tombé, pas de bourrée, glissade, jete
As a child, my mother enrolled me in dance classes. I did a year of tap before transitioning into what our very Midwestern dance studio called “jazz and hip-hop.” I was not particularly good - I struggled with coordination and felt awkward in my body. I begged my mother to let me quit and after 5 or 6 years, I was able to wear her down.
Even though I hated it at the time, dance never left me. There’s always been something about those familiar steps to music. The older I’ve gotten, the more coordinated I’ve become, the more fluid my movements, the more comfortable in my skin, the more I’ve held onto dance as an important part of my life and who I am.
After I started Krav Maga, I started to notice the ways I learned dance all those years ago influenced my fighting.
Building Movement on Movement
When first learning Krav Maga, I realized that the IKMF uses a number and building method that was familiar to me - it was the exact same way taught in dance. In each practice, I started by building on each section I learned and practiced and practiced until my clunky movements became smooth.
Rhythm and Fluidity
Most dance requires fluidity in your movements and following the rhythm of the music. Without it, the jerking of the motions takes you out of the performance. With fight, any pause can be a moment where you’re hit - the more fluid you can make your fighting, the easier the fight.
Leading and Following
My time ballroom dancing has always been beginners lessons and I have to admit that I’ve never been great at following. Sparring, when done well, is a more violent dance between two or more individuals. It requires watching and following your opponent, sometimes even more intently, since it’s random, unchoreographed movement.
Balance and Footwork
Balance and footwork are critical to fighting - standing still means becoming overwhelmed and possibly going to the ground. The faster your footwork, the easier it is to avoid a hook to the head or to block a kick to the groin. It also means the faster you can end a fight and if you can balance while doing it, you’re more likely to stay on your feet.
Being Present in Your Body
Fighting and dancing both require spatial awareness - how close am I to the person dancing next to me? How far away is my opponent from my punch? Understanding distances is critical in a fighting or sparring situation.
As a child, I never would have said I was grateful for dance - I was awkward and clumsy. But in my adult body with some training and practice, I’ve seen how my learning as a child has helped me in my new love of Krav Maga as an adult.
All Valley Self-Defense instructors have been trained in trauma-informed care and how to help those handling trauma in a Krav Maga class. For anyone with anxiety about trying Krav Maga, we are happy to meet with you in person or speak with you over the phone. To connect with us, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If we say that exercise helps our mental health, we can't disconnect our feelings from it. This is why owner and instructor Danae Hudson cries on the mat during Krav Maga.
Krav Maga is about more than just kicking butt - the best way to win a fight is to avoid one. But often times women feel like we can't defend ourselves until we're in danger. When are we allowed to defend our boundaries?
Krav Maga near me? There is! If you're looking for a Krav Maga class near you, Valley Self-Defense is a proud member of the International Krav Maga Federation with schools located across the United States. To find a school near you, visit the IKMF USA website.