Goal setting is a very important life skill. You should regularly be setting targets as a way of self-improvement in all aspects of your life. This month’s blog will take a look at goal setting in Krav Maga but a lot of these processes are transferable to daily life.
Self- improvement will always require setting achievable goals with a certain time frame. A regular goal that most practitioners in Krav Maga will have is gaining their next level at a grading. However, not everyone plans on grading or you may have a longer wait till your next patch; this is when you can create other goals that will help improve your Krav Maga abilities.
The Krav Maga levels in KMG are split into 3 categories;
Each has its own prerequisite skills required for the level. Practitioner levels are the operator levels. You look at how to perform basic striking and deal with certain problems.
Graduate is the fighter level where practitioners begin to develop a fighter mentality and whatever happens in the altercation they have fighting skills which they can fall back on to deal with the problem.
Finally, the expert levels, are warrior levels are where you have learned the solutions to most problems, and have the knowledge and skill set to fall back on if something goes wrong. You are able to problem solve in unknown situations following the principles of the Krav Maga system.
First thing we need to do is identify where we are… then where we want to be and finally what do we need to do to get there. Now you may have just sat your P1 and have the ambition to become an Expert level…a very good dream or goal…but we have to consider time scales. It will take you at least 6 years, even if you have a considerable amount of time to train or are already a competent martial artist. This might be a little overzealous in terms of goal setting. It can definitely be a dream to chase but let’s think about the best way to make a goal and short term objectives to help meet it.
Every goal which we create should meet the SMART criteria;
S– Specific- What exactly do you want to achieve? e.g. gain my P2 patch at the next grading, to side kick above my head height.
M– Measurable- You know when you have achieved it. For the above examples you gain your patch or can now size kick to that height specified.
A– Achievable- Is this a realistic goal for you? You might want to be the next Eyal but are you going to be able to dedicate yourself to Krav Maga… However, as an adage it should be DIFFICULT! Nothing worthwhile is easy.
R– Relevant- Is this goal important to you? Does it line up with other goals you have set yourself?
T– Time frame- There should always be a time scale to your goal. This leads us to push and strive to meet the goals. If we don’t set a time limit then we might never achieve the goal.
Now we have decided where we are at… and what we want to achieve by using the SMART criteria. Now, how do we get there? This is where we can set out some short-term objectives to eventually lead us to our target. We will work with a straightforward example- going for our next grading.
Let’s say we have a year till our next grading and we are aiming for our G1. My goal is specific, I am going to gain my G1 patch. It is measurable, I either get the patch or don’t. I am P5 so it is achievable. My dream is to become an instructor so it is relevant to me and important. I have the time-frame of 1 year until the test.
In KMG we have the syllabus laid out which helps guide Krav Maga students and instructors to the skills they need to display for their next level.
- I will use the G1 syllabus to help me prepare for my level. We can break the syllabus up in to smaller more manageable pieces. Separating the striking, knives, guns, self defence, self defence on ground and fighting skills out to focus on these sections one at a time in the months throughout the year until my test.
- There will be certain parts of the syllabus that may be new to me so I will use MaxKravMaga, seek out the assistance of other higher level students or my instructor.
- For the G1 grading I will need to plan in to my training schedule previous level techniques so I still have practised all the lower level techniques.
- I have highlighted my striking is an area I feel I need to develop
Most of these make enough sense and don’t require any more input. If we look at the striking objective we might want to add to that. Or make it a long- term goal alongside our G1 patch. It will help us get there so it is relevant.
To improve my striking I will;
- Attend Krav Maga striking class/ boxing/Muay Thai classes.
- Get private training sessions with instructor.
- Use some PDP time on pad work.
Now we have two goals;
To gain my G1 patch in 1- years time.
To improve the speed and power of my striking for the grading next year.
You will notice the goal has been altered slightly to make it more specific. This goal may seem difficult to measure but if you have a pad holder and you can video yourself training you should see your improvement from one of these sources.
This is the process that we should be undertaking every year, setting goals and determining how to meet them. Remember your goals are not set in stone and can be altered during your training plan. But try not to have more than 3 main goals as it will be difficult to focus and complete all.
How Phil Munro KMG Scotland Director used goal setting to get his Expert level 2.
KMG Scotland instructor and Head of KMG in Scotland Phil “The Doc” Munro recently received his Expert level 2 after the gruelling Expert training camp and grading in Israel. We had a chat with him about how he undertook preparing for the grading.
When you decided to test for your E2 what was the most important aspect of your preparation?
It started with a brutally honest appraisal of where I was in terms of my training. I thought about all the feedback I had been given over the last few years (including previous gradings) and made a list of specific weaknesses or areas I had to improve if I wanted to be successful. People tend to practice the stuff they are already comfortable with or are good at and I wanted to do the opposite. This allowed me to come up with a fairly clear plan that I was determined to follow for the 6 months leading up to the test.
I also realised at the start of this process that I was going to be the sole representative for KMG Scotland at the Expert Camp and testing in 2018 and I wanted to make sure I didn’t let anyone down.
Did you set out specific goals to lead you to get your E2?
Based on my plan I set out some priorities and figured out how to attack them, starting on January 2nd 2018.
Firstly, I just wasn’t flexible enough so I started following an online mobility programme called ROMWOD and did their daily 15-20 minute mobility routines religiously.
Secondly, I needed to improve my striking and “fight conditioning” so I started taking lessons with a professional Thai Boxing coach twice a week increasing to 3 times per week for the last month. These included pad work, bag work, intense bodyweight exercises, stretching and full sparring.
Next, I had to make sure I had practiced all of the Krav Maga techniques for the Expert 2 test as well as the full P1 to E1 curriculum as (having watched an E2 test in 2015) I knew I would be tested on all of them! I was very lucky in that I had the help of the KMG Scotland instructor team who were fantastic at working with me (for example Alan Clark on ground fighting) and some of our more experienced students who helped by training with me for many hours at a time just doing dozens and dozens of repetitions of families of techniques from every level.
Lastly, I had to work around a bad shoulder injury I had picked up around Christmas time, so I started doing shoulder rehab every single day (and continued it twice daily during the camp). I also continued doing some Crossfit for general fitness but moderated the weights I was using and concentrated on intensity instead. If I had any energy left (!) I would do some kettlebell work, running (mainly hill sprints) or rowing at home.
I knew I could not maintain this kind of thing indefinitely so gradually ramped it up over the 6 months leading up to the camp. I barely missed a day though, and trained throughout my holidays as well.
You lead a double/triple life- Doctor, Krav Expert/ Crossfitter… you must have to goal set in the non Krav areas of your life.. how do you get it all to tie in and not feel you’re being pulled in every direction?
I’ve been asked this before, about how I balance everything, and my usual answer is that I don’t do anything very well.
Probably, though it’s fair to say that I concentrate on one thing for a while until I am forced to switch my attention to something else. Certainly, I was determined to do more than just scrape through the E2 test and have never trained as consistently for anything like this before. I was surprised how well I was able to stick to the plan I made but I had a very specific goal in mind and I had great support from my fellow instructors, students and family.
When you were preparing for E2 you would often share on facebook brutal thai boxing pts and crossfit sessions… were these part of your goal setting for your grading?
I started Crossfit to help my Krav Maga after seeing Rune Lind at my Instructor Course in 2012 and being blown away by his conditioning. It’s a good fit with Krav, is far more effective than traditional gym stuff and it has helped me a lot. I would warn people to make sure they have good coaching and not to get carried away with how much weight they can put on a bar during some of the workouts. I go to Crossfit Scotland in Irvine and the folk there have always been excellent.
The Thai boxing was after my G5 test when I was told I needed to improve my striking and I started taking PT sessions with Robert Cochrane at Glasgow Fitness. I also went along to some of the classes although I was always the oldest person there by a good margin. Although I still feel slow and clumsy compared to the experienced fighters I got to the stage where I could go into the Thai sparring classes and keep up with all of them and not embarrass myself.
You now have a long wait for the next level, due to time bar restrictions as we progress up the levels, … what are your new goals for krav maga?
It’s at least 3 years until I can do another test so I am not even considering the prospect. My main aim is to keep learning and trying to improve my Krav Maga as much as possible. There is so much to learn but I want to learn more about ground fighting, moving efficiently and improving the mental conditioning aspects of my training. Above all I want to continue trying to improve as an instructor for our students.
Lastly, as KMG Scotland director we have a student seminar with Ilya Dunsky on September 15th and the P&G Weekend and National Grading on 2-4th November and I am determined to make these the best events we have ever had!
A huge well done to Phil…
I think we can all appreciate how big an achievement this is!
To sum up on the points made in this months blog…
We need to;
- Identify our goal and ensure we don’t lose sight off it chasing other dreams. As said by Phil having a plan and staying focused on the goal of E2 was a big help.
- come up with a plan, how are we going to achieve our goals
- Set a time frame and make yourself accountable… Easier if your being examined but if your goal is different try showing progress to friends or have someone else work towards the same goal.
- Enlist help of others if that is our friends or training partners, instructors, subject knowledge specialists who can help you achieve your goal.
We are now on the countdown to the next KMG Scotland National Grading. Talk to any of us and we will be more than happy to help!
See you on the mats,