Taking Hits

The other night in the Combat Hard Krav Maga class, we did a drill wherein students have to learn how to cover and take hits from all sides.  Feeders circle up with focus mitts in hand and one student with boxing gloves enters the middle of the circle.  The feeders on the outside can hit the student at the center and he or she has to cover.  After a few seconds, the “controller” with focus mitts slams two focus mitts together to signal to the practitioner in the center that it is time to strike; he or she comes out of the circle and performs a jab-cross combination.  Then, another student enters the circle and the drill begins again.

This drill is not unlike some of the Outer Limits drills we performed at Mark Hatmaker’s bootcamp in May of this year.  Certainly everyone should learn how to take a hit and keep going; it is critical to stay in the fight until it is over!  Granted, we are not hitting as hard as we can in the drill, but some people have never even experienced something like this before anyway.  In addition, one would not generally take this many hits before launching a counter-attack on the adversary or multiple assailants.  This is nevertheless a good starting point.  The contact is excellent for building mental toughness.  Doing it in a controlled environment can help students slowly build up confidence in their abilities.  Confidence and ferocity in lethal encounters are crucial for success and winning.

I have found through my own continuous training that what hardens the body also hardens the mind.  I don’t think this is the only way to build mental toughness, of course, but it is an effective way.  I have experienced physical barriers, especially when I sustained injuries or I was getting back into hard training after hiatus.  But when I am in the midst of a really physically taxing drill and I am not sure I can finish, and then I dig deeper to keep going, I know at that point I am overcoming a mental barrier.  About a month ago, I was on a plateau, and right in the middle of a drill, I experienced that Zen-like state of being in the zone, and everything seemed easy and fluid.  It was as if I had a brand new body, flowing with ease and efficiency throughout every movement.  The truth of the matter is that I broke through a mental barrier, and I can fully attest to the fact that the rigors of training can build a stronger mindset.  The benefits carry over to other aspects of life, without a doubt.


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