If you try to stab me with a rubber knife, I will dislocate both your shoulders and drop you on your bum. I will probably then kick you in the face for good measure. Be warned.
This week, I went to a Krav Maga class – a self-defence system developed in Israel that involves striking, grappling and wrestling.
I love a good scrap, and have enjoyed all of the martial arts classes I’ve been to. This is a bit different: because it’s not a sport there are no rules. You are actively advised to give your attacker a good kick in the balls, should the situation require it.
That makes it great for self-defence, especially if you’re a lady. You get many of the useful techniques of other martial arts but with more practical application. How to poke someone in the eye and steal their rubber knife, for example.
Unfortunately, that also means it lacks a lot of the calm discipline and positive mental effects of the other martial arts and can feel quite aggressive. I very nearly had to pick a fight with some youths on the way home.
I went to a taster session at the British Academy of Krav Maga in Westminster. It was a great session – well taught, entertaining and fun.
It started with a fairly brutal warm up of skipping and press-ups, and then went directly into combat techniques.
That moment of pairing up with a partner is always awkward – boys don’t want to go with girls because they’re afraid they’ll hurt you or accidentally touch a boob; and girl-on-girl fighting can be just a little too polite. Fortunately this time I paired up with a lady who was quite happy have at me like a proper attacker (I have the bruises to show for it).
I once fought off a potential mugger (ok, he was about 17 years old and was probably just shocked that the harmless-looking target in a spotty dress was actually a foul-mouthed, flailing banshee with vicious elbows) so I can see the practical application of a few Krav Maga lessons for anyone. Especially if you’re female, short and tend to carry expensive electronics.