Posts Tagged ‘Student’

Writer’s note:

I’m writing this in hopes to connect with others who may have similar stories. I admit that I am uncomfortable having this published, but feel that it is important to start the dialogue – even if it is only with your self. If anything, I hope this will give insight into one of the many paths that draw people to Krav Maga and why it is important to push yourself past your boundaries.

Italicized sentences represent thoughts and inner dialogue.

Why I started Krav Maga

 

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When life’s got you down, Surround your self with those who can support you. Kallie post orange belt test.

Finally, a moment alone.

I crumble onto my bed, exhausted after a rickety flight home. Ugh, I think, Why do I still taste tequila. It’s a typical post-Vegas-with-the-girls moment.

I take in the feeling of my room: safe, warm, and silent – a much needed hug after a distressing weekend. I give myself a moment, lying there in peace until an urge begins to nudge my brain. Ignoring my nausea, I roll over to grab my laptop.

Good ol’ friend, I think, how I missed you and your stoic personality.

I open it up and launch the search engine. Before I can begin typing, I flash back to a dark and booming Vegas nightclub. It’s alive with bodies drenched in purple and pink light, and the murky scents of tequila, B.O., and sexual tension settle thickly over the dance floor. Disorienting strobes of white flicker to EDM music as I make my way through the crowd – alone – trying to find my friends. I clench my phone tightly, the text on the lock screen reading “We’re outside! <3”.

I’m afraid, suddenly afraid, as thirsty eyes follow me through the club. It’s a pit of coyotes and I am a lost sheep. A catcall here, a slap on the ass there, followed by a thirsty touch, and then another, and another… I don’t know what to do and my voice has decided to run, strength has hidden from my muscles. By the time I shake myself out of the shock the culprit has already scurried back into the crowd, another dark, haunting figure joining a throng of anonymous bodies. I look around. No one took notice, not even the bouncer standing in clear view.

I keep walking, swaying now – not from the alcohol but from the tears welling up in my eyes. Why didn’t I do anything? I think to myself. But even if I had managed to say something, what good would it have done? Too many times has an attempt at self-preservation been misinterpreted as an enticing invitation.

I’m trying not to run and I’m trying to keep my cool but it seems like I can’t get out fast enough. My breathing is shallow, my head is spinning, and there is no one I know in sight.

The worst part of that night was that I didn’t feel like what happened deserved any sort of acknowledgement. In the end, my clothes were on and I wasn’t hurt. However, I realized that it was unpunished moments like these – passing instances of unwelcomed hands and unwanted advances – that have made this behavior “normal”, ignored, and even acceptable. The memories of these ghostly interactions deeply affect one’s psyche and sense of security, lasting long after the flight home.

See, that weekend forced me to realize three things:

1)   I do not feel confident enough to stand up for myself.

2)   Instead of running or fighting, I freeze in situations that scare me.

3)   I cannot rely on other people to look after my own safety.

That last point was pivotal, especially since I had lost the majority of my drunken friends in the crowd that Vegas evening.

I’m aware that I’ve grown up in a bubble of security that is my suburban neighborhood. As a young, female millennial hoping to travel the world and blaze my own path (yes, the millennial cliché), I know that changes must be made if I am to be both safe and successful. The trip to Nevada only solidified this sense of false security. I cannot – and will not – remain the ignorant lamb that trusts in the protection of others. I have to ensure my own safety, like a lion defending its territory.

So, in my room, I type into the search bar the name of a self-defense technique I had heard brutal – yet effective – things about: “Krav Maga”. Thanks to the stalker-like location monitoring on my browser (thanks Google!), Urban Tactics Krav Maga appears as the top result.

Alright, I think, This looks legit.

The first thing that catches my eye is a flow chart depicting when or when not to use lethal force. I give it a read and am pleasantly surprised – it seems like this gym really cares about real life solutions. I was concerned that I would attend and get beat up continuously. As someone who works in the entertainment industry, I can’t very well show up to work with a black eye.

I keep browsing and begin to read the class descriptions. This “Defense Class” might be the best start to my training – bonus: it’s free on your first day! The “Warrior Class”, however, looks rather intense and includes full contact sparring – something I’ve never done before. Indeed, it’s something I’m quite afraid to do.

Wait, I think as something catches my eye, there are discounts for military personnel? How advanced are the students if they are ex-military??

I quickly reconsider my decision, my stomach twisting more in its already warped state.

Maybe I’m not ready for this, I think, I should find another place that has women’s or introductory classes… That would be better for someone with no martial arts experience, right?

I take a deep breath to steady myself as my heart beats rapidly. I tell the finicky organ to calm down, though it rarely obeys. Stop shying away from discomfort, I say. If you do, you will never grow – you will never become the lion that you need to be.

I exhale, calmer now. Might as well give it a try with the Defense class, right? It’s pretty close by anyway.

My Journey with Krav Maga

 

I ended up trying both classes on my first day. The Defense class was a great fit and the Warrior class wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. It’s been two years since that online search and I must say I’m tremendously happy I did it. I’m now an Orange Belt and have received my first stripe in Brazillian Jiu Jitsu. I have also completed all the available firearms courses available to date.

That first Summer after Vegas I trained hard – I trained with the intention that I would use these skills, be it years from now or that very evening. With that immersed mindset I quickly learned how to apply situational awareness to my everyday life. I felt brave, not solely because I felt stronger or trusted that I could push myself farther, but because I learned how to avoid situations that could be potentially dangerous. Reducing the opportunity of these situations has proved pivotal for my safety.

In class, I’ve been in instances where I’ve been extremely uncomfortable, where I felt like I wouldn’t make it to the end of the session. I’ve been caught in suffocating holds in BJJ close to puking or feared I would never breath again. However, with the Krav Maga mindset I learned to push past the freeze instinct and fight my way out. It’s moments like these that have taught me to believe in my own strength – both mentally and physically – especially when fighting men and women much larger than me. It’s a stilling feeling when your instincts begin to alter and you understand just how unpredictable any situation can be.

The saying, “Krav Maga, so one can walk in peace” has become a truth to me. I used to be afraid of walking alone in the city or in clubs, but now I feel an odd tranquility. The training I’ve undergone has conditioned me to be mentally and physically alert, to operate at “Code Yellow” when I’m out in public. For this, I feel that I can look after my own safety, something I had never been close to a couple years prior.

Of course, I am slowly and steadily continuing my training. Like any skillset, mental awareness and physical responsiveness must be sustained by consistent training. Though I’m not in the gym as often as I’d like, Urban Tactics has become one of my safe spaces for self-exploration and transformation.

 

Why I recommend Krav Maga to you

 

Personal

I’ve already spoken about personal growth but I have a few points remaining here. I’ve seen students overcome panic attacks, emotional turmoil, excess weight gain, and physical restrictions by willpower and commitment. The individual transformations I have had the honor to witness have been awe-inspiring – a daily reminder of how much any one person is capable of.

Physical

Needless to say, Krav Maga is a work out. From the least active to the most conditioned athlete, the training can be modified to fit your needs. I’ve seen retirees, mothers, fathers, and children all on the mats, working hard and breaking a sweat.

Environmental

In such a tumultuous time, it’s easy to see why the ability to defend yourself is vital. Climate change and political distress will quickly change the social and physical landscape around us. Learning how to quickly analyze a stressful situation, understand the operations of a firearm, or being physically fit may save your life or the life of a loved one.

Social

This one was unexpected. I found that those who join Krav Maga have a mutual understanding about the world; specifically, that the world isn’t as safe and wholesome as we always like to believe it to be. Because of that, you find a large array of individuals from different ages, genders, races, and careers that you may have never met otherwise. I was fortunate enough to meet a group of individuals who have filled my past two years with support, laughter, and friendship. From Dungeons and Dragons nights to beers at pubs, it’s been a remarkable and rewarding time.

If you join any Krav Maga institution, I highly recommend starting up conversations with your peers. I wouldn’t have found these friends without going to class and we only pushed each other to improve. The staff and students at Urban Tactics make it a safe place, and they are only one of the reasons why I recommend Krav Maga to you.

Thank you for reading,

Kallie

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Kallie gets her Orange belt

 

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Urban Tactics Krav Maga

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I have been with Urban Tactics Krav Maga for going on around 10 months now. I enjoy every minute of it. It is not a class that teaches fitness, however, I always feel I get a nice work out after I finish a class. The warm ups before the classes are brilliant! And fun and enjoyable which is the best part. The warm ups we do consist of games that test your reaction time, general speed, ability to dodge things, etc. There is this one game in particular I enjoy which they call “Pillsbury Dough Boy”, and how it works is everybody in class tries to poke each other’s belly and how the person defends against getting poked is by using his/her arms to block the opponent from getting direct hit to the belly (if someone came to the class and witnessed this and hadn’t seen it before, they may think it looks silly) but in fact, this game is a strategy to deflect a possible knife attack in a real situation as well as facing multiple attackers and kind of getting that feel for “battle strategy”. The blocks used in this game are from the 360 defense which is the foundation of a lot of Krav Maga techniques. Next step in class is the stretches which is paramount, then we learn techniques and (sparring in the warrior classes)which I am still very new to, but I am learning as much as I can to better myself and grow more confident. Sparring is a great time to practice what is taught in the classes as well as get a more real feeling for what certain confrontations might be like.

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I remember my first day attending this school like it was yesterday. Jonathan and Borhan were teaching a defense against a double-handed choke from the side and breaking it down into steps. After we had for the most part learned the technique, to make things realistic the instructors turned on loud music and turned the lights off and each of us classmates took a turn standing in middle of a circle of students (which pose as attackers)and the person defending was supposed to keep their eyes closed and rotate around and at a random time an attacker would come apply the choke on you and you have to react right away and do the counter attack in return.  This gives the real feeling of maybe a club scene or somewhere where you won’t know what is coming and having to react so quick enough to save yourself from getting lulled into unconsciousness…or even worse. After this first day in class I had a very healthy respect for what was being taught. I was hooked!

 

I wanted to get into a martial art for quite a few years now, I had done Karate when I was around 9 years old until 12 years old which I had reached an orange belt but then quit at some point. I was very young at the time and I guess I enjoyed being outdoors more I guess, doing stuff such as building bike ramps in my alley and getting speed on my mountain bike and hopping over certain amounts of garbage cans! And I enjoyed playing laser tag games which I got for a birthday one year:) and I also at a very young age had a keen interest in wilderness survival and getting into the bush! So I then joined boy scouts which helped me fulfill those things I wanted to do. I am 26 years old now and I still love that scene. I hiked the West Coast Trail last summer on my own and it was a nice achievement for me and it got me in better shape and gave me higher confidence for being somewhere alone for some time (although there were other people doing the trail)and next I am planning for something for a longer period of time. I love hiking. So anyways, it was maybe 5 years ago from today I really wanted to find a martial art that was for me but I hesitated for so long and just imagined of what I could get into but never took action. I always took a liking to movies such as ‘The Bourne movies’ ‘Taken’ and the movie ‘The Hunted’ which I really like in particular, me and my good buddy have watched it countless times and it never gets old, and there are some realistic knife fighting scenes. What went through my mind during watching a lot of those movies was the kind of fighting styles they used and how they seemed really effective. I was researching on my own time of what I might want to get into, then my good friend mentioned to me that I should check out ‘Krav Maga’ which dealt with real life situations and taking on multiple attackers at worst case, and doing more research I realized that it seemed like one of the most effective self defense systems I had come across. I had then started looking on the internet for Krav Maga schools and then I came across Urban Tactics (and I’m so glad I did).  I then realised I am going to have to bite the bullet sometime and reach out and give it a go. It has been almost a year today and I am so satisfied with it all. I have such a long road of learning from this class but I feel I have learned a lot of valuable things in a short time. I have no doubt grown more confidence in myself and I try to take in what is taught most seriously, and I go home and immediately write notes of everything that was taught in class. I have never been a fighter but I wanted to learn the skills needed to take action if necessary, we live in a crazy world and as boy scouts taught me ….be prepared. Prepare for the worst and hope it never happens. I also have a 16 year old brother and mother that I love to death and God forbid they were ever in trouble and with me I would want to know how to protect them as well as myself, or maybe help a defenseless victim that is in trouble if I could get him/her and myself out safely.

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Justin with high knee

One of the greatest things about this school is the people. All the classmates show great respect for one another. There has never been one person I have not had an enjoyable time training with. That is key I feel. I am so proud being a member of this school, it actually feels like a family. People look out for one other even when sparring and when the seniors of the school give me any tips on how to better myself I take every inch of information in with open arms and I’m very thankful. There are never any high egos in this class. Love it. Going back to the first day of class being super nervous, all these great people surrounding me made it a lot easier to get in that comfort zone.

I recently attended one of their military Krav Maga courses they had. It was physically demanding at times but I enjoyed it all, it was just what I needed to keep me on my A-game. Up to a 2 years ago I have been doing roofing for the past 5 years and I got used to long days of physical work in the hot sun, but after I stopped I gained some weight again so this helped put me back ‘in check’. I have noticed my fitness levels getting slowly back to where they should be from this class and I have goals which I know I can reach. My goals for the class from here on in are to make no less than 3 classes per week, I know I can do it! Borhan and Jonathan are great teachers and I am grateful and satisfied when leaving each class. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

Written By: Justin B

Edited By: Warren C

Warren Gets his orange Belt Cert

Warren receiving his Certificate of Achievement

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Warren Leading Stretches

I recently took my Orange Belt test and I’d like to share the experience.  I knew that there would be a written portion, but other than that, I wasn’t sure exactly how it would be conducted.  I was told that there would be less cardio than was required for the Yellow Belt test but in the end, that didn’t turn out to be the case.  In fact, there was probably more, but more on this later.

In the weeks leading up to the test, Jon took me through the techniques I needed to know, and he kept saying, with his usual grin, “You’ll be fine.  You should pass it no problem.”, so I was under the mistaken impression that perhaps the Orange Belt test was a more theoretical test than the brute force Yellow Belt test that was meant to challenge your resolve and confirm your commitment to the training regimen.  It was also scheduled for “only” an hour, as opposed to the two hours required for the Yellow Belt test.  He did, however, advise me to drink water throughout the day of the test so I’d be fully hydrated.  Sound advice.

Testing period begins.

The written portion comprised of 20 multiple-choice questions and you needed to get 80% to pass.  Quick math told me that I could get 4 wrong and still pass, so it shouldn’t be a problem. Most of the questions were no-brainers but there were a couple of questions that made me go “Hmmm…”, or to ask for clarification.  In any questions that had poor grammar, Jon said that Borhan wrote them.  In the end, I was satisfied with my answers and handed the paper in.  Next.

Then came the technique portion of the test.  Another small surprise, Jon started to ask me to do techniques that were required for the Yellow Belt.  It made sense, of course, but I hadn’t specifically reviewed them.  As he asked me to do this or that, the hours of training kicked in and it didn’t give me any problems, although I had to ask for clarification now and then to confirm exactly what it was he wanted me to do.  All the while my body is going through the motions and like it or not, you start to get tired.  Also, there were many, many punching combinations.  It was relentless.  Straight punches, crosses, hooks, elbows, uppercuts, kicks…it all gets tested, and in all kinds of combinations.  Meanwhile, my body continued to tire.  After it appeared that I knew what I was doing in the techniques for both the Yellow Belt and Orange Belt, it was time to apply them in an unknown situation.

I’m then asked to close my eyes and (no cheating now) wait for an attack that can come from anywhere.  Front, back, left side, right side…who knows where it’s coming from.  And there may be a knife mixed in with the attack, or there may not.  A choke here, a head-lock there…who knows?  But you need to respond accordingly, not panic, and finish off the move properly.  Now, it’s one thing to see an attack coming, but it’s quite another to lose one of your prime senses and still do the right thing.  Once you close your eyes the adrenaline starts pumping, your heart rate increases, and your fright factor goes up.  Where is he coming from and what type of attack will it be?  Will I know what to do?  Will I freeze?  Suddenly the attacks start, one after the other.  Open your eyes, defend, counter, finish it, then close your eyes again and wait for the next one.  Your body takes over, your instincts kick in, and suddenly you know exactly what to do and how to do it.  As with most things in life, the anticipation of something coming is often more psychologically impactful than the event itself.  It’s the waiting that gets to you.  Then multiple attacker scenarios were tested.  Believe me, when you have three people wanting to beat up on you and swinging punches wherever they can land them, you get very tired very quickly avoiding them and counter-attacking.  It’s truly exhausting and intense.  In the end, I managed to stave off enough attacks to satisfy Jon, and I was very fatigued by this time by both the adrenaline rush and the actual physical activity.  Was that it?  Could I go home now?  Please?

At this point Jon says I can take a breather, rest up, and take a water break.  After the break I was starting to feel normal again, but already the sweat wouldn’t stop streaming down my face. Whatever water I was putting into my body was just as quickly going out again.  Little did I know that what I had just completed was a warm-up to the main test, although it was an important milestone.  If I hadn’t executed the techniques correctly up to this point, I wouldn’t have been allowed to continue and it would have been the end of the test.

It was time to see how I could do under threatening conditions with real-time attacks.  I was placed in the center of a group of other students all decked out in protective head-gear and other protection.  Each of them was assigned a number which represented a specific type of attack with which they were to come at me when called upon.  I stood in the middle, scanning all around and waiting for the first attack.  I was surrounded and felt like I was in a movie, where the camera would start to scan in a circle to show all the threats that were going to come hard and fast.  Borhan started calling out numbers and the attacks began.  After I finished one attack then the next one came.  Then the next.  Then the next.  Someone choked me from behind, someone put me in a headlock.  That knife is coming at me fast, but I time it right and counterpunch right away.  I grab the arm holding the knife and secure it while laying some knees to the body, before I take him down.  What’s the next threat?  Where’s it coming from?  Somebody grabs me from behind.  He’s strong.  I can’t break free as easily as I thought so I start hitting him in the groin (yes, he was wearing a cup!).  The grip loosens and I’m able to come back under the arm and hold it tight while I apply some knees.  On and on it goes until finally, Borhan stops the attacks.  I’m spent, breathing hard, and feeling pretty much done while sweating profusely.  Jon said I did well and survived because I didn’t get fatally stabbed.  Thinking back to the knife attacks it didn’t even enter my mind that they were rubber knives.  In my mind they were a threat.  Fortunately my muscle memory kicked in and I was able to defend myself with the proper technique instead of freezing.  As exhausted as I was, I was then told to get my head protection on because the final test was coming up.

Arrgh.  Time to fight.  The sparring partners appeared to be arranged in a certain order.  I was to spar with the better fighter first, then go on down the line to easier fights.  At this point I had no idea how many people I had to spar, nor did I know how long the rounds would be (I found out later they were 2 minutes), all I knew is that because I was already greatly fatigued, I nearly used up the last of my reserve in the first round.  I finished the round and had a short break before the second round with the next fresh person.  It turns out that I was given only a 30 second rest between each round and in that time, I would throw off my head-gear, spit out my mouth guard, and suck in as much air as I could before I had to go at it again.  I had to think, “Keep it at 30%.  These are your training partners, not real threats.”  I knew that intellectually, but emotionally at that moment they felt like real threats.  I fought the second round, the third, then finally the fourth, which I thought was the end.  To be honest, I don’t even remember how I did in the second round.  I remember the person I fought, but nothing about the round itself, so I’ll have to ask Borhan what happened in that one.  After what I thought was the last round, they said I had one more (!) to do, and that was to go back with the first fighter who was able to rest up for the last 10 minutes while I was sparring with the others.  At that point I wasn’t thinking anymore, I was purely exhausted, and all I could do was let my body take over.  Punch, kick, cover up, keep your hands up, don’t give up.  Don’t give up.  Breathe, breathe, calm down, get your head straight.  Don’t over-think anything, just react.  As I’m in the middle of my own personal Hell, I hear Borhan’s voice in the background shouting, “Go! Go!  You love this s**t!  Do it!!  You LOVE this s**t!!”.  As much as I was disagreeing with that statement at the time, it was oddly motivating.  It’s coming down to the last 30 seconds so everyone starts shouting, everyone starts cheering, I’m doing whatever I can to stay on my feet and continue to fight back…and then….it’s finally over.  I’m vaguely aware of people congratulating me, of saying things like “Well done!” and “Way to go!”, but it doesn’t really register as I take off my head-gear and nearly collapse.  Jon asks how I am, and I reply “I’m too old for this.”.

And that was the Orange Belt test.

It took a while for the accomplishment to sink in, but after some time I started to feel proud of myself.  Not because I thought I did the techniques well, or that I sparred well, because I probably didn’t, but because I didn’t give up, I didn’t ask for a longer rest than what I was given, and I did everything that was asked of me.  No quarter was given, and none was asked.  Also, I had initially thought that a more conditioned person would have done better than me.  Perhaps in the beginning they wouldn’t have fatigued as quickly, however it became very apparent that no matter how conditioned you are, you’ll be beat down until you’re finally tired, and then that’s when you’ll need to perform.  And at that point you’ll really find out what you’re made of.  The other thing is that you really have to know your techniques, or rather, your body needs to know them.  I can honestly say that I was not thinking about what attack was coming, analyzing it, then pulling the counter-attack out of memory and applying it.  If I did that my response time would have been too slow.  My body just responded as it should have.  I do believe that one needs to put in the hours necessary to train their body to respond on its own, and to firm up the muscle memory.  There are no ways of getting around it.  You need to put in the time.

Finally, in most other martial arts getting an Orange Belt is no big deal.  It’s still very low on the totem pole and you have a long way to before you can really protect yourself.  However, in Krav Maga achieving an Orange Belt definitely means you can do some serious damage on the street if it came down to it.  It’ll be another year before I’ll have enough hours to test for my Green Belt, but I’m in no rush.  It’ll take me that long to recover from the Orange Belt test!

By: Warren Chow

Our own Prince William: Nathan ‘s story

Posted: May 6, 2014 by urbantacticskravmaga in UTKM Student Corner
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I’ve always been interested in taking a martial arts class or boxing but for whatever reason I never got around to doing it.  Krav Maga in particular was of interest to me as it seemed the most “real world” discipline to use as it deals with actual scenarios you could encounter because in the real world there is no referee, bell, ring, or rules for that matter.  My wife bought a 3-month membership for my birthday to begin in January of 2014, and I was really excited she got it for me.  I’ve always talked about doing it but never did!At the same of time of being excited I was also pretty nervous.  I have trained in the gym for 16yrs, played lots of different sports, have never been afraid to get my hands dirty or get a bit bruised up from sports or activities.  But throughout my entire life I have never been in a fight.  Being a big guy, I guess I’m pretty much the last person someone would pick a fight with.  Nonetheless, its something I’ve always been concerned about.  If the situation were to arise, would I be able to effectively defend myself, my wife, my family, or others?  In all honesty, I felt worried that I may not be able to.  Especially being someone of significant size and stature, I’ve felt like its expected that I should be able handle any situation. That being said, after only a few months of consistently coming to the classes I definitely feel more confident if such a situation would arise.  The first few classes I was very nervous, and the first time I did one of our sparing sessions I realized I had no idea how to handle myself.  I was thankful that my size had kept me out of fights as I discovered I really didn’t know what to do!  Its always easy to watch and comment on UFC fights and think in your mind you know what to do, but in the real world unless you have been trained… you’re clueless and your instincts are most likely wrong. Krav Maga has tough me so much more than how to throw a punch, kick, or elbow.  It has tough be how to read a situation, an opponent, and has reprogrammed bad reflexes/instincts with better ones.  By no means do I feel like I can “take on anyone” nor do I want to.  But it has greatly improved my awareness and confidence.

I have also noticed an improvement in my overall fitness.  For years I have consistently trained at the gym and have significantly changed my body composition from when I first started.  That process has also increased my self confidence.  However, being “gym tough” versus “street tough” are completely different.  The addition of Krav Maga has filled in the gaps both physically and mentally.  Overall I have lost roughly 12 pounds of body fat since the New Year, and my cardiovascular performance has greatly increased.

 

More importantly, overall I just feel more confident and in control.  I really enjoy the feeling of knowing I’m better equipped to handle myself in a bad situation/scenario.  I’m mostly looking forward to progressing further with Krav Maga and improving my skill set and earning various levels of belts.  Just as the gym has been part of my life since I was 18yrs old and will be for the rest of my life.  I see Krav Maga being with me, in one way or another, for life as well.

Student Corner: Bruce’s story

Posted: January 26, 2014 by urbantacticskravmaga in UTKM Student Corner
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SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERABruce Kennedy

Father, Electrician, Mad Scientist, Student

I really like doing stuff.  Trying new stuff, making new stuff, improving old stuff, pressuring the comfort bubble, some times in earnest, others with trepidation.

Some time ago I began to investigate different fighting systems.  Having been a lamb of sorts, it was a personal area that begged investigation.  Having had the good fortune resourcing many acquaintances that had experience in a variety of martial arts, I felt that I with some help, I could leverage the right decision which path to choose.    By accident, I came across the Krav Maga system, (not well known by the aforementioned).  I was impressed by the progressive nature and practicality of this martial art, up to this point, strictly from research.  Since free time for most of us is compromised at best, I was looking for instruction close to home, and found Urban Tactics in Burnaby to have an agreeable location and realistic hours.  A few emails, a timid arrival, and exactly one year ago my first class was past me.

Right away, we were immersed in a fully intense environment, free from the embroilment of art form and tradition.  Our exercises and manoeuvres were realistically and scientifically explained.  Two classes in, armed with my new minimal protection, we were sparring not with bags and pads, not practicing in air, but with each other.  Real people, real opponents.  Real punches in to the head; real kicks in the groin.   It was this aspect that continues to captivate and bring me back to class each week.  It was time to put the lamb of sorts to the side, well… forever.

As most can attest, any opportunity for distraction from the life of raising children, working and generally looking after people should be clutched at once.  For one hour at a time, there is nothing on the mind but the task at hand.  No meal planning, no strategies on dealing with aging parents, not a blip on the radar.  And it is this investment by all of our fellow classmates that conceives and nurtures a community of athletes striving for improvement both through instruction and through these real experiences with each other.  And it is to our group of students and instructors that I owe a debt of gratitude for that hour of freedom each week.  One can’t help the enthusiasm brought about by keeping up with the pack.  This time to me is significant and extraordinary, and the skills we take away, the improvement in our mental and physical health is all icing.

At no point is ones opponent in the Krav Maga class to be under estimated.  Regardless of size, of the experience and ability, anyone can surprise, and anyone can learn.  We at Urban Tactics, like with many martial arts groups, have a great opportunity to work with students from many disciplines, each bringing their strengths and experiences into the collective.  I have always respected the trained fighter and athlete, more at this time than any other.  The fitness that accompanies this kind of skill set (“… we get fit to do Krav Maga”) demands your improvement, a truly welcome and compelling reason to stay healthy, to stay strong.

I have always considered myself fortunate to have had enormous opportunities to acquire a wide and varied skillset, in my working life, and through some other more personal crazy stunts our family has survived (or at a minimum, endured).  I have had many great teachers, technical colleagues and friends and I consider all of my experiences in Urban Tactics part of this tremendous opportunity group.  I would encourage everyone try this once.  You reap what you sow, and these fields are truly bountiful.

By Bruce Kennedy