2017 ends on a high, now what?

December 2017

Last month in our household we had to battle snow, we had the lunacy of Christmas, we had prosecco and we had lots of chocolate and cheese. We had our first wedding anniversary and treated ourselves to a mini-break in Wales. We spent time with loved ones, we remembered those we lost recently and in years gone by and we spent time reflecting on our lives. December is usually the time where reflection and self-discovery are commonplace as the New Year looms and feelings of optimism and excitement about the future abound. 


I think it would be disingenuous to try and make out that I am not a bit of a control freak. I like knowing what is going to happen and similarly, I am not a huge fan of surprises. I realise the only thing I can truly control is me, as an intellectual concept I get it. Day to day living, however, presents it's own issues when the internal chatter is about the things I "must" or "should" get done or control. Meh, I guess we're all a work in progress. Anyway, you get the gist, I don't like surprises, even though sometimes they are good!

KMG UK Gala Dinner.

3 years ago Krav Maga Global UK decided to organise what is effectively our "Christmas dinner". As Instructors, we don't get to see each other much throughout the year and when we do we are usually training together wearing krav gear. So the powers that be at the UK HQ thought it would be a good idea to put together a bit of a shin dig for us and our long suffering partners who cope with our love of krav. It's great to be together wearing our glad rags and celebrating our achievements as a community. It's also a time to have a dance, have a drink and have a bit of fun as humans because although we are obsessed with krav maga we do have lives!


Part of the celebration is the recognition of Instructors and support staff and their efforts or contribution to KMG throughout the year. The first year I watched as people got them and I was really happy for them. It seemed like such a cool thing but I had no expectations to ever get one. 

Surprise + award = me.

Here's where the two things collide, I'm sitting listening to our UK Director talking about the person to get an award. He said some nice things about perseverance and determination. I could tell you I was hanging on every word and that I remembered everything he said but I would be lying. So when after a few minutes he called out my name you could have knocked me over with a feather. He was talking about me. My thoughts as I went out the front to accept the award was "do not fall over Tara'!! 


Winning an award was brilliant. If I said I wasn't bothered I would be lying, straight up horse-manure. Humans love to feel appreciated and in this digital age, we seem to be losing the ability to say honestly to someone how much we are grateful for them. I try and show my appreciation as much as I can. I tell people often what they and their actions mean to me and I know from the way people react some find it weird. I don't care - I'm going to carry on doing it! So to feel appreciated by people I admire and respect was awesome. My award now takes pride of place in my office because when all said and done I love it! Does it make me a better instructor? Nope. Does it mean I am a better human being? Hardly. What it means is that 2017 wasn't all bad. I don't know about you but at times it felt like life was a bit of an uphill slog last year.                


Yesterday I was back to teaching and just seeing my students made me so happy. Each and every one has a unique gift and talent to bring to this world. I never fail to feel grateful I get to do this as a job, be it teaching children or adults because they are all such inspirations.

Remembering that it is always about the students.

Rory Miller says in his excellent book Principles-Based Instruction for self-defense (and maybe life) "If you are teaching self-defense, you are teaching students, not subject matter". I absolutely love this because this is the most concise and straightforward way of describing the difference between martial arts and krav maga. Reliance on learning techniques rather than understanding that self-defence should be approached holistically means you are, in my opinion, failing your students. It doesn't matter how many awards you have if you forget this one thing you are deceiving them and you don't deserve them.



2018 goal setting and being better.

So 2017 ended on a high but in 2018 we plan to grow the club, learn more, train more and challenge ourselves more. Our community is brilliant and we will ensure it remains so. Bottom line nothing stays the same and changes are afoot. Not everyone will stay with us on our journey and that is ok. Years ago I heard an expression that I've never forgotten, it goes: people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I'm down with that because I know we aren't right for everyone. Ultimately we don't want to be a generic "one size fits all" kind of self-defence club. So to you and yours, I hope your 2018 is as amazing as you want it to be. Life is short so grab it by the cojones and if you can't grab it try a knee instead! 

Getting this award was a cool way to end 2017. Yet when I look at it I remember that I'm doing this to help people. This award isn't really about me it's about the people I serve. 

Getting this award was a cool way to end 2017. Yet when I look at it I remember that I'm doing this to help people. This award isn't really about me it's about the people I serve. 

Tara Shaul