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Krav Maga

ben0207ben0207 Registered User regular
edited February 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Hello

In a slightly out-of-character desire to improve my fitness, I've signed up for a three hour Krav Maga class here. Now, this seemed like a good idea at the time, but it's next week and I'm a bit nervous. A few questions:
  • I'm not exactly at the height of fitness - 60+ hour weeks and a vodka problem mean I'm not fat per se, but I could do with with shedding a bit of softness. Is this a good way to do it? Am I going to have problems due to fitness at all?

    I wear glasses, and I'm basically blind without them. Now, I'm not going to be wearing my normal super expensive ones, but will they be an obstacle at all? Would contacts be better?

    Fitness aside, is this a reasonable self-defence thing? I live in a pretty safe bit of London, so I guess the worst that can happen is a couple of chavs taking a fancy to my wallet. Will KM make me slightly less likely to end up dead or would I still be better running away?

    What the hell should I wear? Was thinking just running shoes, tracky bottoms and a loose t-shirt. Is this alright? Wht do they mean by "protective gear"

Any help would be just smashing.

ben0207 on

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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited February 2011
    I don't know about Krav Maga specifically, but the very little self defense/martial arts training I have tells me that running is ALWAYS better, and that fighting is for when you can't do that. The best way not to get hurt in a fight is to keep yourself out of it.

    For any exercise-type thing, I prefer contacts if I have access to them just because my glasses moving around on my face are an extra thing to pay attention to.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    EWomEWom Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I know nothing about the topic, but your question of protective gear, my immediate thought was mouthguard and cup.

    EWom on
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    ben0207ben0207 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Yeah just so I'm clear, I don't want to learn to be Batman. It just seemed like an exercise routine that vaguely fits my schedule and suits my personality (practical and to the point)

    Going to go without gear and see what they say. My guess is mouthguard and cup too.

    ben0207 on
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited February 2011
    My karate classes required a mouthguard and.. well, I never asked if they required a cup because it wasn't exactly relevant to my interests. It's probably a good idea, though.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I have a friend who did krav maga for several years. From what I understand, crotch shots are a large part of the style. A cup probably isn't a bad idea.

    oldsak on
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    Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    edited February 2011
    ben0207 wrote: »
    Will KM make me slightly less likely to end up dead or would I still be better running away?

    (Disclaimer: I've never taken KM or any other martial art, so maybe these issues are taken into account in classes, I don't know.)

    Well, legally, (and realistically, practically) you're almost always better off running away if you can manage it. Coming to blows, or using excessive force, when you can reasonably avoid it can land you in jail, even in a self-defense situation.

    I'm assuming civilian KM classes tone down some things for teaching self-defense, but in any case it's worth remembering that KM was designed as a military martial art, and a soldier in a warzone is a lot less likely to get his ass sued/prosecuted if he breaks a couple bones of the suicide bomber he's trying to take down, than some guy who lives in a safe area of London permanently crippling a 17 year old wannabe gangbanger armed with a box cutter.

    From what I've heard KM will give you a hell of a workout, and if you're forced to fight you're almost certainly better off being in decent shape, and having some kind of martial arts experience won't hurt, if just to be able to dodge/take punches. What I would say, though, is that if self-defense is a big reason in your decision to take up KM, you should make sure that what you're being taught is both practical and can be applied legally in a civilian self-defense context (a policeman or a lawyer may be better informed than a martial arts instructor on these matters).

    If self-defense isn't such a big concern (like you said, you don't want to be Batman and you live in a safe neighborhood), this may not be something to worry about, and there are plenty of people that get a lot out of ridiculously impractical martial arts involving swords and shit- so if it's something that appeals to you, go ahead and do it.

    EDIT: Also, to the other questions: call up the school and ask them? They wouldn't stay in business for long if they expected every beginner to be an expert on what's required before they even started their first class.

    Angel_of_Bacon on
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    RaekreuRaekreu Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    ben0207 wrote: »
    Yeah just so I'm clear, I don't want to learn to be Batman. It just seemed like an exercise routine that vaguely fits my schedule and suits my personality (practical and to the point)

    Going to go without gear and see what they say. My guess is mouthguard and cup too.


    The main piece of defensive gear that they will want you to have is a pair of gloves, either boxing or MMA style. Personal experience tells me that if you punch without gloves, you will eventually tear the skin right off of your knuckles and bleed all over the equipment that everyone has to share.

    Raekreu on
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    SneakertSneakert Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I've done krav maga for a month some time ago, and I signed up again last week.
    Krav maga is really good to get fit and actually, learning to see threats correctly and running away/diffusing a hostile situation is a large part of krav maga. (well, it is where i learn it).
    Probably wanna buy a cup and a mouthguard, but gloves are not neccesary.


    edit: When we practice our self defence moves we always have to end it with looking around us (for potential other threats) and run away. If we forget to do this and the instructor is behind you (and he will be behind you) he'll kick/punch/choke you.

    Sneakert on
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    HyperAquaBlastHyperAquaBlast Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    From what I know of KM is that it deals with quick and heavy incapacitating attacks in very venerable areas. So crotch, eyes, nose and throat.

    I looked into it when I was interested in doing a MA just because its the one that made sense. Cause if I am attacked by someone I would want to disable them quickly and then run away with out worrying much about being pursued.

    HyperAquaBlast on
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    RookRook Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    With the glasses, go out running in them and see how comfortable you feel, if you're constantly adjusting them because they're slipping then you'll probably want something else.

    With regards to the protective equipment, my main though was it's an introductory session, so the chances that you'll need anything is practically zero. However, following through the links

    http://www.kravmagalondon.co.uk/faq.htm

    What do I need to start?
    Loose fitting clothing, i.e. T-shirt, jogging bottoms, trainers, sweat-top.
    For safety please remove jewellery
    Although not compulsory, the following equipment is highly recommended:

    Groin protection (A must have item for both Men & Women)
    Bag Mitts/Grappling gloves
    Forearm protectors
    Shin protectors
    Workout towel
    Water

    Again, as it's a beginner session I'd probably only really recommend the towel and water.

    Rook on
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    EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    For the first class, they're not going to let you get hit in the crotch if you're not wearing a cup. They're not going to hit you in the face if you're wearing your normal glasses. And they're not going to whack you in the jaw if you don't have a mouthguard. These are things you can figure out once you're in the class, although you will probably be picking them up at some point. It might be worthwhile to see if you like the class and krav maga in general before you spend a ton of money on new equipment.

    I know someone who was really into krav maga, and she had to give it up because she ended up spraining something and the idea behind krav maga is that you continue to push yourself "until you're dead" (is what she said), so even though she had sprained something in her shoulder she kept attending classes and trying to work through it. It turned into a more serious injury and when she stopped doing KM, the pain gradually subsided -- but it's something she can't do anymore. So if you do get into it, speak with your doctor/physician if you develop any pain or if things don't seem to be getting better after a painful session.

    EggyToast on
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    GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I was training to become a Krav Maga instructor for ten months last year. I had to stop due to finances, but I will say that it's a very practical combat skill. No useless bullshit to memorize, just what you need to get in and get out.

    Walking is always the better alternative, but if you're stuck in a position of no way out, hit hard and fast, then look for the nearest exit and bail. It's also a very dangerous thing to practice. Most maneuvers are developed to bring down an opponent as quickly as possible, so we focus on a lot of potentially lethal target areas.

    I was physically training on the side to improve my performance. It helped me understand the importance of targeting specific muscle groups with certain exercises, rather than mindlessly lifting weights like most gym patrons would. It's a helpful motivator, but again it's not necessary to have a great phyisique in order to excel at this thing. One of my instructors was a veteran in the Israeli army who regularly sparred against a 300 pound professional bodybuilder, and always came out on top. This instructor is also only 130 pounds and 5 foot 7.

    So a strong body will definitely help, but it's not required.

    Godfather on
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    TalonrazorTalonrazor Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Hey, I have taken some Krav Maga classes.

    I also am a belt away from getting my black belt in Shotokan and have done some Brazillian Jui-Jitsu in addition to the Army Combatitives Program. The job I have is at a correctional center inebration center, I get into fights and have to take down clients every single day. I work closely with police and correctional officers. Almost all of our guys train in some form of martial arts, so I can tell you what works and what doesn't. (As an example, in the middle of writing this post I had a runner from our station and I and my staff had to tackle and subdue him. God, I love this job)

    It is good to know some kind of self-defense, indeed I would say it is a required skill of every person. You should always be able to rely on yourself for defense. I am not saying when it is necessary to use it or flee or whatever. I think that is for you to figure out.

    As for Krav Maga, it is probably one of the most effective and brutal "defense" programs. I really enjoyed the few classes I took because it focuses only on defense, nothing else. Anything that is not defense oriented is chucked out. All Israeli police and military personnel are instructed in the system and here in the US, a lot of law enforcement officers take Krav Maga. It is a hard workout and you will be sweating. Usually, instructors will have you perform to your fitness level. I like the Krav Maga style of training, they have you fight non-stop usually at the end of the lesson for endurance training.

    In the world of MMA, they mostly use Brazillian Jui-Jitsu mixed with stuff like Muay Thai, boxing, etc. The Army Combatitives Program is based off of BJJ as well. You have to understand that most fights end up on the ground and BJJ will teach you unlike any other style to dominate on ground fighting.

    That is my take on it, anyways. If you have anymore questions, I will be glad to help!

    Talonrazor on
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    finralfinral Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I practiced martial arts for quite awhile, and I definitely second the need for a mouthguard and a cup. I found it to be a great way to stay in shape, particularly because I have no drive to stick to my own exercise program, and the class structure really kept me focussed and attending regularly.

    I was wearing glasses in a class when my sparring partner accidentally hit my glasses and sent them flying. Bent the frame and scratched my nose pretty badly as they came off, so if you can wear contacts, I would definitely recommend it.

    On a final note, I agree with talonrazor that it is a good idea for everyone to know some self defense. While removing yourself from the situation is always a better and safer option, you may not always be able to do so. Taking a martial art class is a blast, enjoy yourself!

    finral on
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    DaemonionDaemonion Mountain Man USARegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I've taken Krav Maga on and off for over five years, in different cities with close to a dozen different instructors.

    A few quick things:

    - The class changes IMMENSELY based on the teacher and their style. Like, hugely. Some teachers incorporate more of a fitness element, some more of a KILL! KILL! KILL! element, etc. Try to attend classes with different teachers.
    - You should always wear a cup in KM, no excuses.
    - The techniques are extremely practical, but the supercharged testosterone/macho attitude turns a lot of people off quickly (but you may get a teacher who isn't into swearing and talking about killing all the time).

    One of the biggest mantras of Krav Maga is to expect and train in the worst conditions possible. The easiest condition to create is that of exhaustion, and that is what you will (depending on the teacher) experience - being asked to participate at maximum effort when you are most tired.

    You should get their schedule and only attend their beginner classes, but stay and watch the advanced classes. You will still learn lots. Try to get a feel for the teachers, and if you don't like one's particular style, whatever. I also can't recommend enough checking out at least one other school to compare. You can also ask if they are a contact/no contact school. I recommend contact, as I don't see the point in training for self defense without getting accustomed to throwing and taking punches (with pads when applicable, of course).

    In the end, try your hardest, ask questions, and have fun. Krav can get you in excellent physical and mental shape and, in my opinion, prepare you for self defense faster than anything else. Oh, and just wear comfortable stuff. I wear my hiking pants, running shoes and a t-shirt. Bring water.

    Daemonion on
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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    They won't beat you up too badly on the first day (and if they do, get the fuck out and find another instructor.) I would bring a cheapo mouthguard because they might require that, but otherwise I'm sure you're good without gear.

    Protective gear eventually means a mouthguard, a cup (good, fitted ones, not the crap on the shelf at a sporting goods store that I just suggested you bring to the first day) and probably eventually pads depending on how intense you get with it. I wouldn't worry about pads on day one at all; they'll tell you what you need if you are still interested.

    I am someone who's practiced a few martial arts seriously (although no KM), and while I'm a big advocate of them from a fitness, competitive and lifestyle choice standpoint, you should divest yourself right now of the idea that as a nonprofessional practitioner, you're going to get a competent self-defense experience out of a couple times a week class. The best thing KM will do for you in terms of safety is acclimate and prepare you for the experience of getting hit.

    In an actual, no-shit-real-life assault, your attackers will

    1) be bigger than you
    2) outnumber you
    3) have weapons
    4) hit you from behind or otherwise by surprise

    Or all of the above, and you probably will not immediately know how many there are or if they are armed. Even the professionally trained (and equipped) folks are in deep shit in that situation. Run.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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    ben0207ben0207 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Guys, you're amazing. I'm going to drop them an email about the glasses because I'm not 100%, but otherwise I think I'm all set to go and get the shit kicked out of me for three hours in a dismal gym off Tottenham Court Road.

    ben0207 on
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    DaemonionDaemonion Mountain Man USARegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Let us know how it goes, have fun!

    Daemonion on
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