Monday, November 12, 2012

So You Have Signed Up for Your 1st Krav Maga Test. 9 Tips

Testing is not a mandatory part of our self defense program.  Some students, however, want a more tangible way to gauge their progress, enjoy testing, or want to become instructors.

Whatever the reason(s), testing is a rigorous process that requires careful preparation, attention to detail, and a commitment to improving.  Testing is not easy but it will help you better understand how far you have come and what you need to work on.

Here are 9 tips for testing:

  1. Know the curriculum:  If the instructor tells you to perform an upward vertical elbow and you only offer her a blank stare you are in trouble!  
  2. Understand terminology: 200% defense, inside defense, outside defense, 360, deflect, block, rotation, recoil, pluck, step, skip, slide..................If you don't know....ask...before the test.
  3. Techniques Must Be Performed as If They Would Work in Real Life:  If you deflect a punch then strike with the speed and power that would barely alter the route of a passing butterfly then time to step it up.  Be safe but be aggressive.   
  4. Scan:  Look around for secondary dangers.  Not doing so during the test can lead to failure.  Failing to do so in real life can prevent you from seeing the incoming fist, knife, grab, streetcar.....
  5. Recoil:  When you strike bring your, hand, elbow, knee, foot, back as soon as possible.  You might need to strike again, protect yourself, or leave. Only hold the strike if you are posing for Black Belt Magazine.
  6. Rotate:  Rent The Wizard Of Oz and watch the Tin Man before he gets oiled up.  Don't be like that.  When you strike rotate your shoulders, hips....   Be more like the Scarecrow - loose but with more control.  (Yes, we can link Krav Maga to everything). 
  7. Focus:  One technique, one exercise, at a time.  Focus on performing each as well as you can.  Don't think about what is coming or what has been.  (That's what Yoda would say).
  8. Understand "Why":  If the instructor asks why you performed a hammer fist rather than a straight punch don't answer "Cuz my instructor said so".  You need to know why.   Logic is your friend.  
  9. Prevent:  Instructors want to see good habits.  If your partner approaches you from 5 or so feet away with intent to grab, choke, hug, stab etc... prevent - from this distance with a kick or running.  Only when the instructor specifies will you allow contact. 

Place your testing in the context of your development.  Pass or fail you are taking a step closer to becoming a better Krav Maga student and more capable of defending yourself. 

P.s. There are 7 elbow strikes!

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga Federation, Toronto

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