A forewarning : This post is going to have a lot of images and a lot of words.
Yesterday I made it in time to make some images of the Level III test at Krav Maga Detroit. After having a discussion with Frank over dinner about the training we get at KMD versus many other places, we realized that we are very fortunate. We don't train in a manner that only allows us to operate when we are in peak condition. We don't train in a manner that can only be used when we are fresh. We train so that when we are fatigued, when our minds start to fail us, when that little voice creeps in our head and says "quit," we keep going. We utilize a system that has fail-safes built-in. We utilize a system that teaches us to fight until we are unable to. This training was apparent during this test. Five hours of exercises developed to create fatigue. Five hours of mental stress. Five hours demonstrating what you're made of. Five men that transcended the rigors of the test and leveled up.
Today also marks one year of training for me at KMD.
Last year around this time I had a followup doctor's appointment. I had experienced debilitating migraines the previous summer. They started with optical auras. My periphery would start to shimmer, flex, bend, get blurry. I'd get tunnel vision. After the aura, the migraine would set in. My auras got more and more intense as time went on. They led to loss of coordination, slurred speech, lock-jaw, dizziness, word disassociation. I was in and out of the hospital for a month dealing with what seemed to be strokes. It was scary as hell. Not being able to control your body, your speech. Knowing what you want to say and not being able to connect the word in your mind to the muscles in your body to make the sound. I was put on Depakote which would help ease the migraines. My checkup was to make sure my system was okay without it.
I got on the scale. It rang up 281. I was broken.
I had researched Krav Maga years before. I wasn't looking for anything that would focus inward like a lot of Eastern Martial Arts do. I wasn't looking for focusing my chi. I wasn't looking for inner peace. I wanted something brutal. Something angry. Something functional. Some place I could go and blow off steam and learn to cause hurt. Where I could learn to defend myself in the event that I found myself in an unsavory position.
Surprisingly, I found all of that. More. I've found that through the practice of violence I've become more peaceful. More assertive. The small things bother me less. I've found that no matter what my mind tells me, I don't ever want to quit. There is no problem that doesn't have a solution. My mind controls my body and I can push through anything if I get my mind right. I've become more confident. More confident in myself and everything that I do.
With all of this change, something else has changed in my life. I've gained family. I've gained an astounding group of people in my life that inspire, guide, listen, encourage and lift me up. The progress that I've experienced in the past year would not have been possible without that. I've learned that if you surround yourself with those that are strong, you become strong. With them. Along side of them. When you put yourself aside and truly love those next to you, your life improves exponentially.
Mostly, the thing that I've gotten from this. The thing that I never would've thought of...
I got love.
My heart is fucking full.