T Nation

Worthy of Strong Words

Here’s an account of a black belt test at the Krav Maga National Training Center from a few years ago that was just posted on their forum. It’s good inspiration.

"Since people were interested in black belt information, I wanted to post something on a black belt test we just gave.

Of the 6 or so people at the National Training Center currently working toward BB, two of them tested last Saturday.

Their test was about 5.5 hours long with only three 2-3 minute breaks. It covered everything from yellow belt up through black. Both of them did very well and showed great heart.

One of them came into the test with an injured shoulder. His arm was hanging down at his side in pain in the first 15 minutes of focus mitt work, but he kept going for the next 5 hours.

The other, a woman, took two round kicks to the leg from a man 100 pounds heavier than she, got dropped by them, and came back up both times fighting. (Some of us have taken kicks from someone 20-30 pounds heavier…can you imagine taking a kick from a proficient fighter who is double your weight?)

They made self defense against chokes, headlocks, bear hugs, full nelsons, tackles, take downs, and more. They defended against guns, knives, and sticks, including long guns, sub machine guns, and bayonet stabs. They made defenses against live attacks with sticks, including free work against multiple attacks when they did not know what attack was coming. They made defenses against knife attacks when the attacker was free to include punches, kicks, and knife attacks at will. They did work against knife attacks with the attacker using a real folder.

They did gun defenses under high stress with the attacker protecting the weapon and pushing, slapping, kicking; they had to absorb until a chance to defend presented itself; they were put under high stress with multiple gun threats requiring immediate responses from unpredictable angles with hand gun and long gun. They had to defend against hand gun while being restricted, held in headlocks, etc.

They had to make defenses against two attackers armed with a stick and knife, both rushing at the defender.

After about 5 hours of nonstop testing, they had to fight. They fought multiple rounds with each other until they were exhausted, then multiple rounds with a fresh fighter larger and more experienced than they. His job was to break them. Both of them got dropped (remember, they had been going for five hours and their opponent was totally fresh), but got back up and kept fighting.

After these rounds, they had to fight against two opponents. If they stopped, they got pounded. Rounds varied between 2-3 minutes, rest periods were only 30 seconds.

Black Belt is not about time in the system. It is about guts and heart and fighting through pain and exhaustion. It means, in the middle of high stress training, suddenly being asked to explain a principle of movement. It’s about knowing before the test starts that you can’t lift your injured left arm, and then fighting for 5 hours anyway. It’s about getting clocked with a hard right cross from a man who outweighs you by 100 pounds, landing with a fall break and trying to kick his knee from the ground before he knows he’s even hit you, then jumping back up and kicking him in the balls.

The people who tested on Saturday are black belts."

Hard core