It’s on. You’re undergoing a Krav Maga belt test at EMA Toronto. If you’ve belt tested before, you might feel a bit nervous. If you haven’t, well, you should feel a bit nervous.
Either way, the following tips will help you kick ass in your Krav Maga belt test.
(Note: This post assumes you’ve been training to boost your endurance and/on or going to class more often. It also assumes you’ve been practicing the techniques you’ll be tested on.)
Krav Maga Belt Test Tip Number 1
Fuel properly. It’s important to eat something before your test. The question is when. People with slow digestion should make sure they have at least three hours before the test begins.
Of course, what to eat also matters. Belt test day isn’t the time to try new foods, spicy foods, or foods with heavy sauces. Stick to familiar dishes that have never caused you indigestion or gastric distress.
Question: Should I eat during the test?
It depends. Some people drink Gatorade or consume energy gels with no problems whatsoever. I once tried Gatorade, only to throw up halfway through the test. Yes, even Gatorade proved too hard for my body to digest while I was defending against chokes or kicking someone in the groin. I now stick to plain water—lots of it. Which leads me to the next tip.
Krav Maga Belt Test Tip Number 2
Hydrate properly. What’s that? You don’t drink enough water? Shame on you. But we’ll fix that later. For now, just make sure you drink plenty of water the day of the test and keep a water bottle handy during the test as well.
Question: Can I drink coffee/tea/soda?
It’s a myth that these beverages won’t hydrate you. But are you drinking plain coffee or tea, especially as the test nears? Or are you putting cream or milk in your beverage? If you want to reduce the chances of throwing up or feeling sick to your stomach, I recommend you stick to plain beverages. (In fact, studies show that drinking plain coffee might boost your endurance.) Thankfully, it’s not an either-or proposition: you can drink lots of water throughout the day and still enjoy a cup of black coffee about an hour before the test.
Krav Maga Belt Test Tip Number 3
It’s all in your brain. When you get tired, your body wants you to stop. That’s because it’s concerned with one thing, from an evolutionary standpoint: your survival. And in order to ensure your survival, especially in physically intense situations, your body treats energy like the precious resource it is, sending you signals to get you to stop. The longer you ignore these signals, the louder they get: You sweat. You pant. You fatigue.
But as Dan once told a student who was on the verge of quitting towards the end of his belt test, “When you think you can’t make it anymore, your tank isn’t empty yet—you have about 20% more gas to use.”
It’s just that your body, not knowing what awaits you, really wants you to preserve that 20%. So take a deep breath and take fatigue for what it is: a signal from a confused organism. You can push through, and you will.
Question: Fine. But just how do I ignore these powerful signals?
See the next suggestion.
Krav Maga Belt Test Tip Number 4
Focus on your breath. Just knowing fatigue is a but a signal can and will help you push through.
But focusing on your breath is also incredibly helpful. For one thing, it’s far more effective to focus on something than to try and not focus on something else.
In other words, tell yourself to ignore fatigue, and you’ll still be thinking about fatigue. But focus on controlling your breath, on inhaling and exhaling deeply and slowly, and you’ll not only forget (somewhat) about fatigue, you’ll also recover faster. More importantly, you’ll have taken a big step towards mastery of yourself and your body.
Question: What’s the best way of breathing during the test?
When you have a few seconds to rest, especially between attack rounds, inhale slowly through your nose and exhale slowly and audibly through your mouth. Try to fill your lungs completely and make your exhale is longer than your inhale.
Krav Maga Belt Test Tip Number 5
Believe in you. It may sound corny. But keep this in mind: if Dan or your instructor didn’t think you could make it, you wouldn’t be here today. They’ve seen countless students over the years and chose you to be there. You can do this!
—by Alain Latour