“Krav Maga? WTF is WRONG with you?!”

Krav Maga injuries: bruises after outside 360 defenses on arms

The first time I practiced outside defenses / 360 defenses my arm looked like this.

“WTF has happened to your arms? Did your boyfriend beat you up?”

“Um. No. I do Krav Maga.”

Krav Ma-Wha?”

“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.”

“…huh. Riiiight.”


___________________<KM> ___________________

Krav Maga injuries: bruises after outside 360 defenses on arms

My arm just after the Krav Maga P1 exam - also due to outside / 360 defenses.

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.

Krav Maga injuries: bruises after outside 360 defenses on arms

Progress! Not a sacrifice at all. ;) Outside / 360 defenses still get the best of my poor arms.

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.

29 Responses to ““Krav Maga? WTF is WRONG with you?!””
  1. Dam bruises, hope you recovered well from them:) Also nice video at the end, i like that self defense against choke but in the video they do it a bit to soft

    • kravlady says:

      Thanks! They start fading after two days and are nearly completely gone after four to five days, depending on the severity. ;) In the video they showed it slowly for instructional purposes first, the second attempts were much harder. Looking at it makes Krav Maga look really brutal, which I like. :) Do you do Krav Maga as well?

  2. Einsatz24 says:

    Many people won’t realize doing Martial Arts is not a thing for violent or semi-criminal people, ruffians or thugs.

    It’s a way of life. A mind-set.

    Learning how to overcome physical conflict, learning how to fight your way out of things, to act smart, take care, step up against threat, oppression or intimidation will affect one’s entire life in a very positive way. I’m about to get into Krav Maga, did Wing Tsun for five years. Knowing what you can do, what you’re capable off and >how easy< it is, enables you to do your best everyday. At least that's what happened to me.

    The msot valuable lesson any martial arts thaught me is: I can do it, if I want it and noone can stop me from going after my goals. Sure, I might fail, get knocked down and maybe take a beating, but I can always get up again and try again.

    That's a valuable lesson and a thing which really can help you in and situation you can get it, private life or professional life.

    Well, and to be honest, doing martial arts is a great way to get fit and work-out and it's still something people will consider "he/she is doing something individual/special", which will make you interesting and stand out in a good way.

    • kravlady says:

      Hi Einsatz! Thanks for your comment, I love how you’re talking about the mind-set and way of life that revolves around a martial art. I think you’re very much correct there. Krav Maga has impacted my life quite heavily ever since I started it and for that I adore it.

      With that said, I do think it’s all about how much effort you put into it yourself. The things you describe only apply if you’re ready and willing to work for them and if you’re willing to accept the principles and philosophies that a martial art teaches!

      Your comment intrigues me! In the future I will see if I can write a post based upon it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here! :)

  3. Ramon says:

    Great post Kravlady! I get similar responses when I limp into the office :)

    @Einsatz24: Good luck with you future Krav Maga lessons!

    • kravlady says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Ramon! And glad to know it’s not just me and you tough guys get weird looks as well. ;) From my point of view, it seems as if it’s accepted for guys to do an ‘aggressive’ sport such as Krav Maga, while girls are viewed as being crazy to even consider doing something violent. A little bit of gender disparity still lingers, I think. ;(

  4. Red says:

    My first instinct is to tell you, the next time someone makes a big deal out of your bruises and Krav Maga say “Yeah but you should see the other guy(s)!” Though I’m not sure if it would help or not =w=;

    And I have to say this post has me feeling very lucky most my friends/family are well, lets just say not-pacifists xD; so I can’t really imagine dealing with those kinds of people a lot =w=;

    • kravlady says:

      I have actually considered it, but.. I discarded it because people already think I’m a violent nutjob. When I start saying things like that, they just assume Krav made me aggressive or something similar. I tend to just keep a low profile when I talk about it now. Not too enthusiastic, not too aggressive. Just trying to be neutral. I don’t want them blaming Krav Maga for the wrong things.

      I mean, I AM more assertive now (which translates to aggressiveness for some people) which is because of krav. But I see it as a positive thing, while they see it as a negative thing. :(

      I’m really curious what it’s like to have non-pacifist friends and family. XD My mom’s always taught that ‘violence is NEVER EVER the answer’. Except that I’ve now learned that… yes, violent actually IS sometimes the correct answer. It was a stunning revelation. ;)

      • Red says:

        Ah, yeah that’s tough, and when people have all these preconceptions about ‘violence’ and won’t open their minds for a second :T

        And you’re totally right (imo) about the people who don’t understand never having dealt with violence before. Because thinking about it, all of my friends/family have in some form or another.

        Lol, well it’s not like we go out seeking fights or anything :U But like, at least a couple of my friends study martial arts and a few are gun-nuts lol. XD I was actually never told that outside of like elementary school :U My mom just always preached the virtues of strength. Especially strength of will and things like that. I also grew up on martialarts movies and fighting with my bro and cousins. My philosophy ended up being a (much) more responsible version of “If violence isn’t the answer you’re not using enough of it.” xD

  5. Siep says:

    Now that’s cool, i see my instructor (the smaller blond one) on this video. Gotta tell him tonight ;)

    • kravlady says:

      Oh really? Nice! I was scouting both Facebook and Youtube for cool movies and I really liked the explosiveness of the techniques in this movie. ;) How funny that he happens to be your instructor and you happen to be reading this blog! I guess the Krav world is fairly small. ;)

  6. Kali says:

    I started doing Krav Maga after facing sexual attacks a few years ago. So, yeah, I feel the same; getting bruised is not a sacrifice, when I know I’ll be able to defend myself next time.

    • kravlady says:

      I faced something similar, it wasn’t an outright sexual attack (fortunately) but I was held down against my will and forced to kiss a guy I did not want to, which made a big impact on me as well. I never want to be helpless like that again, it was one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced just because I was so trapped and unable to do anything. :/ So yeah, these bruises mean nothing to me because I gain so much in return: confidence, strength and the skills to defend myself and to damage anyone who means to hold me down against my will.

      This is actually one of these things I don’t ever mention to people, which is why they won’t completely comprehend my real reasons for doing Krav Maga.

      But it gives me the extra edge in training due to which I can really compete with the guys. It gives me a boost in fighting mentality because I know what I have to lose and I don’t ever want to be in that situation again.

  7. Janelle says:

    I completely understand. I’ve got pics of virtually the same bruises. ;-) and the only people in my family who can understand why I train & encourace me rather than discourange me are my brothers. And they train right along side me, as well as teach me. :-) One is a student instructor at our school and the other is my crossfit instructor.

    • kravlady says:

      Oh man. I wish I had family like that. It must be so cool to share something like that with your siblings.

      And the bruises… ughhhhhhhh. XD I don’t think I’ll ever be rid of them…. <,<

      What level are you?

  8. Yeah, i’m also familiair with the: Krav Mawattuz?? (and with the bruising…)
    Nice blog this, keep it up!!
    (also nice video with one of my instructors!!)

  9. Christopher says:

    Great blog, I especially love this one because my Wife and my Parents are always asking me about the bruises. I am trying to get my Wife involved in Krav now that she has gotten her Black Belt in TKD. I think this blog will certainly help.

    • kravlady says:

      A black belt in TKD??? And that doesn’t give bruises? XD Hahaha. I’m hoping this blog will help, that would be really awesome! I don’t think the bruises are such a big deal, but yeah… that’s me. It is getting annoying that I’m wearing less clothes because it’s so warm outside.

      Still, I find that a lot of people don’t actually notice them so much….

  10. I love this – I don’t know how many times I had the exact same conversation with friends when sporting new bruises from my Shotokan training. Thank you for the post. I am sharing it on FB!

  11. Saranne Davies says:

    Leopard print skin I call it. All the fashion. These bruises never hurt as long or as hard as those acheived in violence. These bruises are my learning badges. As long as I am acheiving these I am less likely to receive the violent ones. As long as I acheive these I know the next attacker will be hurt far more than I ever will. Training hurts but what’s a smack in the nose between training friends? Frankly I’d rather train in a class where I get hurt now and again as opposed to one where I didn’t. Krav is REAL self defence. Never settle for less. Go Krav Lady ! You Rock!

    • kravlady says:

      EXACTLY, that’s SUPER well said, Saranne! Thanks for letting us know your thoughts. And thanks for the compliment. I appreciate that, too. :D

  12. Kalihar says:

    Nice post ! I totally understand your exasperation, I have exactly the same reaction from people around me when i talk about Krav Maga. I think your conclusion is right, they have never experienced violence in their lives so they can’t understand why we “voluntarily bruise” ourself several times a week. I really hope not, but if one day these people are attacked, I think some of them will reconsider they opinions.

    • kravlady says:

      The same thing happens when it comes to (for instance) ground fighting. Because I was once in a situation in which I was held down against my will, I’m extremely motivated never to be in such a situation again. I fight as hard and dirty as I can. So… I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on my attitude, which I don’t really feel are deserved. It’s not that I have a good attitude, it’s that I don’t ever want to be in that position again. I know what I’ve got to lose, I know what reality can be like, so there is NO other option BUT to fight as hard as I possibly can.

      It’s ok that people don’t understand, because I’ve figured it out with my conclusion that they haven’t experienced violence before. I just hope they’ll remain so sceptical and never have to adjust their opinions to reflect ours. :)

  13. Matt B says:

    Hi Krav Lady – great blog! I started training Krav about a year ago now, and am about to start training again following about 8 weeks off through a combination of 2 accidents + instructors visiting Israel for their top-up training, and your blog is helping getting me motivated again ready for tonight’s training!

    Before doing Krav I did Kung Fu (Wing Chun for about 1 year, Pak Mei for about 6 months) and got lots of bruises…you may want to check out a Chinese Herbal remedy called Dit Da Jow…you massage it into bruises and it helps to heal them but also strengthen the muscles/sinews…my Pak Mei teacher used it, and (together with about 20 years training!) it had given him forearms which felt like iron bars whn he blocked you, even when he didn’t use much force! I’ll put a link below. There’s also another herbal remedy you can get from Chinese medicine stores, which is kind of like a liquid Tiger Balm…it cools down bruising and anesthetises the area. I can’t remember what it’s called, but I’ll look at home and post the name here tomorrow! Keep up the training, all the best, Matt


  14. Matt B says:

    Hi again – the cooling remedy is called Zheng Ghu Saui…it comes in a bottle with a red label and lid.

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