KMG without Boundaries: How Krav Maga changed my Life
When I was about 17 year sold, street gangs tried to mug me 3 times within less than a month. Thinking back I was the perfect victim, apart from the fact that I never had any valuables on me (or at all for that matter). I was so unfit that I ran out of breath just by thinking about running away. This was the reason why I joined a Krav Maga class the first time. I found Eyal’s organization: it was called IKMF at the time, what later became KMG.
Back in Hungary you need to participate a 3 hour long beginners’ workshop before joining. Surprisingly enough it was way less intimidating than my first gym session. If I think back it wasn’t at all, apart from the part when I managed to kick my partner in the groin halfway through the course. If above named partner is an experienced Muay Thai practitioner and you are very much the opposite it makes you a bit scared about a possible future payback (which obviously never happened).
(Let me just squeeze in something I learned straight away:
• Advice for beginners no.1: buy a groin protector as soon as you can. Same applies to a mouth guard. If you don’t want to do it for your own sake, do it so your partners can practice properly. If you still don’t want to do it Krav Maga might not be for you.
• Advice for beginners no.2: try to partner up with advanced guys, they are less likely to hurt you by accident.)
In this case I can honestly say that it completely changed my life.
I was blown away by the helpfulness of the more experienced class members back in Hungary. (How is it all connected to Bristol Krav Maga?! We will get there, patience is the key.) We soon became really good friends and I rarely missed a class even though the club was located on the other side of Budapest. This means at least 1.5 hours spent on public transport with classes starting at 7am every Tuesday and Thursday…which is clearly the middle of the night for every able minded individual – not if you got the kravitis, a serious illness that causes you attempting to push your boundaries every so often and hit the pad even when you think you can’t lift your arms up anymore. When you get a bit more experienced it might involve some a*s-kicking between friends in a safe and controlled environment, so you have something to talk about in the pub when you go out with your Krav buddies. Because you will: the camaraderie is amazing. (If you’re one of my students make sure that the pub day is your “cheat day”.)
When I moved abroad after about 2 years of training I was 30 kilos lighter and bulging with confidence. Learning Krav Maga improved me in so many ways: I made wiser decisions, gained lots of confidence, took control of my life and what is happening to me. Needless to say looked and felt better than ever before. And got much stronger too. I have never been mugged since 🙂
It started me on a journey which lead me where I am now: I am now an StrongFirst Girya (SFG) kettlebell instructor and I can thank that to my first entry into the world of Krav Maga. Back home the two schools (KMG and SFG) are closely connected as my mentor (I am very lucky that I can use this word) Master SFG Peter Lakatos also holds a respectful Expert Level 3 title in KMG.
My “partner in crime” Natalia with Peter Lakatos Expert 3, Master SFG
Let’s skip the few years while I was swinging kettlebells in Belfast… (Next time I will tell you the story. It involves about 5 years of training.)
Fast forward to 2013 we decided to move to Bristol: one of my selfish reasons was the fact that there’s a KMG club in town. I was excited and nervous at the same time. I thought: ‘if the atmosphere is not the same, I moved for nothing’.
There was nothing to worry about! It seems like that Krav Maga Global doesn’t know boundaries. I quickly became part of a really helpful and motivating community. I trained hard and enjoyed every minute.
What I really like about KMG is that it teaches you how to defend yourself in the most effective, easy-to-learn, principle-based system. Without principles you only have a bunch of techniques but without a system it will lead you nowhere.
Imi Lichtenfeld (the founder of KM) developed an important principle of his system in the early years which is making use of natural reactions for self defense and immediate counterattack. The techniques have evolved a lot since the `30s but the principles stayed the same – and they don’t change no matter what your situation is.
In StrongFirst, similarly we build our system on universal training principles and the different “situations” in our case are the different training tools.
At the beginning I experienced the concerns many of those feel who are contemplating about joining: am I fit enough for this? Well, if I could make it being an overweight and unfit kid, I’m sure you are not ‘unfit’ to start either. It is so easy to contact Kelly and take the leap. It might change your life as it happened to me.
I would like to use this space to say thanks to everyone at Bristol Krav Maga for being awesome. Special thanks go to our previous instructor for creating the club. (How`s the weather Stu?)
Most importantly thank you Kelly for stepping up when someone had to!
SFG Kettlebell Instructor | Primal Move Instructor | FMS Screening Specialist