How Krav Maga Is Making Me A Better Student.

Friday morning, I was mindlessly jotting information that my Public Speaking professor was giving us..

He was speaking about anxiety. Specifically performance anxiety. What would make people rather die than give a speech?

My professor noted that right before your speech is when your heart rate starts to accelerate. This causes your body to pump more oxygen through your system. It really amps you up, and not always in a good way. It blows whatever nervousness you have about the situation completely out of proportion.

This accelerated heart rate doesn’t start to mellow out until usually two minutes from the moment you start heading up in front of the audience. At that point either your body is conditioned to have your heart rate gradually descend back to normal.. or most likely your heart rate plummets and you crash along with your ability to get your point across.. That’s the moment when even though you did your speech 100 times at home suddenly you can’t remember your own name let alone what you were going to say.

So really.. it’s biology’s fault if you freak out at the idea of public speaking..

I was listening to this half heartedly, mostly because there was only 10 minutes left of class..but it dawned on me..

I have been awesome in public speaking so far because of my Krav Maga training..

The same conditions of speech anxiety are the initial responses your body would simulate if you were attacked. Your heart rate would accelerate and your adrenaline would kick in.. and just as quickly as it started your body could crash leaving you drained and unable to further defend yourself.

When I take Krav, one of the things they do is work on conditioning until you want to PUKE. You feel exhausted and that your arms are made of jelly or some extraordinarily heavy material like adamantium.. and it’s THEN that you  have to go through simulated attacks.. It’s almost never an ATTACK! Breathe for 10 seconds.. ATTACK breathe for 10 seconds.. it’s usually a set of people continually coming at you non stop for however long the instructor wants to make you suffer.

These exercises are brutal. They suck and you feel like you can’t breathe sometimes but you have to KEEP GOING. Pushing you out of your limits and to continue to get more conditioned after the initial adrenaline spike.

It really forces you to be able to be aware of how your how body reacts.. how to control your breathing so you are not forcing too much oxygen into your system. How to keep the pounding from your heart in check long enough to do what you need to do.

By having my body go through these motions a few times a week I’ve been able to control it..So when I get nervous going up in front of people I am aware of that accelerated heart rate. I own that initial spike of anxiety, it doesn’t own me! .

Self Defense is only one of many aspects that the martial arts can enrich your life. It has it’s way of changing you to the core. You’d be surprised where it’s teaching can bear fruit.





3 thoughts on “How Krav Maga Is Making Me A Better Student.

  1. It’s good to see you are connecting concepts from your training to you everyday life. What you are talking about is called stress inoculatuion. You are correct about that the conditions of speech anxiety are similar to being attacked. Exercise alone does not simiulate all these effects, no matter how intense it is. Although, physical training will raise your heart rate and breathing it won’t affect your auditory exclusion, tunnel vision, memory loss, etc. The best way is to use some type of combat stress training (sim rounds, dog training, etc.). If you are interested check out Dave Grossman’s book, On Combat. Grossman gives a really good break down of the physiological changes in the body during the survival stress response. Overall, I enjoyed reading your post. Thank you for sharing!

  2. i just finished reading a wonderful novel called ‘quiet’ that discusses why public speaking can be so difficult for some people — the author is a harvard lawyer who always panicked when she had to speak in public, and so she did a lot of research on why we praise extroverts/public speakers so highly – the book is a great read 🙂 sorry for the rambling!

    1. I just looked it up and it looks like an interesting read! I find myself a born again extrovert.. I used to be highly introverted but I dunno it kind of went away.. Thanks for letting me know about this book!

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