Time Out Bengaluru Magazine
I began my first session at the Bangalore centre of the International Krav Maga Federation, more than a little apprehensive about grappling with full-grown men. I was told that this form of combat relies heavily on attacking the groin, face and knee. And I had these decidedly martial terms – “combat tactics” and “neutralising real-life threats” running through my head.
A few minutes of cardio, and landing punches and kicks on a punching bag later, I was hoicked to my knees, and given the street brawl perspective. The grips and choke holds were real enough to release my clutches on any kind of ladylike decorum.
Jagriti Jain, 18, a fashion design student shedding sweat next to me, pointed out, “Krav Maga is not high on glam. You’re not going to look like Charlie’s Angels.”
It didn’t take long for me to realise that it’s not about strength or size, but wits and technique, being pitted against your opponent. There’s no room for inhibition when the idea is to knock the stuffing out of you.
Franklin Joseph, the instructor, who is 36, has a theory on how martial arts are to Krav Maga what a Ferrari is to a Humvee. “The Ferrari may be a finely tuned machine designed for peak performance on the racetracks, but it is useless on sand dunes. A Humvee is built for any situation. So for real combat, Krav Maga is more relevant and practical,” he said.[PowertoWomen.in] [Post] Krav Maga, a relatively new fighting style, wasn’t created to tackle street brawls. Developed as a hand-to-hand combat system to take on the invading Nazis in Poland, it was later adopted by the Israeli armed forces.
The military influence is obvious, just into my first session, it felt like I was in boot camp from hell – I was flat out on the floor exhausted – and I had two-and-a-half hours more to go. Franklin Joseph explained that tiring the body forces you to rely on reflex and instinct. At the time, my reflex and instinct were begging me to get medieval on Franklin.
Krav Maga is not a competitive sport and is unlike martial arts, which were born at a time and place where honour was integral to battle. Gillan Divecha, 41, who is trained in karate, said: “You don’t need years of training to be able to use this when it counts. Martial arts tell you to avoid human areas of weakness, but Krav Maga has no hard rules. You had better strike at a vulnerable point if you want to get out alive.”
“Getting attacked and saying, ‘oh, I didn’t learn this!’ will not save you,” added Franklin Joseph, getting us into role-play with dummy knives, guns and sticks. As bodyguards, we had to perceive threat, despite distractions, and as assassins we were given lessons on thinking on our feet. The victims, we learned, are forced to think of creative solutions to counter a situation, and to improvise using available resources when taken unawares.
Bruised and aching at the end of the gruelling session, I definitely wasn’t a pretty sight. Franklin left us by saying it was always better toavoid a conflict situation whenever possible. This is not fuel for a macho fantasy
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