Krav Maga (pronounced “krahv mahGAH”) is a form of training that cuts out extra nonsensical teaching methods, to make it more of a strictly street violence form of self-defense. It doesn’t include any type of spiritual or meditative elements. It teaches students to respond to real life-or-death situations. Learning how to handle circumstances in which a defender knows an attack is about to happen, and how to respond when caught off guard, are both vitally important.
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This form of martial arts looks different for each student. Every person has different abilities, strengths and weaknesses. Krav Maga can be tailored for what a student is capable of and what might happen, and also for age and gender. For example, children don’t need to learn military type moves when situations they might deal with involve bullying or potential abductions.
Krav Maga also complements carrying a self-defense tool. That could be a knife, pepper spray or a firearm. Real situations that involve violence don’t always have a black and white answer. Each scenario is unique, which makes it hard to “plan” for an attack. Because you can’t know ahead of time how an attack will take place, it’s important to have multiple tools. In a close-quarter attack, will you be able to create some space between you and your assailant to get to your weapon of choice?
Recently, members of 2 local chapters of The Well Armed Woman came to Inside Defense Krav Maga in Springfield, Missouri, for an introduction class. Chad Beal, owner of Inside Defense, explained a few skills that women could easily add to their arsenals, such as palm strikes to the nose, blocking a slap to the face, kneeing someone in the groin and how to use body language and a loud voice to keep distance between you and a potential attacker.
Chad emphasized something that’s extremely important for women to understand and recognize: men generally don’t have to deal with harassment, rude comments, sexual advances, or domestic violence like women do. Attacks on women, and the situations that they could find themselves in, are much different from what men experience.
Laura Benedett, an assistant to Chad, started taking Krav Maga classes when she found herself pursued by a stalker who was persistent for over a year. She says that she didn’t feel safe walking around and wanted something that would give her confidence and the tools to protect herself if the situation ever escalated. She recently completed the first of 3 steps necessary to become a Krav Maga Instructor.
Another student says that she can’t recommend Krav Maga enough to her friends and coworkers. Instead of a fitness class, Krav Maga offers life-saving information. The courses teach combative, protective, prepared measures that hopefully you’ll never have to use, but will be grateful to have in your tool box if you ever need them. She’s even brought both of her teen daughters to class.
Although Krav Maga obviously has physical benefits, such as cardio and strength training, that’s not the main focus.
Preparing mentally for an attack begins with awareness and is one of the primary focuses in class, especially for women. As Laura explains, through her training with Krav Maga, she’s become more aware of her surroundings and notices whether someone might be a threat or not. By paying attention to body language, if that person is minding his own business or if he’s paying attention to her, helps her to determine who might be a problem. She says that a lot of her training teaches prevention, basically how to avoid getting into a situation that requires self-defense at all. Unfamiliar stimulus takes time to process. New things are scary, so the more time you train, the less things are new, therefore no longer intimidating.
At the end of the introduction course, several TWAW members were asked what they learned or what stood out to them about the class. Here are a few quick quotes, from the Inside Defense Krav Maga Facebook page:
Anyone can benefit from Krav Maga. Seek out instructors in your area and find one that teaches real-world, self-defense skills. The goal should be to help build your confidence as you learn skills and techniques that you can use should you find yourself in a dangerous situation.
Get out of your comfort zone and take the first step. Then keep showing up! Even Laura said that she was so nervous in the beginning that she had to give herself pep-talks in the bathroom every day before she came into class. To see her now, you’d never know it.
Visit Inside Defense Krav Maga here..
Freelance writer Stacy Bright holds instructor certifications from the NRA in Pistol & Rifle, as well as being an Range Safety Officer and Refuse to be a Victim instructor. In addition to her NRA credentials, she also is a Missouri CCW instructor and teaches various other home and personal defense courses. “In a field dominated by men, I feel I bring a unique perspective to firearms and training, especially to women. I'm passionate about educating, empowering and developing confidence in those I train. In November of 2014, I started the Southwest Missouri chapter of The Well Armed Woman,” said Stacy. Stacy lives in southwest Missouri, and has been married for 20 years. Visit TWAW Facebook page: The Well Armed Woman-Springfield, MO Chapter. View all posts by Stacy Bright