Embrace the Journey – Martial Journal

Gloves worn on the way of the warrior

On January 2, 2022, I commemorate the four years of Krav Maga. Although I am currently training Ju-Jitsu because I can’t hit my injured shoulder, I will always be at the heart of Krav Maga because it has been the gateway to this incredible world of martial arts.

I remember the man who got on the elevator that cold snowy day. I cried from an argument I had with my partner at the time and listened to “Sis Puella Magica” by Yuki Kajiura. I wished I was like a magical girl who fought the forces of evil and brought about change. I was formless, depressed, hopeless, and completely stuck in my life. I assumed I would go to class, I would fall miserably, and then I would return home and laugh at the very thought of ever belonging on the mat.

Nevertheless, I am here, in four years, and I hope to one day become a teaching assistant so that I can work in my community and share my skills.

I got a question from a friend. What advice would I give then if I know what I know now? I have so many ideas, but the main one is simple.

Embrace the road

Of course, that didn’t seem like an answer to the question, so to explain it better to a friend, I wrote a letter to my past.

Dear Elke,

You are going on an adventure that will change your life. I know it doesn’t look like that, but you’re going to look at this day as magical.

So a little advice from your future self. Everyone can tell you things about stretching and hydration before the lesson, but I’ll give you an overview.

You will be incredibly confused. So many new concepts will be thrown at you and you will feel like you are diving rather than swimming.

Pretend you are go to a new country that speaks another dialect of the language you speak. You may know some words, but other words will be complete mysteries. In fact, some of the words you know will have a completely different meaning. It can seem overwhelming and you can feel stupid not knowing it. Relax and enjoy the learning process.

For several months, you will not understand what the different combinations are or how to perform the exercises that are required of you. You are used to being an academically excellent student, so you will feel unsuccessful.

It will take you a long time to realize that you are not expected to know everything correctly, otherwise you would not need this class at all. Your goal is not to know, your goal is to learn. This is achieved through hard work, asking questions and building a set of knowledge, bit by bit.

Stop worrying about weapons defense courses and focus more on basic basic skills such as punching, footwork, breathing, sparring. The fun part is exercising with weapons, but it’s the foundation that will be your greatest benefit. Even higher-level techniques, such as weapons defense, are built on the solid foundations of strikes.

Take a breath for yourself an hour ago. Building skills takes time, so you don’t have to feel frustrated. Autism, PTSD, sensory impairment, anxiety, depression and ADHD together represent a heavy burden and slow down your progress.

Instead of hating yourself for needing more time, you will be grateful that your disability makes you work harder, because Krav Maga is something you get to put into it. You will have to take more lessons, practice more times and even come to lessons just to take notes, just to keep up with people. In addition, this time paid off in a deeper understanding of the movements. You will also have to learn differently. Learning your elbows as a “cross of the heart and hoping to die” may seem a little cheesy, but it will help you learn the right form and one day you will share it with new students who also benefit.

And most importantly, itWorrying and going at your own pace is fine if you always make sure the pace is a small step outside your comfort zone. Martial arts have many gifts for those who practice, and one of them is that people are amazed at how brave they can be. Even if it will be uncomfortable for you a lot of time, you will feel pressured and you will be overwhelmed, you will find the courage to move on. Until you never risk your physical safety, keep going through hard times. Change and growth require a sacrifice of the status quo.

The most important thing to realize is that learning curve in fact, it never ends. The first day you will look admiringly at the students and you think they knew everything. You believe that once you are at the top of the line, you will feel confident.

Four years later, you will be an older student and you will still feel just as clueless. Although things that used to be difficult are much easier for me, they have been replaced by new challenges. One day you will no longer struggle to know the difference between a stab and a cross strike, but you will still struggle to escape from the mounts. You will never feel that you have done it, and that is amazing. Stay hungry to broaden your martial arts training horizons. It is your greatest gift.

It will hurt you beyond your wildest imaginations. You will be pushed beyond your limits and you will be forced to face your own handicaps in new ways. You will have to face past trauma that re-emerges on the mat. You will experience days of frustration, disappointment, fear and exhaustion.

And you look back and say you would do it all over again. You will meet friends and mentors who will educate you for the better, and you will find so much good in you. You will have joys and triumphs that will permeate every aspect of your life and help you improve both personally and professionally. You will have happy memories of teamwork, friendship and personal growth.

I know you’re scared. All I can tell you is to take the journey, continue, and the rewards will come,


The future of you

Honestly, even if time travel were possible, I don’t think this advice would help me on that first day. I needed to go through the journey and endure the battles to gain this wisdom in sweat, blood and tears.

I really appreciate it now.


EDITOR’S NOTE: If you liked this article, don’t miss Krav Maga Journey by Raz Chen!

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