“Krav Maga? WTF is WRONG with you?!”
“WTF has happened to your arms? Did your boyfriend beat you up?”
“Um. No. I do Krav Maga.”
“Well, Krav Maga! It’s this Israeli form of self-defense and it’s really efficient and awesome and–“
“But you’re all beat up and bruised!”
“Um, yeah, because you practice for real-life situations, so we use some force when training–“
“But you’re ALL BRUISED!”
“Uh.. yeah. Our instructor wants us to experience the actual impact of punches and kicks so we won’t flinch when we’re out on the streets and get into a real situation and–“
“Wait, wait– you let yourself get beaten up voluntarily?”
“No, of course not! I can totally beat up the guys as well, because Krav Maga is so efficient that even I can–“
“Wait — what? Guys? Men beat you up?!”
“Yeah, I’m the only female in our group, but it’s not that difficult to keep up with them, because, like I said, the techniques are–“
“So let me get this straight. You voluntarily let yourself get beaten up by men? Twice a week?”
“No– I beat them up just as much–“
“WTF is WRONG with you?”
“I just want to–“
“–are you some type of masochist? Or crazy?! Why on EARTH would you do that to yourself?”
“I– ugh. No! Krav is totally awesome because you learn how to defend yourself against real violence. You’ll be the one to kick ass! You learn to defend and counter so fricking hard that your opponent goes down and stays down so you have time to get the hell out of there. Ideally, I can even take down a guy twice my size. Some bruises now are a really small sacrifice to make to save my life in a future bad situation!”
“…You are so crazy. Why would you even consider doing such a thing?”
“Well, I think being prepared is a good thing.”
At several points in my after Krav Maga life (between january 2011 and now ;)) I’ve held some form of the above conversation with friends, fellow students, co-workers, random shop people, my parents, my sisters, family friends and my teachers. All of the sentences above have been spoken nearly literally to me at one point or another.
I admit: the bruises look nasty. And I do look like I’ve been beaten up, abused or have been in a (very one-sided) fight. And yes, I thought the bruises looked bad-assedly awesome in the beginning. Now I’m getting tired of them, both because they elicit the responses I listed above, as well as because they hurt. ;) However, the reactions of other people are sometimes crazy weird and naïve as you saw above.
Once I’ve explained Krav Maga to the people who got upset over my bruises, I’ve encountered approximately three basic reactions:
1) WOW! That is awesome! I totally respect you for doing this. Show me some of those moves! :O
2) WTF? That’s awful! But… I guess I totally respect you for being so ass-kickingly awesome. I’m glad you know how to defend yourself. <,<
3) WTF!? You… but… Why on earth would you? Nothing is worth that! D:
As you might have guessed, the first two reactions are limited to only a small group of people. (My mom went from reaction 3 to reaction 2 after I showed her how easy it was to escape when my step-dad took me in a headlock from the side. (Head trapped underneath arm). She can tell it’s done a lot for my physical confidence. I’m more assertive and my body’s looking pretty awesome. ;) She still hates the idea of me getting hurt during training or “those men beating up my little girl!” but she understands and respects my reasons.
Unlike her, the majority of people don’t seem to understand my motivation. They are appalled by the bruising and feel like I enjoy getting ‘beaten to a pulp’ by strange men. I think they secretly believe I have some creepy fetish or am not all there. These people frustrate me so much. They don’t understand me and they don’t seem to want to understand me.
At first I couldn’t understand them either. Why could they not comprehend the beauty of a brutal and effective self-defense system such as Krav Maga? It’s fast, it goes for the weak points and once you’ve gotten in a solid kick, your enemy will stay down (in agonising pain, even).
I’ve thought about their reactions for a long time and have come to a tentative (personal) conclusion on why they can not understand why I don’t mind the bruises and forceful (never violent) training.
It’s simple: they have never experienced violence in their lives.
And I have.
I know that bruises, stress and pain during training is nothing compared to the real thing. I call it a “small sacrifice” to make, but in all honesty: that’s just a marketing term to make it easier for my novice friends to accept.
For me, the bruises or pain aren’t a sacrifice at all, they’re merely progress indicators to show I’m training intensively.
But, you know. Good luck explaining that one. So I just nod, smile and shrug and we continue our conversations. They sort of bemused, me exasperated.
Until now, that is. As you can see, I just took my Krav Maga fangirl-ism online. And here I am, sharing it with you, reader who is most likely interested in some form of martial arts. Hi! Isn’t it a relief that we can vent at each other in complete confidence? ;)
I’ll leave you with this movie that shows the defense against the headlock from the side and some other choke defenses.
If you’re done reading here, you might want to check out the blog of KravVegan, who blogs about other things too, but gives cool insights in what we ladies sometimes struggle with during Krav training.