6 Things You Should NOT Do When Starting A Sport
As the ‘DO’ post became too large, here’s the six things you should NOT do when starting an intensive sport such as Krav Maga. ;)
1. Do not be TOO enthusiastic!
Do not go all out if you don’t know how your body works!
I can’t stress this enough. There is just so much stuff in your body that can break, tear or otherwise fall apart. All of this stuff I had no knowledge of when I started out. Especially if you’re new to this whole ‘sports thing’, you’d better make sure you know what your body is capable of. For instance, there is something commonly known as ‘over-stretching’ your limbs. It happens when you don’t warm your muscles properly and then make a movement that stretches them too far. You might have experienced it when reaching suddenly for something out of your reach. It hurts, right?
Well, with intensive sports it hurts worse. The principle works as follows:
When you normally want to punch someone, you build up force in your arm. This force is increased by the motion your arm makes during the punch. When your punch connects (with a striking pad, someone’s face, etc.) the force comes out and unleashes against the pad/face. This causes ‘damage’. Your aim is to punch as hard as possible and create as much force/damage as possible.
Now imagine you punching as hard as you can. You build up all the force, but for some reason you miss the striking pad, your arm completely stretches, but has no place to unleash its built up energy. That’s when the force lashes back into your arm (or knee). This might cause something called ‘water on the (elbow/knee)’.
Water on the knee isn’t fun. It causes your limb to swell up terribly, thereby disabling it for at least two weeks.
I did this with my knee. Couldn’t walk for two weeks. After two weeks I could limp heavily. I started Krav Maga again after about six weeks of respite (still skipping out on the kicks) and recovery has been steady but slow (very slow). After nearly three months, why knee was almost fine – except that I still feel it when I haven’t moved in a while or when it’s really cold. Incredibly inconvenient.
Be careful when you start and temper your enthusiasm!
When I later discussed this incident with my instructor and classmates they all had a big ‘yeah, duh’ moment. Apparently because they’re all guys, they ‘instinctively’ know how this works (Cue eye roll). My instructor now does regularly point out to be careful with certain movements as to not overstretch anything. Purely for my benefit, I fear, but I appreciate the heads-up! (He doesn’t even specifically look my way when saying it.)
2. DON’T wear make-up
It smears all over the place. Trust me. The guys won’t care and you’ll look stupid with mascara all over your cheeks. Waterproof mascara? Maybe it’s waterproof, but it most definitely is not sweatproof. :/ I found this out the hard way.
3. DON’T (visibly) crush all over your male classmates
Yeah, we’ve all been there. You’re in a dangerous situation together. Adrenaline flies, hormones act. You physically interact with one another. Just remember to keep a level head here and don’t get carried away by the romanticism of the idea of a possible knight-in-shining-armour being there. Seriously.
I understand that turning crushes on/off is not as easy as it sounds. So I’ve added the (visibly) part. Don’t act or show that you’re crushing on someone. It’ll save you a lot of embarrassment. ;)
An extra note: your teacher is off-limits. Always. No matter how hot you are or how awesome he is. You do intend to keep on learning Krav Maga, yes? Then don’t alienate the instructor. ;)
4. DON’T try to learn Krav Maga (or any other sport) through internet movies
Anyway who advises you otherwise gives you BAD advice. BAD! You can not properly learn a realistic form of self-defense if you do not simulate real-life situations. You need someone to correct your forms, stances and techniques. Books and videos will never replace a teacher. They might supplement them, which is great, but never rely on them.
On the same note: don’t let your boy- or girlfriend teach you because they happen to ‘know a bit’ about Krav Maga. Bad form will sneak up on you before you realise. This can be really hard to correct later on, so find yourself a proper instructor.
5. DON’T obsess about how much you suck
Did you know it takes over ten thousand hours to become good at something? Don’t bitch, moan or whine about how bad you are (even if you are). Suck it up and practice. Practice, and then practice some more. Your classmates will appreciate it more. They won’t mind correcting you or helping you out – as a lot of them will be a complete newbie like yourself too! Think positive and think of what does go well. Remain realistic and don’t dwell on the negative.
For fun, ask your instructor how long he has trained to reach the level he’s currently at. ;)