Sunday, April 28, 2013

krav chronicles

So recently I wrote about how I started Krav Maga.

As I've said before, this is unlike anything I've ever done. Right now, I'm bruised in three places and my knee is skinned raw after practicing knee strikes on a 6-inch-thick pad.

I will admit that I'm kind of a wimp when it comes to these things. Which was why med school was out of the question for me. It's a bit strange, because I can watch my blood getting drawn for yearly check-ups and such, but I just don't like injuries of any kind (then again, who does?) and I have to admit I don't have a high tolerance for pain. Like I said, wimpy. And really guilty of it. A. was a bit amused by my situation, and jokingly asked why I need to put a gauze bandage as thick as a mattress over my skinned knee. What can I say, he exaggerates sometimes... and in my defense, I also had to wear jeans over it and didn't like the idea of denim rubbing against, um, exposed flesh. Still, his jokes are pretty funny. ;-)


But the learning is so worth it. It definitely pushes me to do what's uncomfortable - because in a real-life attack situation, "uncomfortable" would be understating it.

At the 2-hour class I attended recently, we practiced self-defense and offense moves in response to a variety of attack situations specifically targeted towards women -- including chokes, getting pulled by the arm, "bear hugs" from behind, as well as mounts (which is probably the most uncomfortable one - meaning the situation in which you are down on the ground with the attacker right on top of you).

I met another girl there who was about my size, and she has been going to class for about 2 months now and I was just so amazed by how strong she was. We partnered up for the drills, and her strength just really inspired me to try harder.

On a lighter note, the highlight at the end was when the instructor asked for any volunteers who wanted to try "beating up" this fully padded guy (who is actually one of the instructors there). I have to say, I'm not the type to be the first one with a hand raised whenever an instructor asks for a volunteer, no matter the setting. (Think of Monica from Friends, in that episode in which she was in a literature class and kept raising her hand. Um, no. Not me.)

After a few participants went, my fellow-petite-partner volunteered. She was awesome. After her turn, she told me, "how often do you get to beat up a padded guy??". After a few more people went, I thought... what the heck. I raised my hand.

So I went. It was a bit intimidating with - I don't know - maybe 40 or so people watching. Here I am, five-foot-nothing, in front of a guy who was six-foot something with full padding and a protective helmet. The situation was that an attacker (the said padded guy) was going to pull me by the arm. We were taught that when you are pulled by the arm, instead of resisting (which would likely be the reflex response) you actually move into it with more speed/force - almost like you're using the attacker's energy to counter-attack with more energy. And I just went, punching and kicking until he was on the ground.

(Granted, I knew it was partly largely theatrical that this guy ended up on the ground. But still.)

It was a rush of adrenaline! It's not that I really had to think of what to do. Even if I never thought of myself as aggressive in any way - they actually encourage you to channel your inner aggression. You'll need it to save your life. As the instructor said, you need to want to survive more than they want to hurt/kill you.  

That said, it's certainly not about unnecessary aggression, or picking fights for no good reason. Many times, there are situations that are better avoided and prevented in the first place. But, when an attack does happen, they say that "the best defense is a good offense" - to eliminate the threat and escape the situation. That being the case, aggression (along with skill, of course) is necessary.  

Although I'm still really new, this already has been such an empowering experience. Even if I had been nervous going into it, I never regret it afterwards. Skinned knees and all.


Just as a disclaimer... I'm absolutely no expert on Krav Maga by any means. I'm just writing about my own experience and perspectives, and I am not speaking for any Krav Maga school or instructor. All that said... if you find a school near you, give it a try. :)

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Jen said...

Wow, Mia, this is fascinating! I'm trying to imagine my peaceful yogini friend beating up a padded 6-foot guy and my mind is reeling. I love that you keep learning and growing and daring!

Mia (Savor Everyday) said...

Hi Jen! I never imagined it either! But in some cases, saying "namaste" isn't really going to work, is it? :)

We are, each of us, growing in our own different ways...isn't that what makes life so interesting? I love watching your own adventure from afar too!

Christine Duque said...

LOL - This is part of your "Five Spatulas of Fury" training!

You should check out my legs sometime - they look better this week but guaranteed at any point I am bruised somewhere from some pool accident, or something from lifting or boxing in the gym.

Just remember recovery is an important part of the process - so make a commitment - protein for muscle repair, and lots of hydration.

Ice is your best friend, epsom salt soaks are great too... I'm spoiled that I do have access to a sauna and steam room too.

Just think - you have uninvited visitors claiming your food or if you need a real life situation - you are down to the last bite of pound cake! Trust me, you can be pretty vicious! LOL

krishwala said...

that looks painful but I am excited you're trying something new.

Mia (Savor Everyday) said...

Krishna: Thanks! Glad it's healed now, but I am so sore from class...takes me at least 2 days to recover! It's been great though.

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