In the beginning of the year, I needed an adventure to become fully alive. By choosing Krav Maga, here are 5 lessons I’ve learned.
1. If you truly want to change your life, you must first be willing to change your mind.
While exercise and sufficient sleep are important, I had never seriously considered eating healthy. I had always performed with above-average athleticism, so why bother?
One day, my Krav Maga instructor asked, “If you actually ate healthier, how much better would you perform?”
My epiphany was that while food is meant to be enjoyed, food should be considered a drug. After all, food is a substance consumed to deliberately change how one’s body feels and performs. With this new perspective, I optimize my performance by intentionally drinking less fruit juices and eating less white rice (my guilty pleasures). I also focus on eating more vegetables and drinking more water. The results went beyond my expectations. I have more energy throughout the day and I’ve never felt more alive than now.
2. Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.
If you practice doing something wrong 5,000 times, you are going to do something wrong on that 5,001st attempt. Even worse, you will have engraved the wrong technique in your mind when it comes to muscle-memory.
What this means for each of us, no matter the adventure, is to practice properly. One good way to do this is to be held accountable with the best teachers and classmates, which is a great transition to the next lesson learned.
3. If you’re doing this alone, you’re doing it wrong.
We grow and develop faster with mentorship, accountability and oversight in how we progress. For me, in order for a combative to sink in and become part of my muscle memory and innate reflex, I fight with classmates (as opposed to a heavy bag) repeatedly. If you have the opportunity to partner with someone who actively resists, engages, and counter attacks, you will improve faster than living your adventure in a vacuum.
For those who are engaging in a solo project, such as writing a novel, you can still seek help. Proofreaders. Editors. Even if you have elite writing skills, there are tons of people out there who can relate to your journey and inspire you to do better. Join an online forum. Attend a weekly writer’s meeting. A supportive community will care about you and your progress.
4. It’s not about how bad you want it. It’s about how hard you’re willing to work for it.
Reality check: as you try to learn something new, you will fail many times. The bruises on my body are visible reminders.
Failure shows you where you shouldn’t be. It’s also an opportunity to reevaluate and fight back stronger and wiser. So long as failure is not fatal, you will have another shot to try again. And after every full-hearted attempt, the goal will be easier to attain and your confidence will grow too. Failure is not the end. It’s a redirection to success.
5. Focus on your goal but cherish the journey.
When I attended my first Krav Maga class, I didn’t know how to throw a proper punch. 9 months later, I’m amazed at what my body can do under extremely stressful situations. And to think this is only a glimpse of what a black belt practitioner can do! But the point is not to solely focus on the final destination. Rather, cherish the steps made and the milestones accomplished. Celebrate what has been learned and what has been done. Appreciate those who have helped and been with you since your first step on this adventure. Use that positive energy for the next challenge.
For those who are taking their first steps in leaving their comfort zone and taking risks, I hope these 5 lessons encourage and help you as they did for me. Before you know it, you’ll be looking back on that first day of your adventure and realize that it was the new beginning you had been waiting for.