzy. Let’s address the first idea. You should not do this every day, but every once in a while, do a complete cardio workout or run before you practice. After running, say 5 miles, your body will be taxed, and wanting to give up. It is in this state that you must still be able to execute your defense movements. Make sure you and your partner are in good enough shape before attempting this; as it is much easier to slip a punch here or there, or pull a muscle.
5 Have a Real Class, 3 Times a Week – Of course, feel free to practice more times during the week, but if you can commit to 3 times a week, for 45 minutes – 1 hour, you’ll be on your way to good progress. When I say have a real class I mean do something that is organized. If you just pop in the DVD, or watch a random segment, that can be okay. But, we are talking about getting repetition, now that you already know the motions. Your real class should comprise of:
Warm Up (15 minutes) – So important to get your heart beat elevated, as well as dynamic stretching
Combatives (15 minutes) -Practicing and delivering combatives at full speed. Your partner holding a shield for your, or delivering straight to a B.O.B or heavy bag.
Self Defense Techniques (20 minutes) –In this section of your class, I recommend choosing just a few techniques to focus on. So, in one class you may choose to do only wrist grabs. Review them, go slowly. Then, have your partner step up the speed and power; and add combatives after each defense. Then, you can step it up and do a stress drill, by getting fatigued or dizzy beforehand. And, after each particular drill, you and your partner can switch places. Maybe the next class you will focus on knife defenses in this section of your class. Or, maybe chokes.
Cool Down (10 minutes) – Play one of our skill building “games”, slow down the pace, and do some static stretching.
6 Keep a Brief Training Journal – Buy a notebook, and make it your Krav journal. Even if you simply note what date you trained on, and for how long, this can be useful. You may end up enjoying this 5-10 minutes of reflection after each of your training sessions, and end up writing about not only your Krav progress, but your progress in life. This has value as a record, and also as personal motivation in seeing how far you have come since your initial start.
7 Eat Clean – Don’t undo all of Your Hard Work!! – Maybe I should have made this number one on this list, because I am so passionate about it. Your diet comes first. Sure, you can superficially cut weight or add weight due to supplements and exercise, but to be truly healthy, you need to completely evaluate your diet. I just completely overhauled my entire diet, pantry, and refrigerator back in March. I am so thankful that my wife started learning more about how nutrition works. Basically, you need to eat food as close to its real source. Sounds like common sense to me. The more actual food that you eat, especially vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes; the better you are going to feel. This can be a daunting change, so I recommend taking it in phases. Here is what we did:
Phase 1 – We threw out everything in our pantry and refrigerator that had high fructose corn, hydrogenated vegetable oils, MSG, and other highly questionable ingredients. We learned that if it is in a box or a can, it is usually not that good for you. We found a local grocery store called Sprouts that we started shopping at. Sprouts it basically like Whole Foods Market, but with more affordable prices, and a more laid-back atmosphere. We started buying “the dirty dozen” list of most pesticide-laden produce, organic only. We also switched to using coconut oil as our main cooking oil. It also has many other uses.
Phase 2 – We removed all chemically-laced cleaning products from our household, including soap and shampoo. This stuff gets absorbed through your skin like a big sponge. We now use Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, baking soda, and vinegar for most applications.
Phase 3 – We started juicing every day. Wow! It feels so good to drink a juice every morning! I actually just made one after waking up and immediately sat down to write this article, because I have so much energy. I also got over my caffeine addiction, and no longer drink coffee. There are so many benefits that you can connect to your own Krav Maga training. You can get your daily serving of fruits and veggies through drinking a juice. Our “normal juice” recipe for one person is:
3 Stalks of Organic Celery
1 Organic Tomato
½ Organic Beet
3 Organic Carrots
1 Organic Green Apple
1’’ of Organic Ginger
1 tbsp. of Spirulina
Phase 4 – Where we are now. We now buy everything organic when possible, drink a juice every day, and eat really clean meals. And our meals are delicious! I don’t just live on juicing alone, but have removed chemically-laced and manufactured foods. The fresher and more alive something is (hint: raw foods) the higher percentage of nutrition you will receive. Oh, and we have just about eliminated eating refined white sugar; as well as any GMO. And, drink a lot of water all during the day, your body needs it! Some movies that are enjoyable to watch that will inform you even further: Food Inc, Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead, Hungry for Change, and Fed Up.
8 Learn to Relax Your Body and Mind – Why, shouldn’t you be on constant alert and edge if you want to survive a confrontation? The most cool, calm, and collected fighter will win in a short bout; due to the ease of movement, detachment, and seamless reactions. By learning to relax during your training, you enter a space of no-thoughts. If you played sports when you were younger, think back to how that felt. When you were running down the football field, or “in the zone” on the basketball court, or when you spar in a kickboxing or karate match. When you “enter the zone” so to speak, you are at your highest potential. You are not worrying, or anxious about your opponent, but just being one in the moment, reacting and moving as you respond to an initial attack. And, from there, you can become and aggressor, and turn the defense into a final attack on your opponent to end the confrontation.
9 Prepare for Your Level Certification Exam – By setting a date to complete your level requirements, and film your exam, you can coerce yourself into consistent training. By have the prospect of earning rank in our course, and some day a black belt, you have a great goal than purely practicing. It is important that you feel like the techniques in your level requirements are nearly second nature to your body, before you attempt the rank exam.
10 Stay in Touch – Stay in touch with your Total Krav Maga grading instructor when you have a quick question, or to get prepped for testing. Stay in touch with other home study students on our student forum (coming soon). Having a community around you will make you stronger.
Let me know if these tips were helpful in the comments below.
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