Monday, August 11, 2014

Perseverance in Training

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
― Confucius, Confucius: The Analects

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
― Confucius

To become proficient in anything requires sustained effort and focus.

It also involves working through various obstacles or challenges. Some examples:
  • Perhaps you are not as athletically gifted as some of the other students. 
  • You might have a busy life that only allows you to only train once a week.  
  • There are certain techniques that you are struggling to understand and perform. (I always had problems with wrist releases.)
  • You have a temporary or permanent disability (e.g. back problems) that can slow down or limit your training
Such factors can frustrate.  They can be more frustrating if you are comparing yourself to other students (or instructors) who have rapidly moved up the testing ranks.

We can’t always expect rapid, monumental progress in our training.  Besides the above-mentioned limitations, we simply find ourselves struggling with particular techniques, concepts, and exercises.


Here are some suggestions to help you persevere:

Be a tortoise:  There will always be students who are more athletic and seem to perform techniques and exercises with annoying ease.  You might not be as gifted but persist over the long run and you will marvel at your progress.
Adjust Your Standards:  Monumental leaps in proficiency are not always forthcoming. Strive to improve a little every month, every week, every class, and every exercise…  Your sustained effort will reap benefits.
Don’t Compare:  There is always someone better.  Don’t torment yourself by comparing yourself to someone who is more skilled.  Focus on your own development.
Adapt Your Learning.  Your body is tired?  Watch some Krav Maga videos.  Read some blogs.😉 Stretch.  You have a leg injury?  Consider how you would defend yourself from a sitting position.  Adapt.
Don’t Forget the Fundamentals!  Continue to refine you basic strikes, releases, body defenses etc…  This will help you when you are learning more complex techniques.
Don't Binge. Train Consistently.  I have seen students who try to binge by showing up 4 times a week before a test vs those who show up consistently once or more week on a consistent basis.  The latter do better.

Persist with small steps and you will improve and become proficient.

Stay safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Being a Krav Maga Instructor: Developing and Improving Quality Teaching

People ask me why I become a Krav Maga instructor, particularly an instructor with the The International Krav Maga Federation, (IKMF).  It is a great question and there are many reasons.  One reason centers around what I see as the IKMF's continued efforts to ensure quality instruction to offer the best possible self defense to our students. 

Becoming a Certified Instructor
There is no short cut to achievement.  Life requires thorough preparation - veneer isn't worth anything. George Washington Carver

It is recommended that candidates have 4 years of martial arts experience.   I would also strongly suggest some training at a reputable Krav Maga school.  The Civilian Instructor Certification (CIC) runs for 20 days, 8 hours a day.

The course is divided into 3 parts: techniques, theory, and teaching methodology.  Prospects must achieve high standing in all three categories to pass the course.  It is, of course, tempting to simply flood the market with instructors to make for more short-term returns. We cannot, however, compromise on quality. There are no shortcuts to becoming an IKMF instructor, no correspondence courses, or weekend crash courses where Friday you pay a substantial fee and by Sunday you are certified to teach.  There is too much at stake.  Your safety!

Here is a video with IKMF Global Instructor Tamir Gilad describing the Civilian Instructor Course (CIC):

Renewals and Continued Education

“Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise.” - Denis Waitley

Becoming certified is only the first step.  Instructors are required to renew their certification annually to maintain technical quality, improve their skills, and stay current on any curriculum changes.  This assures that your instructor's knowledge and skill level are up to date and you have access to the most  effective techniques.  During these "renewals", instructors also have to opportunity to talk with other instructors as well as National Directors and members of the Global Instructor Team(GIT). This offers a great opportunity to share training and teaching tips.  Instructors always return to their schools with more knowledge and wisdom.  

This commitment to quality control is one of the main reasons I decided to train with the IKMF and continue to teach as part of this organization. With your safety we don't want to take any shortcuts or compromise teaching quality. 

Stay safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto