Last week I had the honor of teaching the first four days of a Phase A instructor certification for Krav Maga Worldwide. These are some of the most demanding and rewarding days I’ve ever had in my career. It also reminds me why the instructor preparation process that we have at Krav Maga Maryland is both unique and essential to accomplishing our mission of making people safer.
But one person who attended Phase A stood out above the rest. This person showed up at the same time as everyone else, was fully present for all the instruction, yet didn’t get certified. This person wasn’t first to finish the drills – he wasn’t the last either, because he didn’t do the drills at all. He showed as much commitment and dedication to the process as anyone else, yet he never threw a punch or kick the entire week. I’ve taught a few hundred instructor candidates at this point, and this one impressed me in a way that no one else has.
One of our candidates, Matt, tore his ACL a few months back. The week before Phase, he had reparative surgery. Matt had a full cast, crutches, the whole deal. Yet, he showed up before the start time every day, and stayed for 100% of the training every day. He watched while his classmates went through, struggled, and got the satisfaction of passing the course. He’s going to have to go through again once his knee heals up, but he’s already shown the heart necessary for the most dedicated Krav Maga instructor. No one told him to come – I let him know he was welcome to stop by if he wanted to. Never did I imagine he’d show up for his fellow instructor candidates with perfect consistency.
Lots of times I get asked what traits go into a good instructor. Being athletic, articulate, passionate, charismatic, aggressive, mentally tough, and a host of other characteristics always come to the top of the list. But I’ve consistently held that one character trait, if missing, can betray even the most talented candidate. Selflessness – a willingness to put the good of others before one’s own good – is in my opinion the most important trait in an instructor candidate. It is the one that will take someone from being talented to transformational – for a selfish person never transformed the life of another. Selflessness enhances all the other important traits of a candidate, and it balances out the natural weaknesses that all of us have. The best instructors I’ve personally had are the ones that give the most of themselves without seeking to receive back.
See, Matt didn’t come for himself. He came for others. He came to support them, encourage them, strengthen them. He did not get anything in return except the satisfaction of seeing others succeed and prevail. Of all the emotional highs and lows of the week of Phase, Matt’s commitment was unwavering. And this is what I love the most about Krav Maga training. I constantly get to see this selflessness in action. In an age of unprecedented narcissism and self-centeredness, watching folks like Matt give of themselves helps to keep me grounded.
How have you seen Krav Maga training and teaching lead to more selfless, sacrificial action?