It still feels like I’m struggling to get back into an exercise routine after the sloth of the holidays. So even though I felt a post-hockey-tournament cold coming on, I dragged myself out to a Saturday morning soccer practice a couple of weekends ago. (Well, the practice started at 12:30 p.m., but I still keep saying “Saturday morning”—such is the nature of my Saturdays.)
Anyway, the coach and a couple gals on the team had invited a trainer to take us through some fitness drills—quick-feet tippy-toes dancing over the nylon “ladder,” sprints, and various games of tag and capture the flag designed to make your competitiveness overcome your lack of lungpower.
At the end of all this, the trainer guy, John Brockhoff, shilled a bit for his fitness biz. Turns out, in addition to fitness training, he teaches a bunch of self-defense courses, including a seven-week women’s-only class as well as the Israeli hand-to-hand “krav maga” technique, which he teaches to private citizens as well as the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
Well, kudos to his sales pitch. He emphasized the mental aspects of self-defense, especially when it comes to women fighting against domination-minded predators. He also gave no points for pretty little self-defense gimmicks that might make you feel better but wouldn’t do any good whatsoever against an aggressive, real-world attacker. And to send his point home, the 5’5”, 160-pound Brockhoff demonstrated an attack on one of our teammates (and a student of his), wherein he snatched her up in a moment, hand firmly over her mouth, and dragged her about 20 feet away in five seconds. She never made a sound.
Dude, I wanna throw elbows. Sign me up.
So, after I recovered from the sinus infection that may or may not have come from going to soccer practice with a head cold, CCB and I headed over for a Tuesday-night krav maga class in Palmetto.
It's not unlike boxing, with a room full of people performing coordinated combat moves with such vigor that you break a sweat one minute into the warm-up. There are just a lot more moves to learn with krav, and all those moves require technique with a reason: If you’re own the ground, fight your way to your feet quick and get ready to kick; crank that elbow all the way around as though you’re trying to knock someone’s jaw off; don’t punch to the throat, punch through the throat. There’s a lot of encouragement, but nothing half-assed will fly.
In short: Fight as though your life depends on it, because some day it might.