How Intimate Is (M/F) ‘Close Combat’?
I can understand why you, as a woman, might feel hesitant to start a sport that involves a lot of physical contact. Especially when you know this sport is mainly practiced by men. You might feel uncomfortable dealing with men, or maybe you worry that you accidentally touch him ‘too intimately’. Or you worry about the reverse, that you’ll be groped or hit in your sensitive areas (breasts, crotch area).
I sorta worried about these things too when I started. But happily none of it actually happened. So let me just come out and say:
There is nothing sexual OR sexy about Krav Maga and sparring. (AT ALL)
Quite the opposite, actually. You’re all sweating like pigs, trying to get through the other’s defenses. You’re sparring (roughly) with each other while your instructor has already tired you out. You’re way too focused on defending yourself or about hitting the other person. At the same time you’re stressed out because you’re not fast enough to block all attacks. You don’t have time to think about irrelevant things such as ‘inappropriate’ contact. You’re way too busy not getting hit (or making your punches hit the other) and being stressed out because you’re not fast enough to do either of these things as awesomely as you saw your instructor do. (Argh!)
But what about body-to-body contact?
There are moments and techniques that involve close body-to-body contacts. Ground choke defenses are such an example. These techniques involve someone who is sitting on top of you or right next to you and is choking you.
However, you’ll be so involved in getting him off you that sexual arousal really isn’t an issue. Also: dude attempting to strangle you = not sexy. (Unless that’s your thing, I suppose. ) These techniques also don’t involve touching your breasts or genitals. When an attacker sits on you, they’re sitting on your pelvis while they bend forward to hold your throat with two hands. (Also: this is a level 2 technique. So if you’re just starting out, you don’t have to worry about this).
Contact with private areas
1. Your groin
Besides this, guys and girls wear groin guards called ‘cups’, which is also as un-sexy as can be. You won’t have to worry about accidentally feeling someone up. You’re actually encouraged to punch and kick the other in the groin = also not sexy. ;) Those cups are hard because they have to withstand some impact. All genitals are safely protected and any hits there will be on purpose.
If you kick a guy really hard while he’s wearing a cup, he’s still going down. So be gentle!
2. Your butt
Generally speaking attacks aren’t aimed at your rear. You always face your opponents as you aim for his weak points. The butt doesn’t count as one. (It’s too squishy!)
3. Your breasts
Some techniques involve strikes in the chest area. However, these techniques (palm strikes) are generally aimed at the collar-bone and throat. Not your breasts.
There are some defensive exercises which involve pinching each other on the chest while you try to block. A good instructor will instruct your male sparring partners that they’re not allowed to pinch your chest area. Guys are only allowed to attack your arm and shoulder areas.
Yep, we totally have the upper hand here! (Much larger area to work with for us)
During ground fighting you’ll be (as the name says) fighting on the ground where you basically grapple with each other. Occasional chest sweeps are unavoidable, but things go way too quickly to worry about this. You’re way too busy to not getting your ass kicked over and over. (Women have a big disadvantage in ground fighting, where weight and strength is a very important factor). If you’re uncomfortable with ground fighting, you can take it as easy and slow as you want to avoid such things.
If you’re uncomfortable around men, doing a contact sport such as this might be just what you need to become more comfortable. If you have a good instructor, one of the house rules will be to train respectfully with each other. This means that your sparring partners will respect your boundaries. If you’re not ready to have someone sit on top of you to choke you, then nobody will force you.
I do recommend to perform uncomfortable techniques. Your training environment is absolutely safe and nobody will (intentionally, anyway) hurt you or take advantage of you. Getting used to these situations while in a safe environment will allow you to respond appropriately if it were to happen in a ‘real’ situation. You don’t want to run the risk of freezing in an actual situation.