The title of this article, “The benefits of training Krav Maga – Self defence for women”, is pretty much the question that most Krav Maga instructors are presented with when a female wants to take part in training. Ok, that may be a sweeping statement however my point is this, I believe, as females, our attitude towards our personal safety and well being is too reactive. We imagine the worst case scenario and then look for a solution ‘incase it happens’.
Let me explain.
The media show us daily horrific situations regarding violence against women. Violence can take many forms from stalking situations, street robberies, jealous ex-boyfriends/husbands or domestic violence involving people that we hold dear to us. The fact remains that because of the media and our in-built belief that we, as women, are the weaker sex, and are not as ‘strong’ as men often look for the most magical, fantastic solution to the most horrific problems in the event that it ‘happens to us’. That mindset, in itself, is reactive and too restrictive and does not give you a fighting chance!
Ok, so before I upset any more of you, let me explain; the way in which we think about our personal safety often dictates our behavior. If we see in the media that something has happened, or, if by virtue of where you go, what you do and who you associate with, that the chance of a violent confrontation is heighten, then again, we look for an extreme solution. Which is why we ask ourselves, and our Krav Maga Instructors the ‘What do I do if a man grabs me by the….” Question!
Krav Maga training of course, will teach you technical solutions to extreme problems, yet your ability to respond, to use the techniques will be very dependent on a number of variable factors that you cannot control such as:
- How early you were able to respond
- Your relative size and strength to the person attempting to inflict harm
- Your emotional state and ability to control your flight, fight, freeze response
- The environment you are in, and many more.
If we follow the ethos of Krav Maga training, which is that of avoidance, prevention and deterrence of difficult situations, we must ‘tune our own radar’ to be able to notice when things are not ‘quite right’, and take immediate action to put ourselves in a safer place, to be able to call for help, to be able to equip ourselves with everyday objects that could aid in our self defence. It is this mindset and thought process that gives us that ‘fighting chance’ against the bigger stronger men, not the magical solution for the extreme problem. Of course you will learn these technique, yet let’s not just have these techniques in your toolbox/ handbag
Having an awareness of your own personal safety must be a habit, knowing where you are, who you are with and what dangers may be present is an everyday thought process, yet please do not confuse this with paranoia! The risk of confrontation when you are at home, behind a lock door with your family and friends in your safe neighborhood is dramatically reduced to that of being out late at night at a party surrounded by strangers, yet this is the issue, as females, we often live too complacently and do not change our state of awareness as we change our environment or the company we keep, and herein lies the problem.
If you have never been attacked, never been in a situation of conflict, is that because you take care of your personal safety, you are aware of the choices and decisions that you make, or, were you simply never in a situation where that could occur? Answer, you may never know!
In our crazy modern world, our environments and the threats that we face are changing daily, and with that our attitude to understanding potential threats and risks must change too. Then, once we have changed our attitude we then must change our behavior to suit different environments, and build our capabilities to deter a situation of conflict, yet if it occurs, we have the ability to deal with it, to reduce the impact of the situation as best possible, and that is where Krav Maga training comes into it.
Most Martial Arts or Self Defence Systems are both over complicated and reactive. There is little training on personal safety awareness and techniques are often over complicated and rely on strength or have been adapted from sport systems, which presents another whole host of problems.
That is why I choose Krav Maga. First and foremost, it’s about not being in that situation. Second, it’s about being confident and being able to make quick decisions in fast moving situations and for that, the options/solutions need to be simple! Everything you learn is based on your instinctive response, so it’s a case of adapting reflexes that you already possess, which makes progressing in training pretty quick (as long as you attend the classes of course ).
Lastly, the thing that I like about Krav Maga is that it appreciates the modern world, the stresses that life brings, the fact that situations of confrontation can happen so fast when you least expect it. Krav Maga training promotes behavioral change giving you options when you are facing the problem head on to when the problem takes you by surprise.
Treat your personal safety awareness as a life skill, as something that needs to be managed, something that needs nurturing and focus from time to time. Avoid being that woman on the news, be a strong, confident role model to others. Demonstrate that a lot of situations can be prevented, that the magical solutions can work. Yet to be in a situation where you have to remove a guys hands from around your throat or stop yourself being dragged into a car means that there was a whole part of the story that led to these situations that you missed, why did you miss them?
Understand that pre-emptive action save lives, that not being there is the ultimate safety advice yet is often not practical. So being able to make quick decisions, to hit strong, hit first and run fast are your simplest, yet safest solutions. Then, when all else fails or you simply dropped your guard, then the other techniques comes into play.
Since learning Krav Maga and being fortunate to Instruct the system, I totally believe in women being able to reduce the chance of becoming a victim through good decisions, strong characters, confidence building. Learn Krav Maga as a life skill that will increase your fitness, get you the body you dream of (combined with good food ladies!) and, above all, create you a new circle of friends who will be there for life.
Of course, I hope you never need to use the skills that Krav Maga teaches you, so then you’ll be asking yourself why learn something I will never need?
I’ll finish with this answer. Learn how to deal with potential problems in case one occurs, do not live in a world where you believe ‘it will never happen to you’. Do all you can to prepare yourself and enjoy the process along the way!
Think about it like this. Prevention and preparation is the key. The pipes in your kitchen may have a leak, you can either try to solve the leak yourself, and hope that it works. Or, you can pay the plumber 50 dollars to fix it with a simple, effective solution. Your other alternative is to do nothing, and then have to call the plumber when the pipe bursts and pay him 2000 dollars!
Regardless. let’s just hope the plumber is hot!
Hope to meet you soon
Anna Active (Surowiec) has been training Krav Maga for over 10 years. She completed the GIC in 2010 in the UK, and since then has been sharing her passion for the system. In addition to being an instructor, she is a dedicated student, who constantly seeks to improve herself. She has completed the Krav Maga Military Instructors Course (MIC), various shooting and fitness related courses. Her passion lies with empowering women to become more confident, fitter and safer. She runs regular M-power workshops, which are based on Krav Maga yet adapted specifically for women.
To find out more about Anna follow the link http://www.activekravmaga.co.uk/the-instructor/