In recent months, I have been asked the question by many students – “How do I optimize my training to get the best results?”
So many kept their gym membership for months, but they had no intent to lift weights and gain significant muscle tone, just “to be fit.” So, I decided to write this article to help offer perspective on KME’s vision, and perhaps that will help explain how our class structure works.
While no “art form,” and no instructor, can provide a “one-stop-shop,” we aim to provide a well-rounded curriculum that will help with the overall objective of well-being. The main keyword for how we do it is – balance.
Mastering self-defense requires grasping the interplay between aggression and assertiveness—a delicate balance between power, strength, and softness. It involves not only fighting with intensity but also the discernment to refrain from causing harm when appropriate – a balance of capability and restraint.
This is understanding the need for extensive and intensive practice while also emphasizing the need for deliberate, slow practice to ensure safety. Building neuropathic connections in our brains requires time and dedication, along with instilling a vigilant mindset.
In training, you will find it all. But each aspect must be learned with time and cannot be rushed.
So, how do you know how to find your balance in such training?
Finding balance in martial arts training involves addressing various aspects of your practice, including physical conditioning, technical skills, mental focus, and overall well-being.
Here are some tips to help you achieve balance in your martial arts training:
1. Start Slow. That is The Fastest Way to Learn
When learning a new skill, especially one that makes you feel stronger and more confident, you might get addicted to it quickly! Many people find their body becomes more expressive and expansive when practicing. So they want more of it, and they want it now.
Even with enthusiasm, the practice can become ‘sloppy’ and the student forgets the bigger picture – so practice and master the fundamentals first.
If I had a dime for every time a student said, “I only want to train in weapon disarming” or “I only want to spar.”… I would be a millionaire by now.
Pro tip- this mindset often leads those to hurt themselves or someone else during in their practice.
2. Set Realistic Goals
Define clear and achievable short-term goals. The long-term goals are more straightforward to most of us. We want to be confident, well-versed, stronger and healthier. Again, start with mastering the basic techniques, reaching a level of fitness that will allow your body to practice harder and longer.
This is why we have level testing. Each level is designed to meet the goals we set for you!
3. Integrate Resting Time
Integrating rest time in training (especially Krav Maga) is imperative for a holistic approach to physical development. Beyond preventing injuries and promoting muscle recovery, rest intervals are essential for avoiding burnout, enhancing your overall performance, and sustaining energy levels necessary for the high-intensity nature of Krav Maga.
Mental refreshment during rest periods improves focus and decision-making abilities, which is vital in a discipline that demands quick and effective responses. Additionally, rest facilitates the adaptation and progression of skills learned in Krav Maga, ensuring practitioners are physically and mentally prepared for real-world self-defense scenarios while minimizing the risks of overtraining and exhaustion.
4. Physical Conditioning
A part of the requirement to improve your fighting skills is fitness. The great news is that physical fitness and conditioning are a benefit of the training anyway!
We incorporate strength training, flexibility and mobility exercises, and cardiovascular workouts into the class routine. Not all classes are “heavy on the fitness” level. We build the weekly curriculum with the objective of emphasizing different aspects of training.
Simply said, a well-conditioned body can enhance your overall performance and reduce the risk of injuries.
5. Technical Skills:
Dedicate time to perfecting your techniques. Drill fundamental movements regularly, but also challenge yourself with more advanced techniques to keep the learning process exciting. As I always say – 90% of the time, focus on what is more likely to happen and build the skills you need, but 10% of the time – play. It’s essential to enjoy the training and get inspired by practicing more advanced techniques from time to time.
6. Mental Focus:
Mental strength builds resilience, a crucial life skill, let alone in martial arts.
You learn how to keep you mind calm under pressure and make better decisions during stressful situations. This skill goes well beyond the mat space!
High-stress drills and sparring will help you become comfortable with discomfort.
I have yet to meet a person who didn’t benefit from being resilient. Learning to be tough doesn’t mean you must be tough, it just means you won’t break so quickly!
Many overlook the significance of their eating habits. Food functions as fuel and a collection of chemicals influencing physical and mental performance, capable of improving our mood, changing our thoughts, and affecting our motivation. This also represents your discipline.
Food plays a crucial role in our mental and physical recovery post-workout.
Think of your body as a car that needs the right kind of fuel to run smoothly. Healthy food is like the premium-grade fuel that keeps the engine purring and helps the car perform at its best. Eating various nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is like giving your car the top-quality gas it craves. Most importantly, it keeps it away from having to see the mechanics every so often!
If you constantly fill your car’s tank with sugary snacks and greasy foods, it’s like putting cheap, low-quality fuel in the gas tank. The car might still move, but it won’t run as efficiently, and you might run into problems sooner than you’d like. So, by choosing healthy foods, you’re not just eating to satisfy your hunger; you’re making sure your body is ready to hit the road and handle whatever comes your way.
While writing the training curriculum for Krav Mag Experts, I implemented everything I knew was necessary to build a well-versed fighter. This is why we added Boxing, BJJ, and other strike classes to our weekly schedule. Each style provides a different fighting perspective, prevents monotony, and improves overall athleticism. Those classes are essential – I don’t want you to be too comfortable in training. You must be challenged if you want to grow.
9. Regular Assessments:
Periodically assess your progress and adjust your training plan accordingly.
This is why we schedule level testing and encourage all students to participate. In each class, we practice one or two techniques, but during the test, you are required to perform many techniques in a “level-appropriate” way. Each level you accomplish will unlock the next level of difficulty, and improvements will come with its mastery.
Those assessments help you identify areas that need improvement while celebrating your achievements. Some are surprised by how well they have done under pressure, others discover they aren’t as skilled as they thought they were. It’s a humbling experience and an important one to go through if you want to optimize your training and have an expert, unbiased assessment of your skills in addition to your own.
This process ensures clarity and readability in understanding your strengths and areas for growth.
10. Mobility & Flexibility
Incorporate proper warm-up before training hard, you must allow your body to prepare for the activity you’re about to experience. Tight hips and shoulders usually lead to injuries. The injuries may manifest in other parts of your body; the source of them often is with tight muscles and joints with limited mobility.
People may attempt to cheat in their stretches by using improper techniques to create a false sense of achieving a longer range of motion. Common cheating like ignoring joint pain, not knowing what “good pain vs bad pain is,” bouncing stretches, and poor posture when leaning too far forward or backward during a stretch (which will provide the appearance of increased flexibility without actually targeting the intended muscle group.)
Listen to your body’s feedback and address any discomfort promptly to avoid long-term issues. Don’t glorify pain. But don’t be afraid of it either. You should learn the difference between constructive versus destructive pain if you seek longevity.
11. Time Management:
Efficiently allocate your time to maintain a balance between your training commitments and other facets of life, including work, family, and social engagements. I know that the studio often serves as a social hub for many students (and I love it!), all the more reason to cultivate a holistic approach by nurturing various dimensions of your life. This practice ensures that your martial arts journey becomes a valuable enhancement to your overall well-being rather than it dominating it.I have seen students who devoted so much time to their training at the studio that their significant others stopped supporting their journey because they didn’t have a good balance of training, family, and work life.
In summary, finding balance is a personal journey, requiring adjustments based on individual needs. Enjoy the process, stay committed to improvement, and let your training contribute to a healthy lifestyle and effective boundary-setting.
As I witness hundreds of individuals flourish in their training, transforming into happier, healthier, and more confident beings, I am reminded that our collective journey in martial arts extends beyond personal growth. Your success is not just your own; it ripples into the world, creating a community of better humans.
Your reward is my reward. The world benefits from us being better humans.
Do something amazing,
Founder & CEO
Krav Maga Experts