Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Self Defense Training and the Flywheel

In his seminal book, Good to Great, Jim Collins explores how good companies become better great.

Though focused on business, Collins offers some lessons that can be applied to becoming a proficient Krav Maga practitioner.

One of these centers around the analogy of the flywheel.  Collins writes:

     Picture a huge, heavy flywheel - a massive metal disk mounted horizontally on an axle, about 30 feet in diameter, 2 feet thick, and weighing about 5,000 pounds.  Now imagine that your task is to get the flywheel rotating on the axle as fast and as long as possible.
     Pushing with great effort, you get the flywheel to inch forward, moving almost imperceptibly at first.  You keep pushing and, after two or three hours of persistent effort, you get the flywheel to complete one entire turn.  You keep pushing and, after two or three hours of persistent effort, you get the flywheel to complete one entire turn.
     You keep pushing, and the flywheel begins to move a bit faster, and with continued great effort, you move it around a second rotation.  You keep pushing in a consistent direction.  Three keep pushing...the flywheel builds up speed...
      Then, at some point - breakthrough! The momentum of the thing kick in your favor, hurling the flywheel forward, turn after turn...whoosh!...its own heavy weight working for you...Each turn of the flywheel builds upon work done earlier compounding your investment of effort...
      Now, suppose someone came along and asked, "What was the one big push that caused this thing to go so fast?"
     You wouldn't be able to answer; it's just a nonsensical question.  Was it the first push? The second? The fifth.  The Hundredth? No!  It was all of them added together in the overall accumulation of effort applied in a consistent direction..... (165)

To me, this speaks not only to the evolution of a great business but also to other aspirations such as becoming a proficient Krav Maga practitioner. This person trains regularly and, in a steady manner learns, works, and improves. It isn't her near perfect Practitioner 3 test, or an epiphany during a workshop he attended last year. Rather, it is the accumulation of the weekly strikes, attention to technical detail, the questions, conditioning exercises, reflexive drills..... all of these focused activities lead to greater proficiency.
As the student gains momentum, she is able to perform defenses reflexively without pause. Movements that once felt awkward become comfortable. New situations and solutions are assessed more readily.  Of course, to improve he must continue to train.

Don't look for shortcuts.  It is the consistent, focused and effective efforts that lead to progress, and ultimately make you better able to protect yourself. 

Stay safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

picture courtesy of Can Stock Photo Inc.

Jim Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't.  New York:               Harper Collins, 2001

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