Painful Practice

Tonight, I’m going home with what I call the Krav tan.

I’m beet-red from all the impacts to my skin,

All the marks from twisting out of grabs

And from being fought off when I played the attacker.

It will fade before I get home.

The bruises won’t fade as fast.

My knuckles aren’t torn up this time – they’ve gotten tougher.

Half-way through training I notice blood on my hand.

It isn’t mine.

It’s another guy’s, who just noticed too.

We laugh about it, clean up, and get right back to it.

Often, I go home with more lasting pain.

This week, a hurt back; two weeks ago, an injured shoulder.

And more bruises than I can count at this point.

The pain fades, and I keep going back,

Not just after the fact, but during a training.

If I can withstand one more arm block,

One more kick, etc.,

Then I’m proud.

This pain feels useful. Productive.

It’s funny to me.

I would never seek pain in this way in my other movement practices.

In yoga, I’ll stretch a little further,

Face my fear of falling.

In dance, I’ll continue dancing to the end of an intense song, or tanda,

Even though my legs are “burning!”

But pain in these practices tells me what I can’t do.

It tells me to STOP!

Some people feel this way about Krav,

And that’s okay too.

But I don’t.

Pushing a little further before I reach my limit this time,

Learning from where I hurt,

And what doesn’t hurt as much anymore –

It invigorates me!

It motivates me.

It tells me that I can withstand that much more in the real world, in a threatening situation,

If I ever need to.

It intrigues me how different my experiences are for each of my different movement practices –

What I relish in one is what I avoid in the others.

They each teach me through different sensations.

In Krav, pain is an important teacher.

So tonight, I will go home with some pain –

After comparing injuries and laughing about their stories

With my fellow trainees –

And I will learn from it for next time.



* Post inspired by Hell Bent by Benjamin Lorr

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