This could be a rather long post, so you might want to get a cup of coffee and make yourself comfortable...that is if you decide to read on.
As my aching muscles were recovering from a recent Krav workout and I was trying to convince myself I needed to go for a run to build endurance, I had one of those 'Random thoughts' that usually leads to these blogs. During those moments of trying to get one foot in front of the other, I realized I could find a lot of parallels between Krav and my Christian walk.
For those who are not aware of what Krav Maga is, it is a form of self defense. It works off using moves that come somewhat naturally and trains you to use them in the most effective way - I say Krav teaches you how to go home alive. My instructors usually call the moves our "tools" that we have in our "toolbox". That is where the parallels begin.
Krav takes what comes naturally and uses it. In life, when we are struck by an attack from the enemy, we will usually do what comes naturally. We will use what we know how to do. If, in Krav, I only know one move, I will use that move over and over trying to get away. It might not be the best move, but of course it's better than none! It would be better if I knew a number of moves with which to defend myself, but in the midst of battle is not the time to try and learn a new move! The same can be said of spiritual battles. If all I have in my "toolbox" are a few scriptures, I will use those over and over again. They may not be the best for this particular battle, but they are better than nothing! When I am in the midst of battle won't be the best time to try to learn new scriptures either. I've got to use what I know. The time to learn how to use my weapons isn't in the midst of battle, it's long before an attack ever comes. Those scriptures, just like my Krav moves, have got to become second nature to me. They have to be a part of who I am.
Krav also works best if you are in good shape to begin with. It doesn't rely on strength so much as quickness and endurance. I get more out of my workouts and training if I do a little maintenance and endurance training in between sessions. There is reasoning behind this. If I should ever be in a situation where I find myself attacked, a quick tap on the nose probably isn't going to deter my attacker. I won't be playing, I very well might be fighting for my life and that tap will only serve to anger them more. I have to know that should an attack come, I am ready to fight until I can go home....alive. I don't know how long I will have to fight. Hopefully my first defense will be sufficient, but if it is not I am ready to continue on. The spiritual connection to this is pretty obvious. The devil isn't going to attack and when I use one scripture simply say, "Oh well, she is prepared, let's go home." My enemy seeks to kill and destroy...I have to be able to stand no matter what. I have to be ready to fight until the battle is won. That comes from spending time DAILY with the Lord and in His Word. I have to build myself up in faith so that in the time of testing, I can stand.
Another parallel I've found is that during my Krav workouts, the areas I'm weakest are the hardest to convince myself to do. I HATE push-ups, mainly because my upper body is weak. I LOVE the kicks because my lower body is strong. I can use what I'm good at, but at times I have to be ready to use what I'm weaker in as well. My adversary won't always attack where I am strongest. I have to recognize my areas of weakness and work to build those up as well...even if it's difficult and I don't like it.
Of course, as with any martial arts, Krav trains that you don't go out looking for a fight. I am however ready should I ever find myself under attack. While I make it a practice to walk around aware of my surroundings and steer clear of things that put me into unnecessary danger, I also know that I can walk without fear. I am able to go into situations knowing that if I had to, I could protect myself. More importantly, I can protect those that I love. While I don't go out looking for a fight, should anyone ever harm one of my children or the children left in my care, they will definitely have a MAJOR fight on their hands. One of the drills we do has to do with fighting off one attacker and then chasing down another one. Why would I ever do that? Why to protect my child of course. I'm not in this just for myself. I'm fighting for those I love as well. (I hope you are finding the spiritual connections in all this even if I don't spell it out. When the devil attacks me, I get mad. When he attacks my family, I attack back and will not give up until they are free. I'm sure parents can identify with these sentiments.)
Finally, in Krav I train best when I have people of like strength...or those who are stronger than me. To push myself to where I need to be, I have to have someone who will challenge me to push on. In my Christian faith, I need the same thing. I need people who will help me sharpen my sword, as iron sharpens iron. I need to be challenged at times to make sure I can use my weapon should I need to. At times, I help others who are just learning or who don't yet have the endurance. I'm glad to do that. However, to push myself to what I need, it is important to surround myself during times of training with those who make me reach down deep and find strength I did not know I had. One of the reasons I feel that I could possibly survive an attack physically is that I have had training partners who pushed me to the point where I felt the "overdrive" kick in. They also helped me identify my areas of weakness so that I could grow.
I hope I never have to defend myself or my family against an attacker. I may go home to be with God NEVER having to physically fight. With spiritual matters however, I know I won't have that luxury. I fight an enemy who wants to steal, kill and destroy my life...and that of my family. The moment I forget that enemy is real, I let my guard down and become vulnerable. That enemy is real, but my God is much more real. He has given me weapons of warfare; my job is to know how to use them.
Having said all that, it's time to go our for some endurance training...a run and some time spent in prayer.