Return to Krav Maga after the injury – when is pain “worth it”?

Three weeks ago, I decided to follow through with my New Year’s resolution, take a leap of faith and come back to my Krav Maga self-defense training after a 10 month hiatus, following my double fracture spiral leg injury which left me completely disabled for months. For those not familiar with this particular sport, it is an official self-defense of the Israeli Defense Force, and is often featured in various fight scenes in Hollywood movies and shows. Krav Maga is translated as “contact combat” and it is designed to quickly, effectively (and oftentimes brutally) defend against a physical threat or disarm an attacker’s weapon, and disengage to get home safely.

I have to admit, it was terrifying, but exciting at the same time. After all, the injury itself was sustained during the 6 hour test last February and it was extremely serious, requiring two complicated surgeries and many difficult months of rehabilitation and intensive physical therapy. Occasionally, I even get flashbacks to that day and a long, tortuous recovery it took to finally heal. So, what made me go back there after such an ordeal?

Like lots of people, I go to the gym on a regular basis and do weight lifting, as well as spin classes there to help myself get in shape. However, Krav Maga is very different from those activities and has been a huge part of my life from the beginning when I started as a white belt in 2011, almost 7 years ago. Back then, I knew absolutely nothing about self-defense and had no idea that it would become much more than a hobby, but rather a lifestyle both for me and my husband, David who is already an accomplished first-degree black belt.

Over the past several years, I watched myself grow not just in learning invaluable self-defense and getting in better cardio shape, but also in developing discipline, improving my self-confidence and persevering against all odds when life happened on multiple occasions. I was not and still am not the best and most-talented student, as some of the others, who seem to be naturally good at it, but I am proud to say I am definitely one of the most hard-working and determined.

My first three weeks went relatively well, with minor muscle soreness. I am still not a 100% confident that my leg can take the pressure of getting hit in the shin full force while sparring or doing sweeps with my partner, so I find myself modifying and taking it slow, step by step. I am trying to get used to this sport once again and remember self-defense moves, while also learning new material (I have missed almost a year of new curriculum while in recovery). Black belt is still my ultimate goal, but I have to recognize that it will take time and I am not in a rush anymore. I can’t compare myself to anyone else and I won’t anymore! I love doing Krav Maga and the adrenaline rush it gives me each time, plus a sense of accomplishment when the class is over and it’s time to pack my gear and go home.

So, what have I learned over the past three weeks since coming back to Krav Maga? Not giving up, recognizing my limitations, yet getting out of my comfort zone at the same time, not letting my ego stand in the way of my learning and growing as a Krav Maga practitioner and an individual, and most importantly, never quitting. Despite the injury, I am back and so much stronger in spirit and determination that I am sure my physical limitations are just temporary obstacles and not something that I will allow to get in my way of earning my black belt. Perseverance is the key and I am sure many of you have faced difficult hurdles in your lives that you had to overcome. I’d love to hear your feedback and ways you coped with adversity, tips and advice for others on a similar path.



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