It is not the will to win that matters...it is 'the will to prepare to win'. Paul 'Bear' Bryant
Victor not Victim...
During the summer of 2015, while paging through the Atlantic City Press, I discovered an article on KravMaga (Israeli Self-Defense/ Martial Arts). I wasn't necessarily looking for martial-arts training--though I dabbled in Tae-Kwon-Do (Korean karate) and Sho-da-Kon (Japanese karate), 'back in the day'. What immediately caught my attention (and what the other styles lacked) was the inside-aggressiveness and combativeness of this discipline that more closely mirrors the violent collisions and chaos of what really happens on the street...Krav Maga, I thought, seemed more practical and would prove to be more effective because it clearly presented--and countered--real-world conditions. I found this to be true once I began the Defend-Attack/ Close-Destroy training in mid-September, 2015.
I later learned that 'KravMaga' in Hebrew means "Contact Combat"...Krav emerged, along with the Jewish state, from the prowess of the Israeli Military (IDF). I realized that this was no simple karate school, but a discipline that prepares one to not only survive street attacks, but to counter them effectively and prevail--to move in and destroy--by sending the attacker to the hospital or to the morgue...It simply all made sense.
When the student is ready, the teacher appears...
'Performance KravMaga' on Rt. 50 in Mays Landing, NJ, is headquarters for KravMaga Federation of America and its President, Greg D. He is co-owner of the dojo with his partner, Brent S.. Greg and Brent are the principal teachers, along with Sean B., Chris E. and Tyler A. (the school is certified and operated under the auspices of Master Alain Cohen of the Wingate Institute in Israel). They are all excellent teachers because they have achieved a high level of mastery of Krav, and can therefore accurately and effectively demonstrate the techniques by Doing them.
One of the most difficult things to learn (or unlearn) is that one must quickly close with the attacker, by moving inside your opponent's guard--even when your instincts are telling you to stay away, keep outside and not engage. I found this to be the most difficult thing to overcome--the reluctance to come within the grasp of someone who is usually larger and stronger than me. It took months of training to develop a new 'trust'--that these techniques work because we immediately move inside to disable or destroy. We move decisively, with authority...We move with the certainty that We Will Always Prevail--as Victor not Victim.
Living the dream...
I began training in mid-September, 2015, and test for my yellow belt, June 4, 2016...There are no guarantees of passing, of success.
One must demonstrate mastery of the knowledge, skills and character required at each level. Eight to nine months of training three times per week with passion, dedication, aggressiveness and commitment to excellence. I might also add--gratitude--for the opportunity, the teaching, the conditioning, the tradition, and the sheer effort that went into developing such a formidable discipline and training for the individual combatant, as KravMaga.
When I receive my yellow belt, I will know that I am a 'Kravist'...that I'm at the beginning without an ending...because I did the work...because I had 'the will to prepare to win'...because I earned it...Shalom.
Kevin Carey, 5'9', 160 lbs, 64 years old on June 7, 2016.