Conditioning vs. Running
[caption id="attachment_3462" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Yeah, but how hard can they punch?[/caption] Last night I was talking to a student who is preparing for his level 1 test, and naturally the subject of conditioning came up. Krav tests are notoriously arduous, and although it’s not strictly a test of conditioning, it’s tough to demonstrate the requisite aggressiveness and fighting spirit if you’ve passed out from lack of oxygen. This student mentioned taking up running again (he’s run several half marathons) so I thought it’s a good opportunity to talk about what it means to be in shape for Krav. Of course you should endeavor to be in optimal shape at all times, but life and the durability of your body doesn’t really accommodate that, so most of us try to stay in pretty good shape most of the time, and then crank it up for an event like a race or a test. And there’s a common misconception that the Krav tests are all about endurance, but just because a physical activity is long doesn’t mean it’s an endurance exercise in the same way that running a marathon is. Over the years I’ve taken many four, five, and six-hour tests. They were hard but I was conditioned appropriately for them. However I doubt that at any point in my life I was prepared to run a marathon, even though that’s an event of similar length. The conditioning qualities you need for Krav Maga are explosiveness, strength, speed, and recovery. Running – while a fine activity on it’s own – does not develop explosive power, speed, or strength. The nature of self-defense requires 100% effort, so a steady-state activity like running is not the right exercise to transfer to your Krav Maga. In fact, as an instructor I often struggle to get runners to put their full effort into their self-defense, because it’s just not the way they have been training themselves. They might be in great shape, and might get through class without getting too tired, but their mindset is to find that 80-85% effort and lock in in there. But that’s not where we operate in Krav. If someone if threatening your life, or the life of someone you care about, you had better be trained to fight for your survival with 100% of your effort, because less than that will not save your life. It’s not all hopeless though: If you just really like lacing up your shoes and hitting the pavement, sprinting is probably one of the best things you can do for Krav conditioning. If you find a nice steep hill to charge up that’s even better. And conveniently, we have excellent fitness classes at Krav Maga Raleigh that develop the explosivesness, speed, and strength that you’ll want in a life or death situation. Every time a group has tested it’s fairly obvious who in the group is taking the fitness classes and who is trying to get by without. So if you’re looking to test in March, or any point in the future, get into those fitness classes. You won’t regret it on test day.