I had a sh*tty class last Wednesday. I was a hot mess from start to finish. I missed strikes, didn’t defend things properly, and didn’t do techniques correctly. Granted, I came into that class already discouraged from personal things, but I expected class to make me forget for a while like it normally does. KMS classes are my stress release. It’s my safe space. Wednesday didn’t help, not because of anyone or anything specific. I felt like I was a failure when I left and thought everyone had done better than I did through that class.
There are some days where I feel like I’m crushing a class; I’m doing techniques well, and things have a flow that makes me feel confident and powerful about my training. Then there are classes when I wonder what I’m doing there. Nothing clicks. I miss things that I usually can get every other class, or I’m still not getting a technique I’ve struggled with. Sometimes that day can be a week of crappy training. What a crappy training day entails is different for everyone but the emotional toll can be just as damaging.
As I have been reminded (and have had to remind myself since), terrible training days are unavoidable. I’m going to get hit. I’m going to miss defenses or screw up whatever skill we are working on that day. But I still feel like shit when I leave those classes. It’s hard to shake it off as just a bad day. That one bad class makes me feel like everyone is passing me, and I’m not doing as well as I want to. It’s discouraging; too many of those classes can be a game-ender for a lot of students. While not everyone will have the same mental struggles that I do on those terrible days, here are some things that I have to remind myself that will hopefully help those struggling as well:
Your 100% is not someone else’s 100%.
Your training is not any less than anyone else’s if you can’t do something other students can do. We all have physical limitations (some more than others) that affect our training on a daily basis. Those limitations do not make your training more or less beneficial than anyone else’s or negate the level of effort that you put into classes. All the instructors ask of us is that you put in your max effort. We should want that as students as well. Your max effort is not going to look like someone else’s, and that’s fine! It doesn’t mean that younaren’t giving it your all that day. Let me say it again: your 100% is not someone else’s 100%.
Your progress is not everyone’s progress.
I spend an unhealthy amount of time comparing my progress to other students’. I’m obsessive and competitive. I want to do well, and I want to keep advancing. Comparing yourself to others is detrimental to your training. At the end of the day, it’s not about anyone else. It’s about you, your training, and your effort. Everything else is secondary. I’m guilty of it, and it really messes with my training some days. My progress is separate from everyone else’s at KMS because I steer my training. I steer how well I do one day, and how bad I do the next. I steer when I test and how often I make it to class that week. Not doing well at a skill does not mean that my progress is not going anywhere, even if someone else does that skill better than me. Comparing ourselves to other students in class can be a good motivator, but more often than not, it can also be really discouraging and frustrating. Your training will benefit if you focus on you, not everyone else.
Your mental health is not everyone’s mental health.
How I handle things or feel about class is not going to line up with most of the other students in class. I put too much pressure on myself, and sometimes I have to deal with the fallout from that. It’s okay to deal with personal things if you have personal things going on. It’s okay to take a break if you need to take a break. I need to take a break next week because I’m been pushing myself too much; I need to reset physically and mentally. And I’m going to do that. I need to for my training and my long-term goals for Krav Maga. We all have busy schedules and personal things going on outside of the gym. While the gym is a stress release for many of us, sometimes it doesn’t help the way we want it to. It’s okay to take a night off if you don’t feel up to it.
The gist of this post is to do what you need to be to make your training as beneficial as possible for YOU, however that may look. What works for me won’t work for you. Just remember to be gentle to yourself sometimes. We have to remember that this training is for us, so how we view training should reflect our progress and effort alone, not in comparison to other people.
Remember that there is a lot of support and encouragement at the gym should you need it. Our community is full of people who have been through periods where training isn’t as effectively as we want it to be; you will find empathy and understanding should you decide you want to talk to anyone there about it. If you do decide to take a break, remember to come back. Sitting in periods of frustration or discouragement can push people to quit. I understand why, but for those of you that want to be at KMS long-term and have goals to progress, you have to come back at some point. Every class won’t be a bad class, but classes will get harder the longer you stay away.
Again, be gentle to yourselves. We are our worst critics. Someone may look at your bad training day and still think you’re doing a kick ass job. Our worst is often better than we think it is. We are all going to have terrible training days or weeks, but they don’t last. There are ways to bounce back, and you will. Hang in there.