In two short months I’ll have reached my 1-year anniversary in learning Krav Maga with Urban Tactics. It has been an interesting journey so far, and I expect that it will continue to remain so. As with any journeys there are experiences and observations that one faces along the way so I’m now sharing a few of mine.
First of all, the overall class has less of a formal dojo-type feel and more of a casual collegial group-training type of atmosphere. It could be due to the fact that the room is quite small in comparison to the number of students that often show up for class, but I suspect that it has more to do with the style of teaching that the instructors convey. It is a welcome change from the previous places in which I trained, because although the atmospheres there were also casual they were almost too much so, and bordered on the instructors being lackadaisical in their instruction. In contrast, the instructors in this Krav Maga class try to make it more fun, but also will impart a serious message that what the students are learning can be deadly and will carry serious consequences if applied inappropriately or improperly. They will speak of their own experiences in conflict situations with the objective of driving home the message to make the teachings more relevant. It is clear from the class that the instructors are passionate about what they know, and they are motivated to build this passion onto the students.
Secondly, the students themselves have made the journey unique. Given that the tools and techniques that we’re learning are violent and intense, one would think that this would invite a breed of students who also carry this attitude, and want nothing more than to fuel their testosterone-filled egos. However, I have been pleasantly surprised that this couldn’t be further from the truth and that the students are friendly, supportive, and are there to learn how to fight for the proper reasons of defending themselves and/or their friends/family, and not just so they can go out gang-banging on an alcohol and drugged-fueled Saturday night. It hasn’t been explicitly mentioned, but I suspect that if a potential student were to come to the class with this type of attitude, they would be filtered out and refused training by the instructors. In short, the collegial attitude of the students makes for the learning a very positive experience, which is not to be taken for granted given the seriousness of the subject.
Lastly, incorporating sparring into the class is an experience unto itself. I have taken martial arts in the past where I have participated in tournaments, but they are very controlled environments and rules abound to keep things safe and within specific application of the techniques. The sparring sessions in these classes is raw and brutal, and more closely parallel what one would find in the street where there is no honour and no rules. With wearing the protective gear the sparring is still safe, but it’s as close to the high level of intensity and adrenalin-filled scrap that one would experience without facing the risk of serious injury. Personally, I find the sparring sessions to be the most intimidating, but also ultimately most rewarding, part of the lesson and an appropriate way to end the class.
Life changes, schedules change, and businesses come and go, so I know that taking Krav Maga will eventually be a period in my life in which I will look back and remember what it was like to learn one of the deadliest martial arts on the planet and, hopefully, be good at it. However, that time is in the future and until that day comes, I will continue to attend classes each week and build on the journey.
Written By: Warren C