All caught up? Great. Here we go:
A few months into my tae kwon do training, Mr. Neitzell approached me about trying another class offered at the school, called Krav Maga. For all the strides I made in TKD, I was uncomfortable with the portion of class devoted to real life self defense situations. Mr. N pulled me aside one night after class and said he thought I ought to try Krav Maga—“I have a class that might be better for you.” were his exact words.
But, what exactly IS Krav Maga, you ask?
Krav Maga is a simple, effective self defense system. It emphasizes instinctive movements, practical techniques, and realistic training scenarios. That means hitting and punching and kicking and grappling and a whole bunch of other stuff that is just freaking scary.
As I sat through my kids’ tae kwon do classes, I often saw the members of the Krav class coming and going. All of them (at the time) were grim looking burly dudes with necks like tree trunks, heavy shoulders, and thick arms. Out of morbid curiosity, I would peek into the room where they were training. They were punching and kicking the crap out of each other, to the tune of some very hairy sounding music. It looked rough. Really rough.
How was this going to be “better” for me?
As scary as it looked, I was fascinated. And frightened out of my mind. Krav Maga? Better for me? NO THANK YOU! (But I’ll watch, from over here by the exit…)
Mr. N persisted. “Come try it!” he’d say. “When are you coming to class?” he’d ask. “Get in here!” he’d say with a smile. “It’s fun!” he’d say. I’d laugh nervously and shake my head. I think one time, I might have even skittered away from Mr. N as he was headed into teach Krav, half afraid he’d drag me in by my shirt collar. (But he would never do that…I think….) I was so scared of Krav, but I couldn’t stay away---I’d find myself peeking through the door, paying less attention to my adorable little ninja children and more to the down and dirty fighting techniques the bad-ass dudes were doing.
One day, as I was pretending to watch my kids during their TKD class, Mr. Neitzell came to me and told me the Krav class was going to play flag football (without the football) and they needed one more player and would I mind helping out? I had played this a few times in tae kwon do and was fairly decent at it, so I agreed. (I am SUCH a sucker. I can’t believe I fell for that.)
It was a blast! Especially since I managed to keep my tags for most of the game. And I was playing against thugs! Go me! Of course, now I wonder if Mr. N staged my victory, just to pull me in…(“Okay, guys, go easy on her. This time….”)
But whatever. I had fun---my adrenaline was going and I had even laughed a little, and done a tiny victory dance. (No gloaters here!) And then I stayed for the self defense technique of the day—getting out of a choke from the front. I’d done that before in tae kwon do! And, it was a GREAT WORKOUT! And the self defense techniques did seem really practical. And what, what? No uniform required? No wedgie? Okay, I’ll try a full class. Just one.
And thus, I entered the world of Krav Maga. And this is the part of the story where I get emotional and stupid and have to stop and just say this much: Though I have had a push-pull relationship with it over the last few years, Krav Maga has been very, very good for me. Especially recently.
But that’s a future post.