Krav Maga is a unique discipline in that it’s very often studio-based, and yet, it’s never meant to be applied in a refereed studio or ring environment. We train very diligently for places and situations that range far beyond the norm. Our focus, though we’re fortunate enough to train in a beautiful facility, is constantly on the “outside” – how we’d apply what we learn in the “real world.”
This encompasses everything from what we wear during training to the importance of stress-drills. Surprisingly, though, although we place such emphasis on “street readiness,” we sometimes succumb to a bit of tunnel vision, not recognizing that our overall safety relies not just on techniques or fitness, but on sensible habits as well.
Take, for example, holiday travel. We all hear the news reports about incidences of drunk and careless driving. Unfortunately, this year, there seems to have been an increase in DUI arrests, which is hard to believe, given the resources that have been dedicated to public-education campaigns and what we might have hoped would be growing social stigma surrounding drunk driving. We shake our heads and go about our business, but we need to go a step further, most especially if we’re members of training communities that take safety so seriously.
If you and/or loved ones have made plans for New Year’s Eve, for example, please ensure that part of those plans involves a safe way to travel. While driving sober to a particular venue may not involve alcohol, a great many of us indulge while out, not having thought about how we’ll get back home…or how we’ll get the car back home…or where it’ll be parked…or if it can be there overnight. There are many considerations when driving to holiday events, especially downtown, and after one or two too many drinks, we’re not going to be addressing them very coherently. Preparation is key.
In reality, it’s not always convenient or comfortable to alter our expectations of total and instantaneous independence – we take our private vehicles very seriously. Why wait for a bus on a cold night when you can auto-start your car and wait only as long as it takes to warm? We must bear in mind the tragic consequences that any of our families can experience when we put these momentary considerations ahead of long-term planning. All it takes is one faulty reflex as a result of alcohol, drugs, or text-aholism to end or seriously (and negatively) alter another life.
Make a pledge to yourself this year to do the right thing and to encourage others to do so, as well. Even if it involves a bit of inconvenience – those whose lives you do not touch will thank you profoundly! There are so many options for safe holiday travel:
- If you’re going to a house-party, see if you can stay overnight and advise loved-ones of where you’ll be. Do this beforehand!
- Book a hotel nearby your event.
- Arrange for a taxi in advance!
- Download an app for one or two of the taxi companies before New Year’s Eve…set a reminder on your phone to go off between, say, midnight and three a.m. that it’s there.
- Designate a sober driver – whom you’ll treat to a very nice meal or spa-treatment later in the week!
- Encourage those attending a party that you’re hosting to stay over. Who doesn’t like a slumber party? Guests will likely stay into the wee hours of the morning, anyway.
- Have a list of hotels nearby available for guests in advance and discuss these options with those who are travelling significant distances.
- Make it a policy for all guests at your event to leave their car-keys in a bucket (labelled!) or with a concierge…and make it equally clear that they won’t be getting them back unless there’s no alcohol in their systems at the end of the night. Would you rather deal with an angry conversation or a funeral?
- Make use of free public-transportation on New Year’s Eve: https://ttc.ca/News/2015/December/1218_Holiday_Sched.jsp
If you have other ways to encourage safe travel over the holidays, please drop us line. Though we’ll be training our way through the new year, it’s always a good idea to remember that true training is a real-life enterprise, involving much more than what goes on inside the studio.
Yours in health and good wishes,