I’ve been hesitant to talk about my Krav Maga training on our vlog because I’ve only been practising it for a short time - just under 2 years, so I hardly consider myself the expert but in that short time I have reaped some amazing benefits I’d love to share with you.
The first part of this vlog is really about excuses! I actually started researching Krav Maga over six years ago, so why the delay in starting? Just after high-school I was practising Capoeira - drawn to it for it’s incorporation of Brazilian music (anyone who’s been watching the vlog knows my love for interesting music). Soon after earning my yellow belt my career was starting to interrupt my personal life. I was traveling twice a month, often to far flung parts of the world like Everest Base Camp and Costa Rican Jungles. This made it hard to keep a regular schedule, but also exposed me to a world where I became acutely aware of how unsafe I am as a woman. For the most part I travelled with an all male crew which buffered me from most serious situations, but I still found myself held at gunpoint twice and facing sexual harassment with, ironically, a member of that all male crew. But, it doesn’t even have to take those major incidents, for the thought to start creeping into a young woman’s mind… “what if my friends weren’t waiting for me outside a toilet in the middle of Rishikesh’s slums?”
So I Googled “the best martial art for self defence”. While Krav Maga is not a martial art (my research quickly corrected this assumption) it does come up frequently on people’s list for the most effective form of self defence. A few YouTube videos later and I was sold on the Israeli self defence system. Problem was, I still had an erratic work schedule full of international travel, making it difficult to commit to the regular classes needed to hone a precision skill. So I delayed and delayed, only getting more frustrated that I wasn’t addressing that gut feeling I got every time I traveled to these hostile parts of the world. I finally cracked in China, and signed up for classes in Sydney! I had to cancel my membership only 2 weeks later but found a gym in Seattle where I trained on and off, bouncing between there and the Sydney gym. My work up rooted me again and I joined my third gym in under two years in LA. But for all the weeks missed while on location in the Himalayas to the Pacific Islands, I have learnt to embrace my schedule. I train twice as hard when I am there, doing up to three sessions in a day. The constant moving has interestingly exposed me to a range of teaching styles that I ordinarily wouldn’t have experienced had I stayed at one gym… so whatever it is you’re putting off, stop! Just do it.
Now, moving on to what Krav Maga actually is: (This is a direct quote from the Senior Instructor Jarrod Krafczyk at my Sydney gym; KMDI)
“Krav Maga is a self defence system. Designed to give good people the skills to protect themselves, and others. Krav Maga is not a martial art. Krav Maga is not about fighting. We train people to take ownership over their safety, and inspire them to protect others”
It is also important to note, that it is not a combat sport like Boxing, Jiu Jitsu or Kickboxing. While Krav Maga gyms will offer training in these sports as the practical skills are applicable in Krav Maga, they have rules to stop people getting seriously injured or killed. Hence you can compete and win competitions in these sports. There is no competition for Krav Maga, it is expressly about saving your life. No rules when it comes to that.
You can pick up a rock and smash it against someone’s face if it means saving your life, however… before it comes to that, the real art of Krav Maga starts much earlier. Again, quoting the KMDI instructors: “Fighting is the last tool you want to use.”
Krav Maga will spend a lot of time training de-escalation strategies… basically how to avoid the violent situation in the first place. It teaches you that the opinions of a drunken idiot (or a sober one for that matter) are not worth jeopardising your safety. This in turns builds self confidence. They teach you movement drills to avoid exposing your back which in turn increases your self awareness. They teach you verbal skills, including shouting, which instills the basic principle of speaking up. It turns out people naturally freeze when being shouted at, which is about as arresting as a punch to the face, but far less risky. It teaches concentration and focus… there’s nothing like an unexpected take down that will focus your mind on the task at hand. And so the list of benefits go on, each individual learning something new about themselves from the practise - one of my instructors quoted it has made him a much calmer and less aggressive person and another found he became more pragmatic.
Self Confidence… learn what your body can do
Problem Solving… become more pragmatic and unafraid of facing challenges
Self Awareness… learn to identify threats and feel comfortable in your physical world
Fitness… I hope I never have to actually use Krav Maga, but learning it makes you wicked strong and fit!
Quotes - My instructor Jarrod Krafczyk at KMDI, Sydney
Comment below if you have any questions, I encourage you to check it out.
Also, comment if you already practise Krav Maga or another self defence and why you do it.
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