This is second part of my post on our private Krav Maga training session with F. If you haven’t already, read the great parts of the private lesson too.
As we neared the end of our private session, F asked us to do one final drill. As the attacker, I could attack Chris with anything from level one. He would stand with his eyes closed and I would attack with a choke or a head lock. Whatever I wanted. He had to defend it.
Just as in a regular class, F turns off most of the gym lights for extra effect and turns up the music.
Chris defends well. The first time I attack, he pauses and laughs nervously and then continues the defense. After that, he’s a machine and can take anything I throw his way. Stationary chokes. Headlocks. Chokes with a push. He’s got it all down.
Then it’s my turn. I’m pretty nervous. I’ve never been challenged like this. I’ve never had to defend any attack that might come my way. I’m excited and curious about how I’ll do.
I close my eyes and try to relax. His hands wrap around my throat with an attack from the side. I pluck, strike, and turn my body towards him to go on the offensive. It’s a relief. Great! That wasn’t so bad. I can do this. My adrenaline is still surging. I’m pumped.
I close my eyes again and start thinking about what these attacks mean. Under what circumstances would someone want to harm me like this?
Chris attacks me with a choke from the front. I pluck both his hands off my neck and drive my right elbow out as I normally would. Unfortunately, the abnormal thing about this offense is that my elbow collides with his mouth. A tiny, white tooth goes flying through the air and Chris reaches his hands out to stop my continued assault. There’s no reason to try to stop me. As soon as my elbow makes contact, I’m retreating back to make sure he’s okay.
My right elbow is bleeding from a neat puncture wound the size of a single front tooth. Drops of blood hit the grey floor as I reach down and pick up his half broken incisor.
F jogs over and see if Chris is okay. Chris says he’s fine and it doesn’t hurt. I don’t believe him. I feel awful. I can’t believe this is happening. I never wanted to hurt Chris. I never wanted this to happen to him.
F turns down the music so he can talk to us. He quietly reminds us (me) on the importance of practicing safely, holding ourselves back a little, and not making full contact with our partners unless we’re moving slowly or there’s a pad to strike. And also, we should get mouth guards.
The monster in my gut continues to chew on my stomach lining.
I still feel awful.
Chris seems fine. He’s not mad. He still wants to keep training. He’s mostly just worried about getting a new tooth in time for the test in two weeks. Again, I’ve added another thing for him to worry about with this test.
It’s given me a lot to think about and here’s what I’ve been considering for the past week.
I’m learning something that works.
I’m fully aware this is precisely what I’m training to do and I may seem unbelievably naive to some.
- Of course, this is what your body is capable of.
- What did you expect to happen?
- What are you doing in Krav Maga if you don’t realize the power you’re gaining?
It was still a shock to see the damage my little arm can do without my intention of causing harm. This shit works. I can’t deny I feel a little pride in doing the technique correctly. I’m capable of great things no matter how terrible they can be.
This knowledge comes with great responsibility.
In my mind, I’ve always been training in these techniques to use against “bad guys”. That doesn’t mean I can’t accidentally cause damage to the people I care about too. It also makes me think hard about when this kind of force should be used. I doubt I would hesitate to use these skills if I felt I was being threatened in a life/death situation, but there are lots of grey scenarios in the world. It has given me pause.
Training safely is more important than ever.
I know aggression is not my problem. I plan to take extra care with my partners going forward and focus on technique, speed, and power. It’s a delicate balance to maintain.
This includes training with the right protective gear. I’m officially a proponent of the mouth guard. I’ve been telling every partner since this incident to get a mouth guard. I haven’t started opening up yet about why I think it’s so important or what I did specifically. I’m embarrassed and I don’t want to gain the reputation as the girl who injures people. I’ll get over it eventually and open up more about this experience.
It was a dumb mistake that should never have happened, but I’ve learned a lot. I don’t want to scare off other potential trainees. This is not how it should be, but it’s a great lesson in being a mindful partner. There’s another human being on the other side of your fist (or elbow).
Now you can see why I broke these two experiences in two parts. They were both awesome—one exceptionally great and one exceptionally terrible. I can’t tell you how much I learned in our one short hour. You’ve just read my single most productive lesson in Krav Maga to date.
Be delicate, dear Internet friends. No one can possibly make me feel worse than I already do.
Practice safely. Practice with care.