Review: Krav Maga

When I dragged my ass off the couch a few years ago to get active again, my first port of call was boxing. I frikkin’ loved it. Fitness-wise, it got my fitness levels back up relatively quickly and of course, came with the added bonus of learning how to throw a punch. A couple of months after I started, I was walking through town one night, alone and noticed a man was following me. Knowing I have a pretty mean left hook, in my head, I figured out exactly which combination of punches I would hurl if worst came to worst. Thankfully, I managed to lose the dude before it came to that, but I had a certain confidence in knowing that throwing a good punch was an option for me. However, it occurred to me not long after that if the guy had grabbed me, I’d have been a little screwed. I don’t really know any self defense techniques, I don’t know how to get out of any holds. It was time to rectify that.

I’d heard about Krav Maga ages ago, the tactical self defense system used by the Israeli military. The focus is on real life situations and how to protect yourself and counter attack extremely efficiently. Periodically I’d look it up, watch a few YouTube videos, but I really wanted to learn more. Well, finally this week I got my ass in gear and yesterday I had my first Krav Maga session. I gotta tell ya, it did not disappoint.

The scenarios we went over in the session were if someone grabs your hair, goes to choke you, punch you or just approaches you in an aggressive manner. Take the first case for example: imagine someone grabs your hair at the top of your head. From there, they can headbut you, punch you, knee you in the stomach – any number of painful things, let’s be honest. I learned that in three simple movements, I can get out of that, twist the attackers arm and break their wrist. And this literally takes a matter of seconds. When I saw the guy demonstrating it, I thought ‘my gosh, how obvious!’ It’s a really simple move (and very effective, as my sore wrists can attest), but unless you’re shown that, you just wouldn’t know to do it in the heat of the moment.

By the end of the hour and a half session, on top of my new wrist breaking skills, I’d learned a figure four (go look that bad boy up) and a rear naked choke hold. You practice the moves continuously with a partner, familiarising yourself with the scenario. Then at the end, you work in a group of three and two people attack one and you put the moves into practice.

The whole point of Krav Maga is basically to debilitate your opponent as quickly and efficiently as possible and get away. You’re not trying to hang around and have a fight. It’s simply about protecting yourself.

In these crazy times we live in, I think it’s really important that everyone has some basic self defense skills, but especially women. As a woman, your attacker may be bigger and stronger than you, but these Krav Maga moves will still be effective. The confidence that comes with knowing how to handle yourself really makes it worth it. Obviously, it goes without saying that you hope you never have to use it, but God forbid the day comes where you find yourself needing to, at least you’ll know what you’re doing.

I, for one, will definitely be going back to learn more.

I did my session with Urban Krav Maga. The instructors were excellent (and for the record, I would not wanna mess with them. Proper hard blokes). There was no special pandering to women, as in, blokes do it this way, ladies try it this way. Bottom line, it was 100% focused on real life situations and the techniques you’ll use aren’t gender specific. I appreciate that they didn’t ‘go easy’ on the women in the class. Also, you don’t have to be super fit to do it.

All in all, a very educational, practical, extremely useful session and I can’t wait to go back.

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