Monday, January 20, 2014

Krav Maga Training: Working With Your Current Fitness Level

One of the most frequently expressed concerns about self defense training is a person’s fitness level - or lack thereof.  This is expected as self defense training is physical and does involve fast movements, coordination, and stamina.  Also daunting are the YouTube videos and other media images that feature extremely fit people performing techniques at high speed.

Be assured that your fitness limitations will not prevent you from learning self defense.  In fact, we are adamant that self defense should be accessible to everyone.   Of course, we encourage you to improve your fitness but we will work with “where you are” and help you get to a higher level at your pace.

Here are 4 ways to address your fitness concerns during your self-defense training. 

Communication:  Be honest with your instructor and other students.  If an exercise is beyond your current abilities please tell your instructor.  To improve, you need to challenge your fitness limits but not risk injury or being so stiff and sore you can barely get out the door the next morning.

Modifications:  Very difficult exercises such as “burpee jumps” and dynamic push ups can be modified to easier versions such as simple squats and wall push ups to accommodate your fitness level.  Over time you will be able to perform more challenging versions. 

Repetitions.  Some students can do 60+ consecutive push ups while others struggle to do 10, 5, or 1.  Take stock of where you are and build slowly and consistently.  One of our students began with 4 push ups.  Eighteen months later she can do 20 consecutive push ups.  Impressive!

Patience.  It can be frustrating to struggle through a handful of jumping squats while the person next to you is at 30 and still smiling!   Remember, you are not competing with other students but are striving to improve your self defense skills from class to class. 

It is natural to have concerns and insecurities around your fitness level.  Work from your existing level to gradually improve and don’t let your fitness limitations discourage you from learning skills that can save your life. 

Be safe, 

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

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