If your mind is the captain, your body is the airplane. Educating the pilot and training them to fly during emergencies and make the correct decisions under stress is the most important job that any airline or Air Force flight school can do. As with driving, most airplane crashes and accidents that occur are due to human (pilot) error rather than mechanical failure.

It's easy to be happy when you are healthy and successful. But how do you respond in times of trouble? How do you deal with disappointment, failure and defeats?

Though we (the writers) originally came from the world of martial arts, training of military units/special forces and dealing with violence and combat, we also have academic backgrounds and like you, we live in a world where not every confrontation is violent or physical.



Every confrontation has mental components. Every day, throughout the day, we have lots of these small and stressful nonphysical conflicts, from those annoying ones with the mother in-low who invited the family to dinner on a busy night, to the neighbor who's blocking our car in for the third time this week, to the boss who is either openly hostile, or, on the other end of the spectrum, entirely too amorous.

To withstand any kind of conflict, you need mental resources. We all know that to win a street fight, overcome a criminal has who invaded our home, be victorious in the battlefield, or just finish a strenuous training session or competition one must call upon mental capabilities like perseverance, controlled aggression, determination, courage and focus. Giving up is definitely not an option. Those capabilities are in addition, or even the base of, the physical and technical components that should be used to prevail those ordeals. So in the daily life of a modern human, it is important for you to train your mind so you'll be able to function at your peak during a meeting with your employees, a family gathering with people who may criticize your thoughts and way of life, or (if you are a student) during stressful exams.

Have you ever asked yourself, "Am I controlling my mind or does it control me?" This is an excellent question to ask yourself when you find yourself with sweaty palms, a racing heard, and legs twitching nonstop. You've probably felt some of these side effects of nervous energy at one point in your life, whether it was before a big competition, during your presentation at an important company meeting, or when you stepped up to ask that special someone to prom. Trying to control your mind probably felt like trying to reign in the prize bull at a Texas rodeo. What can you do about this wild mind?

There are three pillars of mental training that we teach special forces, LEOs, corporate managers, KMG trainees and warriors. These are the same as those we should teach also martial artists, and students of all ages. They are:

  • Combat Mindset – Developing courage, determination, and controlled aggression and enthusiasm alike.
  • Focus and Concertation – Recruiting and channeling all the mental (and physical) resources to do the mission. The mission can be staying still and paying attention to breathing, or dealing with multiple attackers while defending the self and others.
  • Relaxation and Defusing of Destructive Emotions – Examples of destructive emotions are fear, frustration, anger, anxiety, and hate. Instead, focus on relaxing the muscles and mind.

It's simple (analogical to training techniques in martial arts or realistic self-defense system like Krav Maga): You need to get the tools and knowledge for taming and harnessing the wild mind. Then, through a specific mental training regime, you'll be able to perform much better during all missions, jobs and duties. Eventually, after much training, you'll reach a point where these things will be done effortlessly, with the best possible self-control and maximum attention, while applying the needed mental resources with minimal stress and exertion.

This blog and pictures are taken from the newly published book "Combat Mindset and Fighting Stress"

About the authors:

Master Eyal Yanilov

Master Eyal Yanilov

www.maxkravmaga.com

Eyal Yanilov has been teaching and training Krav Maga for over 45 years. For 20 years he was the closest assistant and right hand of Imi Sde-Or (Lichtenfeld), the founder of Krav Maga.

Since 1984, Eyal has developed and turned Krav Maga into an integrated technical and tactical system, and prepared its modern curriculum. Eyal educated the first generation of KM instructors throughout the world, including in the USA, and has been the driving force behind the dissemination of Krav Maga in the world. Master Yanilov is the Head Instructor and President of Krav Maga Global (KMG), active in over 60 countries. Eyal was educated as an Electrical Engineer.

Ole Boe, Ph.D.

Ole was responsible for developing the Norwegian Military Academy's concept of stress management, preparing officers both physically and mentally for combat. Ole holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology and serves as a University Professor in Oslo. Ole became a Krav Maga instructor under Eyal Yanilov in 1998. He is currently an Expert Level 3 and a member of KMG´s International Team.

KMG, or Krav Maga Global, is the leading provider of training in Krav Maga, fighting skills and 3rd-party protection. KMG's way is an integrated system of mental, technical, tactical-strategical and physical preparation of avoiding, preventing, de-escalating and dealing with both violent and non-violent conflicts.


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Do you want to maximize your self defense skills? Learn the game of combat chess and most importantly the queen of all moves.

Allow me to intercept those who would object to the title of this article. I'm not claiming that there's a secret move, shortcut or hack that will give you the edge in any fight. Even if there was an ultimate weapon or strategy, you likely would avoid it because you
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Looking to buy some weights to gain some strength?

Looking at Dumbbell, Kettlebells or Weighted bar? How about an all in one that won't just save you some good amount of money but also space? Look no further, we bring you the GRIPBELL!

Let's face it, when we do want to work on some strength building, we don't want to go around shopping for 20 different weight equipment things. That would just not want us to even do any sort of strength training. But what if we only needed a few, a few that can do the things we want without having 20 things lay around? That's where the GRIPBELL comes in. Let me clarify with you first, these are not some heavy duty, muscle exploding weights, they are for building the level of strength we as martial artists want without going crazy and insane in bulk sizing!

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Many different types of "blocks" are taught in most martial arts school. We are taught high blocks, low blocks, middle blocks, knife hand blocks, etc. Some schools will also teach how to use the legs to block an attack, as well.

The purpose of this writing is to possibly open some minds to the possibilities of going outside the box and considering alternatives to the basics.

Blocking is taught as a way of protecting oneself from harm. Truly, we don't "block" anything, as a non-martial artist would think of it. What we call "blocking" is more of a redirection of an opponent's attack, or even a counterstrike against the opponent's attacking limb.

To block something would mean to put something, like your arm, leg or other body part directly in front of the attack. That would certainly hurt and possibly cause some damage. The goal should be to move the attack out of the way in order to prevent injury and provide a way to fight back. For example, many schools teach blocks as a limb moving toward the strike such as a circular high block.

The movement required for a block might have other uses, if you keep an open mind. The blocking techniques can also be used as attack techniques. For example, your "low block" may be used as a striking technique against the outer thigh of the attacker. Your high block might be used as a strike to the jaw. The set up for a block can be used as a deflection, as well as the actual block.

Doing a block or a series of blocks will most likely not end an attack. A block needs to be followed by a counterattack. While the block is usually taught as a separate technique in order to learn it correctly, it should also be used in combination with a counter.

The more you know, the more you realize how much you don't know. Intensive books can and have be written about basic techniques. With this writing, I am hoping to create interest in exploring the additional possibilities for what we have been taught and what we teach others.

About Grand Master Stevens

GM Stevens has been training in taekwondo for 47 years under the tutelage of the late legendary Grand Master Richard Chun. He holds an 8th degree black belt and is certified in the USA and in Korea. Grand Master Stevens is a member of the Board of Directors of the prestigious Richard Chun TaeKwonDo World Headquarters organization. He has been very active in his community and has been a volunteer with the Glen Rock Volunteer Ambulance Corps for over 11 years. He is a certified member of C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team).

Gary Stevens Taekwondo is located at 175 Rock Road in Glen Rock, New Jersey.

For more information: call (201) 670-7263, email: StevensTKD@aol.com or go to www.StevensTaeKwonDo.com

Having partners at or above your skill level is important for improving in your martial arts training. At some point, however, you will probably find yourself with a shortage of skilled partners, especially if you are an instructor.

This can happen for any number of reasons: students can move away, change their work schedules, start a family, etc., and just like that, you find that you're the highest-ranked student, or sole instructor, in your gym or dojo. This doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, if you take advantage of it, even working exclusively with lower-ranking classmates or students can improve your skills.

I used to host a twice-a-week training session at my dojo where I invited mostly black belts from other schools (as well as a few of my advanced students) to come and run drills. It was a blast. These were tough two- to three-hour sessions where I got to work with fighters of all different sizes, speeds, and technique preferences. My sparring improved dramatically over the next few months, and I don't think I've ever been in better shape. But unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way. And as the old saying goes, "You gotta work with what ya got." So, make it hard on yourself.

I like to set handicaps when fighting my students. Specifically, I focus on forcing myself to work on improving my weak areas. Is you right leg weaker than the left? Then only kick with the right leg when sparring your students. Not much of an inside fighter? Don't kick at all. Training with partners of lesser skill not only helps you improve your weak points but gives them an opportunity to improve as well by working on strategy. It's also great for building their confidence. It can also be a low-cost opportunity to test new techniques and combinations, which benefits you as well.

In grappling, just like sparring, there is little benefit to wrapping lower ranking classmates into pretzels over and over, for them or you. Instead, let your partner put you in a bad situation. Let them get the mount; help them sink in that choke or armbar. If you start standing, such as in judo, allow your partner to get the superior grip before attempting a throw. This way you will get comfortable working out of a weaker position and your less-experienced partner can perfect their technique (and get experience using multiple techniques, if you get out of their first one).

You might think that giving advantages like these to students who may be far beneath your skill level is much of a challenge. Trust me, you'll reconsider that sentiment when you wind up sparring a 6'5" novice with zero control over his strength after deciding to only use your weak leg, or have a 250-pound green belt lying across your diaphragm trying to get an armlock after you let them get the pin. Remember, this is exactly what you signed up for: a challenge.

If you find yourself at the top of the heap without partners who are sufficiently challenging, there is no need to despair. Use it as a low-stress opportunity to improve your weaknesses and develop avenues to help your less experienced classmates and students to grow. You may even be surprised. One day they might present more of a challenge than you ever imagined!
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