Some time ago I was invited by the great folks at Institute Krav Maga...
Some time ago I was invited by the great folks at Institute Krav Maga to attend their women-only Krav Maga course Girls Krav. This gave me a great opportunity to see what attending a women-only Krav Maga course really means.
MISCONCEPTION 1: Women-only courses are a watered down and wimpy version of regular Krav Maga
CLARIFICATION: Women-only Krav Maga courses are IDENTICAL to regular Krav Maga
Well. not exactly identical. Women-only courses teach Krav Maga techniques that are most relevant for women to know, irregardless of their place in the Krav Maga curriculum. These techniques range from choke defenses (beginner) to hair grab defenses (advanced). For someone like me (with several months of Krav Maga experience at the time) it was pretty awesome. I walked away with the practical knowledge of a lot of techniques that I ordinarily would learn much further down the line.
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And of course, it's women only. So you know, there aren't any men in training. (With the exception of any male instructors).
What IS the same, is the intent used and taught in training. You're still put under mental and physical pressure. You still have to learn how to operate and defend yourself under stress. Most importantly: you drill survival mentality and learn how you can use your entire body as a weapon.
MISCONCEPTION 2: If they do a women-only course, women will never be as good at self-defense as when they do regular Krav Maga!
CLARIFICATION: Women-only courses serve as an introduction and are not intended to replace 'regular' Krav Maga.
A women-only course is set for a short period of time. Say around 8 to 10 weeks. No system can be taught perfectly in that time period. No, not 'regular' Krav Maga either. It serves as a way for ladies to get acquainted with the roughness of a true self-defense system and provides a safe environment to get used to the Krav Maga and fighting basics.
Afterwards, the idea of using violence to defend yourself will no longer be so intimidating. You experience and learn it really IS about self-defense and not about beating up people or being violent or aggressive without reason. As a matter of fact, you learn that you can use your voice to get out a lot of conflicts and bad situations.
MISCONCEPTION 3: Women don't need special courses. They can easily train with the guys. Theyre overreacting.
CLARIFICATION: Women choose self-defense courses for a REASON
Hell-bent on revenge is not usually the reason, though. 😉
The sad truth is: women pick a self-defense system for a reason. After talking with hundreds of women and dozens of Krav Maga instructors, I have the impression that about 90 percent of the women who choose a form of self-defense do so because of some type of incident in their past. These incidents can range from harassment by a stranger in the subway to outright violence or rape by either friend, spouse or stranger.
As you can imagine, experiencing traumatic events like this doesn't do much wonders for the self-esteem department. Training with men after experiencing such an event might even trigger flashbacks or bad memories.
Again, I'm not saying that this is the case for all women. I am saying that for the women who do have problems with this, will be able to overcome and process their bad experiences in a safe environment.
MISCONCEPTION 4: "Krav Maga is accessible! Our group is great! We're all really nice and approachable."
CLARIFICATION: Regular Krav Maga courses can be very intimidating.
I've written about this before, but when I first stepped foot in my class I had to swallow a few times because there we're about 15 guys and only 1 other woman. Holy CRAP that was intimidating! There's simply a lot men that attend Krav Maga. It's also a place where you learn to defend yourself by beating up other people very effectively. It's violent. And that scares off people.
All of these factors alone form a barrier for a lot of women. Now take into account what I wrote earlier. That 90% of the women who seek a form of self-defense do so in hindsight. After some experiences, it's just hard to trust other people.
MISCONCEPTION 5: There's no place for talking in Krav Maga. You just gotta respond, act, fight!
CLARIFICATION: Discussions and sharing your experiences is also a part of mental training.
Not all the time, of course. At the physical parts you need to go ahead and do it instead of thinking about it and talking about it. But certain techniques might bring up memories or feelings that require some discussion. At the women only training I attended the majority of the group stayed afterwards to talk with each other and discuss the training in an open manner.
On top of that, there are some things women just don't discuss with men. No matter how much we think you're cool, focused, awesome, valuable and amazing sparring (and/or life) partners. 🙂
MISCONCEPTION 6: Women won't learn how to defend themselves against men if they don't train with them!
CLARIFICATION: Krav Maga teaches you how to SURVIVE
Let's be realistic: one hour of training a week, for 8 eight weeks won't make you a Krav Maga Expert. Not by a long shot.
That's ok, though.
Because women-only Krav Maga teaches you the most important thing there is: You always have a chance to survive, to escape, to get away, to not be a victim. Your body is your weapon, and your attacker has weak points. He is not invincible. You are stronger than you think.
In other words: Krav Maga teaches you to survive .
As I mentioned in the beginning, I attended a class 'Girls Krav' at Institute Krav Maga.
These ladies blew me away. Because there was one thing ALL of them had in common: they we're FIERCE. Every last one of them EXPLODED into action the moment they we're 'attacked' by their instructor. They did not freeze, but they countered, attacked, kicked and punched until they we're out and free! Even the women who had ZERO self-defense or martial art experience before this.
Imagine that. In less than 7 weeks these ladies had taken huge steps in defending themselves
I realised: Krav Maga teaches you how to FIGHT and how to SURVIVE. It makes you aware your body is a weapon. It teaches you where to hit, kick and strike someone to make them go down and to make them HURT. It makes you aware you're not helpless and it shows you always have a fighting chance.
Not bad, huh?
MISCONCEPTION 7: "Only unstable women choose to do Krav Maga."
CLARIFICATION: Women choose to do Krav Maga for a variety of reasons.
First of all, there are plenty of women who practice Krav Maga for other reasons than because something happened to them. For fun, for actual prevention, because their parents made them. Some women need it to be more effective at their jobs, others want to work on their condition and health. Some ladies look for a challenge after another martial art.
Second of all, learning a form of self-defense has nothing to do with being 'unstable'. Quite the OPPOSITE! You take measures to defend yourself! To not be dependent on someone else to save you. To become stronger, physically and mentally. To no longer be a victim. Taking this first step into this new mindset shows STRENGTH and bravery. Don't let anyone tell you differently.
As for me, I chose Krav Maga because I wanted a way to defend myself. And yes, I've experienced what it's like to being UNABLE to defend myself, which contributed to picking Krav Maga. However, Krav Maga resonated with something inside of me. It's turning into a life style, gives me a great condition, allows me to meet AWESOME people and learn a lot about myself. I have a great time during every class.
To all of you who's doubted the worth of Krav Maga courses for women: hopefully I've made you realise how necessary and useful these courses can be. And if not? Well, I'd love to hear from you in the comments, on Twitter or on Facebook! 😉 Let's have some respectful discussions. 🙂
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Posted in Sport Post Date 01/31/2017