“So one may walk in peace”
As I alluded to in a previous post, I was (for about a month, now) strongly considering taking up krav maga (Hebrew for “contact combat”), the Israeli martial arts style. I thought about it at length and realized that the extremely high quality of the physical workout (which, unlike my extremely successful hiking over the summer, wouldn’t be shut down by wintry trails, and would work my core and arms as equally as my legs, which I have sorely missed all summer long). I carefully looked into the options near me in New Haven, and happened to find Alpha Krav Maga, which has a gym a mere 22 minutes away from my house and has been featured in the New York Times for excellence! With my roommate Ryan’s generosity (that is to say, borrowing his car and paying him for the gas), I set up a trial session for yesterday evening, which meant 20 minutes of introduction to the martial art by the owner and head trainer, Jamie Arute, and then got to attend a regular one hour session with the students. The content of the introduction was basically properly being able to assume the right defensive stance no matter where my arms and legs happen to be; the class itself happened to be an introduction and practice set for the seven different kinds of elbow strikes in krav (as it is referred to), as well as practicing proper palm strike techniques (using quick forward jabs of the open palm to make your opponent back up and not letting yourself just push them; as Jamie said, “strikes win fights, pushes lose them.”).
The title to this blog post, “so one may walk in peace,” is a quote attributed to the founder of krav maga, Imi Lichtenfeld (last name in Hebrew being Sde-or) and is one of the basic reasons I decided after the trial to enroll for a full 2 years in this somewhat pricy academy (the lengthier the enrollment, the cheaper per month): I would like to be able to defend myself without any weapons or tools, in any situation (and especially when I am not expecting to have to do so); krav is the only martial art that does this, as it is not a sport with a score system. It is an extremely practical system of fighting dirty enough to get away from attacker(s) who are armed when you are unarmed, and having had some fairly rough and tumble experiences during my various abroad experiences, I am looking forward to being so-trained and so-prepared. The title of this post quotes Jamie from last night’s class, in admitting krav maga as he teaches it is “heavy on the martial and light on the arts,” which just means I will be best prepared for any bad situation. After all, half the workout involves holding the punching pad and bracing yourself while your partner practices the hits; this is an extremely strenuous workout, and having the pad flush with your chest means you’re trained in how to deal with getting hit (albeit indirectly through the pad), which is yet more evidence that I have found the right option for me to learn self defense while getting in shape. The other reason, as mentioned above, is for exercise – given that I am extremely sore from last night as I finish typing this post up, I have high hopes this training will exercise my body quite thoroughly. Who knows – I might even be able to walk again, some day!!!
A brief set of photos for now, hopefully I will ask someone to get a shot or two of me mid-strike or -defense (once I get better and understand the skills more fully).