If the first thing you thought of after you read the title was “you keep me warm at night”, congratulations! You just aged yourself as being a person who had their formative years in the 80s. (Yup, I just aged myself!) But seriously. I have been taking a little self-defense training for the last several months and I thought it would be fun to share more of my thoughts. I am not a professional or a trainer of any kind so the following is simply my own personal opinion and experiences.
What is Krav Maga? In simple terms it is Hebrew for close quarters combat. What does Krav Maga mean to me? It is one more important tool in my toolbox.
If/when you make the decision to carry a firearm for self-defense you hopefully have done a little soul-searching and answered a couple of important questions. One of them is probably this, ‘If the need arises, would you be able to use your firearm to stop a threat even if it means taking a life?’ If your answer is ‘No’ then my opinion is that you should not carry a firearm. If your answer is ‘Yes’ that does not mean you ever want to use your firearm. I am comfortable in saying that so far – no one I have ever met wants to have to use their firearm. I was pretty comfortable with that for quite a while. Eventually I realized that if I were to ever face a serious enough threat to draw and use my firearm – that is exactly what I would have to do. I realized that the very situation I hoped to avoid would then be unavoidable. But what is a 40 something, out of shape, overweight mom with a wonky hip-joint going to do? I certainly knew right from that start that I am not going to outrun anyone unless they be in worse shape than myself, which seemed unlikely. I began to realize I needed to add another layer to my options. I was not sure what I was looking for – what I could actually do, and do effectively. Certainly remembering some super choreographed moves and kicking up to the sky was out. My location also made finding resources difficult – but I knew I had to do something.
Fast forward thru a move to our new home and being settled in, and my husband took a Krav Maga seminar just 10 minutes from our home. Due to his work schedule he could only attend that one seminar but they invited him back the next year for a seminar and he invited me along. It was like an ‘ah-ha’ moment for me. Here was something I could do. Something I can remember. I have been taking weekly classes for 3 months now and I can tell you honestly – that if I can do this – so can you! The people I train with are a really diverse group which includes the very fit and highly trained in many types of self-defense skills to the newest of the new, middle-aged folks like me. There are students in their 60s and those in their very late teens. The group dynamics change every week but the tone of the group remains the same – a group of focused, committed people who are willing to work with any other person in the group and help them succeed. This is really important when you are in such close physical contact with your partner(s).
So far, everything I have learned is simple. Always we move and act in the simplest and most effective way and practically everything starts with just a couple of really simple and effective techniques that everyone can do. We constantly work on scenarios and what ifs. Our main instructor, Colby Taylor of Covenant Defense, is really great at helping us work things out to their conclusion. Often it will go like this: Picture a pair of us working on a disarm that we were just shown. One of us says ‘Yeah, but what if……’ Right away one of the more experienced folks will move in and run that scenario with us and let me tell you – there is nothing like being gently rolled over someones hip and having your plastic weapon stripped from you and a gentle knee to the throat to let you know that – that particular ‘what if’ was not such a great idea. But the point is – we get to figure it out for ourselves. Krav is also great for folks who are not ‘tacti-cool’ because if perchance one of us says we can’t do that because of a bad knee or whatever – we can work together to figure out a resolution to get around that.
The great thing about Krav Maga is that at its very heart – it is simplicity itself. Krav is a mindset more than a bunch of fancy moves. We learn to move forward and to act rather than react. We use natural body movements to stop the threat and we learn that during any encounter the threat can be dynamic and can change from being one thing to being another during the same encounter. We might have come up against a knife but after we use our skill set to take the knife out of the fight now the threat might be a fist, or a gun etc …
For me the most important thing about Krav Maga is that it gives me options. Though I am still learning, I already feel like in many situations I will have a potential option that may keep my gun in its holster. With each new skill I gain – I give myself a little more knowledge and ability to assess my situation and the opportunity to deploy only the amount of force needed to stop the threat. I hope I will never have to draw and use my gun. I owe it to myself to give myself every layer of opportunity to walk away from a threat alive, well and without having had to use my gun.
I don’t know how every Krav Maga training group is – I only have experience with this one which is a part of the I.K.I. (Israeli Krav International) group. As with any training that you are considering I recommend doing some research to find a group that is qualified and that you will enjoy working with. Ask around, chances are some of the folks you train with or folks at the local range or gun shop will have some knowledge of the local self-defense training scene and be able to help you out.
As to Krav keeping me warm at night – well you could actually say it does since I come home after class and my brain is literally spinning on high gear. I spend a lot of time just thinking about everything I learned and running thru all the moves in my mind and you probably will too if you give it a try.
*Note: If you aren’t an 80’s person and you missed the reference from the beginning, click here – you won’t be sorry!
Carry On, Colorado!