Most people don’t know that the first step in Krav Maga is “avoid.” If you walked into my class and you asked me what you should do if a group of people is coming up on the sidewalk, I would say, “cross the street.” If you can avoid a fight, that is your best option - you win 100% of the fights you don’t have. We train Krav Maga for the situations you can’t avoid.
In the last week, I’ve had a number of people say to me, “I feel like the first thing I would do is run.” And every time someone tells me this, I can sense shame, the same shame that people have when they say that their natural reaction is to freeze. The same shame I felt when I first started Krav Maga.
Freezing is self-preservation. The impulse to run away immediately is self-preservation. And that is not bad. It is millions of years of our ancestors trying to help us. It just doesn’t work in every situation or every part of any situation. Turning your back on an opponent who is close enough to hit you isn’t the best option, but I’d tell you to run as soon as it was safe to do so.
But with every conversation I’ve had with people this week about their fears and their need to run, I’ve had another thought about what they’re telling me. More than self-preservation, I’ve heard this:
The impulse to run away comes from a deep-seated feeling that you cannot win. That this person who wants to hurt me has far more power than I do and I can only be hurt if I do anything besides run.
I want to tell you that is not true.
For every person who has stepped on our mat, all they’ve ever needed is a reminder of their own strength and for us to point out tools at their disposal. Krav Maga points out how our students already know how to defend themselves - based on your natural body’s reactions - we just show them combinations of things they already have.
The amount of confidence I’ve seen on our mat blows me away every time, even knowing how much confidence Krav Maga gave ME. I know that I can run away, but I’m not going to turn my back to the fight - I don’t feel like it’s my only option.
So if you’re reading this today and feeling less than strong, less than worthy, or want to run in the face of the greatest danger - you can run when the danger is done, but we want you to know that you can fight, you can defend yourself and those you love - you already have all the tools. You just need to be reminded of what they are.
And we can help you do it.
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Co-owner Lee hates Krav Maga, but it's helped her get to an important step of healing from her past trauma. Going at her own pace has made all the difference.
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.
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.