If you are thinking of self defence in general, and Krav Maga in particular, here’s an attempt to describe my experience at the club, starting as I did, knowing very little about Krav Maga.
To provide a bit of context, I’ll start with a brief summary of my own background – we may have something in common.
Like many of us, my work has been desk bound for much of my working life, but I have managed to get reasonably fit in recent years.
I am generally pretty laid back and would certainly never describe myself as a fighter – I’ve walked away from confrontation rather than be concerned about saving face, but I have always liked to think I could at least defend myself.
I originally chose to learn Aikido – one of the few purely defensive martial arts – which I did for about 15 months some 13 years ago.
I enjoyed Aikido. I liked the smooth, flowing movements (when I eventually got the hang of it) – and some of the techniques are deceptively powerful. There’s also no doubt that it is something which you can continue to practice very late in life. In fact, I went back to it briefly just before starting Krav.
But .. I think it would take a very long time to be really good at Aikido, and I was not confident that it would translate into a real life situation. One of Aikido’s basic principles is to slide your feet across the floor as you move. That’s fine in bare feet on mats … but try it wearing trainers on concrete, and the result is likely to be an undignified mess.
I had also tried a couple of Krav Maga sessions at another club – these were ok, but the training itself seemed to be lacking structure. To be fair, I didn’t go back mainly because the club was a bit too far away, but looking back on it now, I’m pretty sure that what they were teaching was not genuine Krav Maga.
So .. I was fairly fit, mostly from playing squash, and looking for something which would give me confidence in a confrontation, and a form of exercise that wasn’t as hard on the knees as squash.
Aikido just wasn’t giving me that confidence, and as I was getting awfully close to being 62 years old, I was getting too slow to run away! So I decided, with a bit of trepidation, to give Krav a go. (By the way, I should point out at this stage that I am secretly quite proud of being the oldest student in the club. So if you are older than me and decide to come along, you would still be very welcome .. but I will ask you to lie about your age!)