How learning to hurt people helped me deal with chronic stress

I like going to Krav Maga practice because it’s very practical: each session is about learning how to maim and cripple your opponent until you eliminate or escape the threat.

Technique is key, but during most practices, there comes a time when I am exhausted during an exercise and have to find the strength to continue. It often comes out as a roar and a total focus to finishing the task. Every athlete knows what that feels like. How do frequent sessions of learning to hurt people change a person?

I was driving today, and someone did something that upset me. I reached over to the horn as I usually would, but before I could press it, an inner voice said: “this is not important.” The emotion was gone and I didn’t care anymore. This has happened a number of times recently.

Do you know someone who is perpetually worried about a million different problems, who feels like they just can’t get a break in life, who complains about how their relationship, work, or health is always falling apart? I bet it’s been a long time since they felt that single-minded focus and passion towards a goal.

Short bursts of high levels of physical and mental stress are a crucial ingredient for humans. In today’s culture, many people resort to media as a substitute for mental exercise and aerobic activity as a substitute for physical exercise. However, neither works properly on its own. The substitution of periodic high-level physical-mental stress with chronic low-level emotional stress in our culture contributes to high levels of stress-induced chronic physical and mental health problems.

2 Replies to “How learning to hurt people helped me deal with chronic stress”

  1. People may find this post a bit disturbing. On the one hand, it is very credible that people who learn to fight better will gain self-confidence and discipline about self-defence, and thus control their stress, together with their aggressive urges, as you suggest.

    On the other hand, there is some evidence that people who practice martial arts take a pride in their capability and may wish to practice it more often, as would be the case with most sports training.

    How may we know which category an individual may fall into?

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