Sunday, March 3, 2013

Use It Before You Teach It!

As I continue to teach Krav Maga and cross-train in Kung Fu, I am coming up with a myriad of moves which seem absolutely brilliant.  When this happens, I want to climb the nearest rooftop and proclaim my newfound knowledge to everyone within earshot, and take to Twitter to reach everyone else.  I eagerly anticipate all the "oooooos" and "aaaaahhhhs" of my future disciples as they worship my genius.

Fortunately, I have learned to stop before I make a complete fool out of myself.

The fact of the matter is that, just because something is new, creative, and innovative, does not mean that it will actually work.  This doesn't mean that you shouldn't try out different things.  It just means that you shouldn't promote something until you have thoroughly tested it out.  There is one place where you can experiment without getting yourself killed: training!  This is where, with the guidance of an instructor, you can figure out whether or not your new technique will save your life.  Most likely, you will need to change the setup, target, and timing of the technique to utilize it effectively.  However, if you put in the effort and make the necessary adjustments, you may have just developed something that will save your life, as well as the lives of others.  Here are some questions to answer before you start showing off your fancy new move:

1) Will it work on someone bigger and stronger than you?
2) Can you do it without putting yourself in harm's way?
3) Is it easy to remember?
4) Is it quick and efficient? 
5) Does it accomplish what you need it to accomplish (i.e. disarming someone with a weapon, handling multiple aggressors, escaping from a grappling hold, etc.)?

If you say no to any of the above, then you don't have a useful martial arts technique.  You have a "combat disco" move that will look great at a talent show or in a Youtube video, but which has no self-defense value whatsoever.  As much fun as it would be to get an award or to go viral, I'm not doing this for a standing ovation or to get a bunch of likes on Facebook.  I'm doing it to protect myself and to teach my students how to save their own lives.  For that reason, no matter how awesome a move looks in my head, I'm going to test it out in training to make sure that it works.  The only way that I will know if it is effective is if I use it before I teach it!

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