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UNDERSTANDING COMBAT MINDSET AND MENTAL CONDITIONING - BY OLE B

December 5, 2014

 

You probably think you a have a good combat mindset, and you may be correct. But what if I ask you these questions: What are the best exercises in order to develop a good combat mindset? What happens under stress? How should you train in order to maintain focus on a specific task? What are the best techniques for relaxation? How do you become better in turning on and of your aggression? Do you feel that you have any good answers? This blogpost will hopefully give you some answers to these questions.

As Tommy Blom has put his in his blog post, in KMG one talks about four “legs” that we need to improve all the time, Technical, Tactical, Mental and Physical. If one of them is not sufficiently developed, the whole platform on top will fall to one side. This is where training your combat mindset comes into play.

 

THE DEVELOPMENT  OF COMBAT MINDSET AND MENTAL CONDITIONING WITHIN KRAV MAGA 

 

To be honest, this is the trickiest part to describe. Why, simply because within KM we have always been working on improving the mindset. When we talk about developing mental skills, we usually think of five mental training strategies. These are visualization, goal setting, positive self-talk, combat mindset (courage, determination, aggression) and relaxation. Utilizing these five main strategies we aim to develop confidence; control of physical arousal; attention control (focusing and spreading attention); arousal control; imagery use or visualization; commitment; self-talk use and the commitment to stay in good physical condition.

Working on determination, decision making skills, or doing regular Krav Maga helps to develop your combat mindset. Although this has been very clear to Eyal, it is only during the last few years that things have become more organized when it comes to combat mindset and mental conditioning. In other words, his vast knowledge and my knowledge has been put into text and is thus accessible for others.

You know, we have even developed an instructor course for this, referred to as the Combat Mindset and Mental Conditioning Instructor Course (since we love abbreviations, the CMIC for short). Some of my fellow KMG instructors refer to the CMIC as the “staring into the wall” course, like in the movie: Men who stare at goats!

 

Courtesy IMDB.com: The Men Who Stare At Goats

 

Eeehhh, the CMIC is not really about staring into a wall, but we do that do, at least for a short period of time. You should know that staring at a point at the wall for some minutes is a G5 technique, and it is a technique we use in the CMIC also. The purpose of this technique is to quiet the internal dialogue going on inside your head, and to make you take control of yourself with a better ability to focus.

 

THE CMIC AND IT'S DEVELOPMENT

 

The CMIC is a result of decades of development, testing, and conducting research into different areas of combat mindset and conditioning training. During these years, we have looked into different areas of this training which were mental toughness; mental preparation; D-MUS – decision making under stress, mindset – fighter, warrior, combat, Instructor – Warrior Mindset; Fighter Mindset; Fighting Mindset; Focusing, Mental Preparation and Enhancement; Mental Skills; Mental Training.

Eventually we landed upon the name Combat Mindset and Mental Conditioning since this was the most accurate way to describe what we want to achieve for our participants in the instructor course. During the CMIC we focus on developing the mental, tactical, physical, and technical aspects of Krav Maga and instilling a proper combat mindset through correct conditioning. By now we have conducted three CMIC, and we made some small changes after the first course based upon feedback from the participants. The next course in Belgium in April 2014 was run with the small new changes. And the third course in Israel was run like the second one. Basically the changes we made was removing some of the exercises and putting in some new ones. By now we have a very good format for the CMIC and we are working on a second course with more focus upon focusing (did you get that one?) and relaxation and self-control. But how did all this start once upon a time?

 

THE DIRECTOR AND THE DWARF

 

Eyal has always been searching for the best mental tools for preparing the mind. I remember an incident around 1999 during an instructor update. Eyal gave us an exercise in which we were to imagine a specific opponent and to change his or her image to something that was better for our minds. I remember at that time the director of Krav Maga in Sweden was a really big guy, and you knew that if it came to sparring you would really get punished. So, I decided to try to change this. The exercise was quite simple. We were told to close our eyes and to visualize our opponent, and I chose to visualize th