News: Krav Maga teaches real-world fighting techniques, improves fitness, endurance
Story by Sgt. Jennifer Spradlin
RENTON, Wash. – Sweat-soaked, bruised and exhausted, a group of 15 participants have wrapped up another session of Krav Maga or “contact combat” at a Renton, Wash., dojo. Rapidly increasing in popularity, classes teaching Krav Maga, a noncompetitive, self-defense system, are popping up throughout the area.
First utilized in the 1940s to train the Israel Defense Forces, Krav Maga, unlike other popular martial arts, was not developed for the controlled environment of a fighting ring or cage and is not governed by a set of sportsmanship rules. Students are taught to fend off an attacker or aggressor in a real-world scenario by striking at the most vulnerable parts of the body (ie; face, neck, groin or joints) and train to repel multiple, possibly armed targets.
“Krav Maga focuses on what the average person can do, with the least amount of training, in a real-world scenario,” said Richard Chung, owner and chief instructor of Dojo 3. Chung has trained for 28 years in a variety of martial arts principles but picked up Krav Maga in the last two years. “In class we work to understand the fight and handle the emotional state of being attacked. We try to replicate the stresses which happen during the fight: the speed, the fear, the anxiety. If we can train the students to handle fear, stress and anxiety at a high enough pace, then when they are in the actual fight they will not be overwhelmed.”
In order to cultivate the feeling of stress, Chung pushes his class through a series of sparring exercises to include striking, kicks and hold escapes. The only breaks are for gulping down water or switching training gear. The end result: on average, Krav Maga burns up to 800 calories per hour.
“It has definitely improved my PT score. It’s like having the worst ‘smoke session’ of basic training times five. I’m probably in the best shape of my life,” said 1st Lt. Timothy Samms, training officer with the 191st Infantry Brigade. Samms has 14 years of combined enlisted and officer service in the Army and Air Force. Based on his combat experience, Samms said he preferred Krav Maga’s emphasis on standing fighting techniques rather than ground grappling. More than a year and a half later, he said it is still challenging and fun.
“I would recommend Krav Maga to other service members and their families. If you’re looking for a great workout, as well as practical combat skills, come to Krav Maga,” said Samms.
Despite the pace and intensity of the classes, Chung insists Krav Maga is a very accessible fighting style. With the focus on ending a fight quickly, students are not forced to master intricate techniques or balance, breathing and timing in the same regard as a traditional martial arts discipline.
“The beauty of Krav Maga is that it’s about effectiveness. It’s functional and it works. The average person can come twice a week for four months and progress out of level one, which means they should be able to handle most situations in a stand up attack,” said Chung.
At Dojo 3, the flat rate for military members is 75 dollars per month. Classes are offered six days a week and students can attend as many classes as they like in their skill level. Other locations offering Krav Maga are available in Puyallup, Tacoma and Seattle.
This work, Krav Maga teaches real-world fighting techniques, improves fitness, endurance, by SSG Jennifer Spradlin, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.