As someone with two older brothers, I have always been hyperaware of the fact that I might seem like an easy target. Even now, at 5'3" and 108 pounds, I don’t exactly strike fear in those around me. No matter how many hours I put in at the gym, chances are I will not be as strong as any potential attackers.
Thus, when I learned about Krav Maga, a form of “on the street” self-defense that is designed to give smaller and weaker opponents an upper hand, I was intrigued. Even better, Krav Maga classes provide both a strenuous cardio and strength workout.
Tentative, but excited to learn the secrets of defending myself against my imagined Hulk-like attackers, I decided to take an hour-long trial class at Krav Maga Academy in NYC.
We began with a warm-up that consisted of push-ups, jumping jacks, squats, and more push-ups. At one point, the instructor told us to carry a partner around on our back and do squats. Naturally, I assumed he was kidding (he wasn’t). By the end of the workout, I was sweating, but ready to start punching.
Beginners like myself were then broken off from the larger group.
My instructor gave us a brief background of Krav Maga. Krav Maga is used by the Israeli military, New York Police Department, and the FBI (fictional character Sydney Bristow also used Krav Maga in the show Alias), but is not considered a martial art. The only rule in Krav Maga is that there are no rules.
Rather, injuring your attacker as much as possible (and as quickly as you can) is the main focus. With that, I learned the areas to attack that would cause the most injury to an opponent are the eyes, nose, ears, jaw, and groin.
After our history lesson, we practiced different punches, kicks, and attack sequences, and then tried them out against each other (using padding). Even though I was going through the basics, I learned little things I wouldn’t have thought about before, such as how to angle my fist when throwing a punch, or how to use my hips to exert more power during a hit.
Before I knew it, the class was over.
Although I am still sore from class as I type this, I’m definitely interested in trying to advance my Krav Maga skills. My brothers no longer beat me up (much), but I know I would feel safer in NYC knowing I can protect myself, no matter how strong my opponent may be.