In my ever-expanding quest to find a great workout, I stumbled upon Krav Maga (KM). No matter what level athlete you are–or aren’t–KM is an excellent way to get in shape. Plus, not only do you get a great workout, but you also learn very practical self-defense techniques as well.
In Bratislava, during the 1930’s, there was high anti-Semitic activity. Imi Lichtenfeld developed this self defense “style” to help the Jewish peoples protect themselves against violent outbursts. After spending some time refining his method, Krav Maga was born. Since that time, it has become the official self defense system for the Israeli Defense Forces. U.S. Special Ops, the L.A.P.D., and the F.B.I. have incorporated it as well.
I had known about KM for quite some time, but never had the chance to actually try it out. A friend told me about a gym in South Austin called Fit and Fearless that offered it, so, after signing up on their website, I attended one of their free Saturday morning introductory classes.
After the warm up, I knew I was in for an intense hour. We moved on to establishing the correct fighting stance and we did some shadow boxing. After a few minutes of shadow boxing, our instructor, Wayne Miller, asked us to pair up and pick up a punching mat. Miller proceeds to put us through the paces rather quickly, showing us the correct form to take when punching, how to hold the mat, and explaining the drill we’re about to perform. We go through a rapid succession of drills in what seems to be a long time, but, in reality, it’s only been a few minutes. During the drills, Wayne, along with another instructor, would walk around and correct us if we needed it. This type of hands-on teaching is difficult to come by, especially since it’s a group class, and it was very much appreciated and welcomed.
The last drill of the class was probably the most fun, most taxing, and the hardest. Miller had us grab a punching pad, which we were instructed to mount (straddle it between our legs on the floor), and then, for the last minute of class, he asked us to punch the mat as hard as possible. Full strength for every punch for 60 seconds is not easy. I was exhausted when I got out of that class, but I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
Fit and Fearless is officially licensed by Krav Maga Worldwide and has been around for eight years. It is located at 3601 South Congress Bldg., I-100, alongside Alpine Rd. What sets this gym/school apart from others is the fact that they have the most highest-ranking instructors of any other Krav Maga school in Austin. Classes are offered morning, afternoon, and evening, six days a week.
This reality-based training is meant for people of all ages and activity levels. It’s simple, instinctive-based, and meant to be picked up in a very short period of time.
Fit and Fearless also does a lot of amazing work with SafePlace, a non-profit organization aimed at helping victims of sexual and domestic violence. They have plenty of rape and assault survivors who have come to them and said they wished they had taken KM before the attack. They’ve helped people move on from barely even being able to look a man in the eye to kicking some serious butt during the simulated attacks. Fit and Fearless holds women’s self defense seminars a few times every year and donates the money to Safe Place and breast cancer research.
If you would like more information, go to www.fitandfearless.com and/or call 512.441.KRAV to make an appointment.
Please consult a physician before starting an exercise program.
As always, if you would like me to cover a specific topic, please feel free to email me at rgonzalez(at)theaustintimes(dot)com.Words and photos by Román González