Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Krav Maga! Kinda sounds like the sound an Israeli rooster might make...

I am going to attempt to type this blog post now, before my hands seize up with my bruises and muscle fatigue and I can no longer use the computer. When I arrived this morning, for my Krav Maga training, the instructor, Laurent, asked me about my pain threshold. I told him my tolerance for pain was much, much higher than my tolerance for excercise. And he took that to heart. Well, the pain part, not the excercise part. The excercise was intense. And the guys (Laurent, Lorne, Mario and Alex) provided the pain. They had no problem with the idea of hurting me at all. Especially after I made fun of them a little early on. You see, the very first excercise was one where we danced around each other, attempting to slap each other on the head, or the shoulders, or the knees. We started with one guy slapping me and me slapping him, then they upped it to two guys, then three then four. Which was fairly taxing, and tough, but I'm sure that the video which comes out later today will look as though we were having a kindergarten slap fight. And I made the mistake of saying as much.

You see, Krav Maga is supposed to be this super-intense, crazy, bad-ass method of self defense. It was created (I am told) by a Jewish wrestler and judo fighter who was running a group of resistance fighters who took on the Nazis in the early thirties, before they took power and when they were just a bunch of renegade groups beating up Jews. Once the Nazis took power, he moved to Palestine and began teaching his method of self-defense to the army. This is now the prefered method of self-defense of the Israeli army, the FBI, the LAPD and dozens of other forces around the world. And I found it amusing that we would begin the same way we would in school - with slap-fighting. And I said as much. But the guys seemed to take umbrage, and stepped up the self-defense school right away. The next excercise was pushups and situps. Which is normal stuff. Only now, people were kicking me while I did the pushups, and I had to punch them while I did the situps! And THAT is pretty tough. I had discovered that punching is hard work yesterday, now I had to do it while doing other stuff! Painful. We went through more and more drills - how to defend against any possible knife attack. How to disarm a guy with a gun. All the good stuff.

And with each drill, it escalated. I would take on one guy, then two, then three. The grand finale was a three-guy knife attack on me for three full minutes. I lasted fairly well for about two and a half, then I was overcome with exhaustion and curled up in a ball in the corner for the last five seconds while three guys stabbed me with rubber knives about a thousand times. I think, after my hour and a half training session, I would feel reasonably confidant against one knife-wielding assailant. But if there are three, I'd better find a baseball bat, and quick. Or maybe just curl up in a ball and hope it ends quickly. Krav Maga is pretty hardcore, and definitely an intense workout. It's used by the military, (where they actually get to stab the guy after taking his knife), the cops (where they put him down and keep him down), and regular people (where they disarm the guy and then run like hell). Lorne (who spent time in the Israeli army) told me a story about a martial arts master who did some Krav Maga drills and was amazed at how often he got stabbed. And after just a few short weeks of training with the new system, he was able to take on and defeat ten guys at once. Then again, he was a martial arts master.

Anyway, I have certainly learned something here. And that is this: Practicing Steven Seagal moves in my living room while watching Marked For Death has not helped me become a ninja. I have no hope of defending myself based on moves studied from film. Good thing I found this out too, because I was itchin' to use them moves in my next bar fight. Now I realize that I am woefully unprepared for street combat, and I had better take some more Krav Maga classes if I want to become battle-ready. They are certainly available for beginners - would be the place to go. Oh, and for a more traditional fighting workout, is a good start. Now, I'm going to stop typing before my hands really do seize up.

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