Aftermath & New beginnings

I’ve been home for a couple of days now after the CFIC and I’ve had time to digest everything that happened during the course. It’s safe to say that the eight days of CFIC were tough. Really, really, tough. I’m not just talking about the physical aspects; but the mental. The GIC is an amazing instructor course, but it wasn’t really eye-opening for me. Sure I learned a ton of new stuff and I do recommend it for anyone who wishes to become an instructor in the system. But the CFIC brought me to a whole new level of fighting and developed me on every level. I feel like a different fighter, different instructor and maybe even a different person. I thought of the CFIC as a destination at first. You know, the course you go to, learn a ton a new stuff and come back with an even bigger toolbox. While that may be partly true, the course was more of a stairway to another floor or dimension. While I’m sure my toolbox contains some more tools after the course; I came back with a new understanding of things. I still have a lot, a lot, to learn. But I feel that I’m seeing my path more clearly now. Both Jovan and Eyal helped me to discover new things about myself which I need to pursue, and I will. In due time. So in conclusion, the CFIC is a must for anyone who wants to go further down the rabbit hole. Anyone who wishes to evolve, not just in Krav Maga; but in fighting and personal development in general. The funny thing is, I’m already planning to take the course again in the future. When I’m ready for it and when I’ve worked on the things I need to work on right now. You’re not always going to like what you hear during the course. But if you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone, it will raise you to a whole other level.

Now, on to something else. New beginnings! Just before I left for the CFIC, I decided to shut my school down. I don’t know if you guys remember, but a while back I actually wrote that starting a school was never my plan, it just happened. Well, it wasn’t working out – so I decided to move on and join some of my fellow instructors at G√∂teborgs Krav Maga-klubb. It’s one of the three KMG schools that we have here in Gothenburg, and I’m humbled and honored to be working with them. They all welcomed me with open arms and I intend to give them and the students every ounce of knowledge that I bring to the table. If you’re ever in town (with a KMG passport), let me know and you’re more than welcome to join us. Until next time. Stay tuned, stay strong.

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CFIC Day 8: Testing day

So today was the final day of the course; and testing day. It started off with a teaching test then moved on to doing basically everything we worked on during this past week. It was a mix of techniques and principles, but in the speed and energy of a grading basically. Yesterday we did a lot of ground fighting, so my body was aching and I have inflammations in both my elbows. Nice way to start off testing day. I was off to a rough start. My 16oz gloves felt like 16kg and the pain was excruciating. No choice but to suck it up, buttercup. After a few drills the pain faded but I can feel it creeping back as I’m writing this in the car on our way home. So I’ll just leave you guys with this: I’m now a KMG Combat & Fighting Instructor along with my brothers that also passed the course. It’s been one hell of a ride. But now I’m looking forward to going home and start implementing this in my regular classes. Till next time. Kida. 

The Swedish instructors with Eyal and Jovan

CFIC Days 6 & 7: High achiever

I have a problem. I’m what you would call a “high achiever”. Sounds good right? Well, it can be. I always want to improve and learn. But sometimes it turns into the fact that I want to be the best. It’s a behavior that I’m changing to not really focusing on “winning”. It can sometimes be a good quality to possess, but it can get me in trouble. Especially with myself. Sometimes I forget to be the student. I forget that I’m doing this course because I want to learn, not because I already know everything. So high achiever is not always something positive. It is, if I focus on the right thing. So naturally, it can cause a lot of frustration and a chaotic internal dialogue. So I’ll be honest with you. Today was not a good day. There was a lot of internal dialogue, a lot of self-doubt and emotion. I think it has something to do with just being exhausted after seven days and missing my family back home. I’m an emotional guy, it is what it is. I should have just tried to take in the information today without putting any emotion or value into it. Everything has been challenging and forcing us instructors to look at our system from other perspectives. It’s been a mix of “aha”, “oh wow” and “I don’t know shit”. But mostly it’s been one hell of a ride. Mainly I need to remind myself to enjoy the ride and not always analyze everything to shreds. Especially my own performance. Hell. If I knew everything, I would be leading these courses – not taking them. I’m too hard on myself, as I’m sure a lot of you are as well. It’s a problem that needs to be dealt with. Stay strong.

CFIC Day 5: Why?

As you’ve probably read in the previous post, I’ve caught a cold or the beginning of a flu, or a simple man flu, as they call it. I’m doing this course with a brotherhood of people that are more than just friends to me. I mean, you need to have a special kind of relationship to train together for so many hours every day and for this many days in a row. It’s people that you see at different training camps, instructor courses or updates. Sometimes you meet people that you’ve never met before and with little or no introduction, you just insert your mouth guard and start exchanging kicks and punches; literally and figuratively. So naturally, when a comrade is not feeling 100%; the others care. They want you to do well, not just for the training, but they are genuinely concerned about your health. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by people like this, be it in the training room, over the text messages I’ve received and other means of communication that has been used to express concern for my health and wishes for me to get better. So thank you everyone for your concerns.

So the question may be, why? Why do I keep going? I don’t have anything to prove to anyone. What’s the point? The ‘why’ for me, is probably different from your ‘why’. I know my body well enough to know my limits. Even though I’ve been compared to the cast of The Walking Dead today, I’m fine. Fine, for me, does not mean “100% healthy and injury free”. It means “good enough to continue”. But you do need to think about your ‘why’ once in a while. Why do you train, whatever you train? Doesn’t have to be martial arts. If you’re reading this and you’re a gym rat, fitness freak, bodybuilder, footballer, whatever. What’s your why? What’s your end game? What’s your plan? Why do you put yourself on the receiving end of a knuckle sandwich? Why do you go to the gym at 0500 in the morning when no one else is there? Why do you do those nasty uphill sprints? Doesn’t matter what your ‘why’ is. You don’t even have to tell anyone, much less explain it to them or defend it. But write it down for yourself. But if your ‘why’ isn’t strong enough, it won’t pick you up when you lose motivation. I’m not trying to be a dick here. But if you’re doing something for the wrong reasons, your ‘why’ will be weak; and when things get tough, it won’t be enough to keep you going. Stay strong.

If you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.

CFIC Day 4: The easy day

Was yesterday. A few years ago I read a book written by a member of the SEAL Team Six, called “No Easy Day”. In the book he talks a little about his life as a SEAL, the training that they do and the mission that led to Bin Laden’s demise. Now, what stuck with me from that book was how he dealt with BUD/S, or Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training. It’s basically a 24-week training camp where they put the SEAL candidates’ mental and physical abilities through the ringer. It’s only one of several training courses that they do. But it’s said to be one of the most challenging ones. In the book, the author writes about how he got through the training; by knowing how to eat an elephant. There’s a saying: “How do you eat an elephant?” Simple, “one bite at the time.” So his mantra was basically “Make it to breakfast, train hard until lunch, and focus until dinner. Repeat.”

So why is that important? I’ve written a little about the internal dialogue before and this is sort of related to it. I’ll give you a little glimpse of it from my perspective. I’m feeling a bit feverish, my throat is hurting and my nose is running. On top of that, I’m sore from training and this oncoming flu/cold is making my joints hurt. I still have an elephant left to eat, four more days of training. If I, during the first training session tomorrow keep thinking about all the hours of training I have left, how everything is going to hurt even more because my body is in a weak state and so on; I probably won’t make it though the first hour of training. I have to focus on what I have in front of me right now, not in an hour, not after lunch, not tomorrow morning; right now. I have to silence my internal dialogue that wants me to worry about how I will feel tomorrow, or in two days or by the end of the course. It doesn’t exist. All that exists is now. Deal with the now, don’t worry about the later.

There isn’t much to say about today’s training. Or rather, there’s a lot to say. Too much. But I felt that this was more important to write about. We spend too much time inside our own heads, filling it up with self-doubt and self-created problems, worrying about the future. The next time you’re facing a greater challenge i.e. your own elephant; chop it up into pieces and eat it one bite at the time.

The “The easy day was yesterday” quote is also from the book. It’s a Navy SEAL saying. The only easy day was yesterday, because it has already passed, you’ve already done it. Stay in the now. Stay strong.

No elephants were harmed (or chopped up) while writing this post. 

CFIC Day 3: You don’t know shit

When I say “you”, I really mean myself. Let me explain. Whenever you place yourself in a state of learning with experienced teachers, there’s a high probability that you will have one, or most likely several, “aha”-moments. I’m sure most people have experienced this millisecond of enlightment where you finally understand something and you literally go “aha”. Now sometimes, when you’re in the presence of greatness, you go “aha, I don’t know shit”. Now it doesn’t mean that you literally don’t know anything about whatever you’re doing. It’s not even something negative. It’s actually an elevated state of “aha”. It means that you’ve realized how much you still have left to learn and explore in a specific area. It’s not a bad thing, even if it sounds harsh. 

Today, was one of those days. Today, was all about basics. Today, I didn’t know shit. But guess what; now I know what to work on. I know more than I did yesterday. I know that I don’t know, so I can learn. Makes sense? If you don’t know that you don’t know, you can’t learn. But if you know that you don’t know, you’ve started your journey towards learning. Stay hungry.

CFIC Day 2: It’s a trap

It’s only been two days of training but the amount of soreness in my muscles and body cannot be fathomed. Usually the first two or three days of a camp or a course are the hardest ones. Regardless of how much you train in your every day life, most of us do not train 8-10 hours a day, with a partner, with an instructor, with a high level of intensity. It goes without saying that having a good instructor is important, but having and being a good training partner is equally important. Your instructor cannot push you every minute of your training, you need to push yourself and your partner will pick up the slack when you are unable to. Being a good partner is one of the most important things in this line of training, especially when you’re doing partner work or pad work. 

Anyway, I digress. Today we were working on Expert-level material such as feints, trapping, controlling and other fun stuff that you don’t really get to work on, unless you are on that level or you have an instructor that implements it in your fighting/sparring sessions. When working with Jovan, he always finds a way to put your striking on the anvil, as I was writing about a little yesterday. He finds ways of improving your skills, using very simple excercises that are so difficult to perform. Which basically tells you that you need to work on your striking. We all need to do it, no exceptions. My takeaway from this is that you basically need to work on your striking every day. This doesn’t mean that you need to do a two hour heavy bag workout every day. But you need to keep working it. Be it foot work, timing, tactics, mentality, relaxation or coordination. There are a lot of more aspects to improving your striking. But most of us just see them as “techniques” that are part of a curriculum that you need to learn in order to advance to the next level. Honestly, outside of your regular weekly classes – how often do you work on your straight punch? And I don’t mean just hitting the heavy bag a couple of times with a half-assed intention of destroying it. I’m talking about really working on developing and strengthening your straight punch. All the time? Bollocks. We never do it. I’m not pointing any fingers here, I said we. But we should. We should work the hell out of our striking. Why? Because it’s our weapon. We need to make sure that our weapons are functional and effective in case we need to use them. Just something to think about next time when your instructor/training partner says that you’re going to work the pads for an hour. I’ll end this post, as yesterday with another quote from Jovan. He finished the day with this. It’s some damn powerful stuff when you think about it. Till the morrow, my friends. Stay strong.

“Never be afraid of being the weakest person in the (training) room, but always be the best that you can be”