By: Jeff Mount
Over the past few months, all of us at Krav Maga Maryland have latched on to a charge that describes what we’re about. Try Hardest. This means no matter who you are, where life has taken you, or how extraordinary your goals, giving it your all will best lead to success. This will look different from one person to the next, one goal to the next, one class to the next. But the Try Hardest mentality is a common thread. It’s important to us our students feel they can achieve what they set out to achieve—because we know they can.
When I started teaching Krav Maga, I did so to support a graduate program I thought would become my career. It was a good job, but felt like just a job at the time. Then something happened. I came to realize my time at Krav Maga Maryland was the most important thing in my life—that my graduate program wasn’t bringing out the best in me like Krav was. This became evident when I saw how important Krav was to those I was training. Students had approached me to say what I’d taught them saved their life. I knew many people needed what I was teaching. So I made the decision to leave my graduate studies behind and put everything I had—my Try Hardest—into Krav Maga.
This decision was scary at first. Up until then, my life had been defined by academic pursuits. It’s what I was known for. It’s what I’d invested years in. While I didn’t have the words “Try Hardest” at the time, it’s what I was searching for. I began investing in the organization, building the business up. It takes a unified mentality to change lives, and that’s what we feel we do. Try Hardest, in many ways, is how we do it. We don’t do it as strong individuals—we do it as a strong organization.
I could speak to the many successes we’ve had since then, but that’s not really the point. The point is the effort put forth on the front end, not the success enjoyed on the back end. Besides, the story is just beginning. You’ll just have to visit and see for yourself whether my decision to invest what I have in Krav translates to a worthy experience for you. I’d hope you’d determine it would. That’s why I made the choice I did.
I’ve trained in various martial arts since I was seven. While it’s never easy in the conventional sense, my experience helps me navigate the obstacles of training without too much fuss. I am not an elite weightlifter—not even close. But I’m really only competing with myself. Yesterday I attempted a PR (personal record) for back squat, and got it. That wasn’t guaranteed—I knew that. I’ve failed plenty of times before. I needed to push myself because I ask my staff and my students to do the same—to do things that might appear scary at first. Effort is at the heart of success. Try Hardest is that effort. For me, I’ll never ask my staff or my students to try something I wouldn’t try myself. I have to earn my high expectations of them.
When I apply the principals of Try Hardest, my approach to teaching becomes one of service. I serve my students by teaching them—by facilitating a life-saving and life-changing training experience. But I also do a great deal of instructor development all over the country. I serve those instructors in much the same way—by facilitating their ability to motivate and empower people with that same life-saving and life-changing experience. And I demand those instructors stay students. I can do that, because I demand the same of myself.
I don’t know exactly what your Try Hardest is. But I know if you’re here with us at Krav Maga Maryland, we’ll embrace it. We’ll stand alongside you as you find out, and we’ll match your Try Hardest with ours. It won’t be easy. It won’t always be smooth. But it may reveal part of yourself you didn’t know existed. I see it happen every day.