With this as a backdrop, I want to stress a simple mental framework you must have once you open yourself to learning Krav Maga: your past martial arts experience (whether you were yellow belt or black belt) may be helpful with regard to understanding the mechanics of striking or kicking, or perhaps your movements and stances, but every time you enter the mats you should act as if you are a white belt and that everything you are being shown is to be learned as if for the first time. As a 5th degree black belt mentor of mine once taught me of his own training:
“My cup is always empty. I can always learn to improve all areas of my art. no matter how basic”.
I have many students who enter my studio with advanced ranks from different styles. All of these students come well equipped with multiple techniques to address various physical engagements, whether open handed or weaponed. I applaud the fact they keep an open mind and are interested in learning alternate strategies and tactics. I further encourage the dialogue between us during class and ask them to demonstrate their techniques so that we can exchange opinions on when and how each technique work best. In the end, that is the point of training, right? We must distill the countless maneuvers of different styles we are exposed to and use what works best for us. If a technique we learn does not feel right to us, or requires a physical attribute we don’t currently possess, we will never use it when the moment of crisis arises.
Krav Maga’s insignia, the “Kuf-Mem”, was created with an opening at the top of the circle and an opening at the bottom. This was intentional. It signifies the fact that Krav Maga always evolves, not just as a system but for for each kravist. Techniques flow in through the top of the circle so that we get to work it through countless scenarios and testing our physical abilities. Those that work, stay in the system, those that do not, flow out the bottom opening. This is what keeps Krav Maga updated and relevant with regard to defenses against trending MMA styles of combat or even latest weaponry being deployed by our potential attackers.
In summary, I remind everyone to consistently train with an eye towards being open to learning new ideas, strategies and tactics. Krav Maga’s genius is that is knows enough to constantly evolve and grow from continued study of other solutions. As Bruce Lee is credited as saying ,we should strive to have “No way be the way”; meaning that there should never be a limit to how much you learn and there should always be an openness to other styles and tactics. This is what defines growth not just as a kravist, but as a person.