As you may recall, several months ago a woman was attacked in the parking lot at my work. In response, we asked three police officers to give a talk about self defense.
It was an hour of vague warnings to have your keys out when you walk to your car, to be aware of your surroundings, and to use common sense.
They opened it up for questions. One woman asked if there was a martial art she should take to learn self-defense. The officers hesitated. They spoke vaguely about goals and what you can afford. “There are lots of martial arts out there,” they said.
Five minutes later, someone asked the question again in a slightly different way.
This is what we want to know, I could hear them ask.
One officer said he did boxing. They mentioned half a dozen martial arts in passing, but it was vague. Unsatisfying. I felt restless.
I raised my hand.
“I’m not a police officer, but I do Krav Maga and I love it. It’s a self-defense system created specifically to teach you how to defend yourself. It’s very hands on, but it’s amazing. As a bonus, I’m in the best shape of my life. I’d gladly go with any of you.”
I looked back up at the officers.
“Yeah, do what she does,” one said.
Someone asked the officers what to do if someone choked you. “How do you get out of that?” The officers hemmed and hawed. “… so many scenarios and circumstances,” they said.
“Yep, we cover that,” I said loudly. “I’ve done that defense a million times.”
After the session, several people from my HR department approached. “You do Krav Maga? Do you think your gym would want to do a weekly training here?”
My jaw almost hit the ground. “Yes! Yes, I think so.” I went back to my desk and immediately emailed the lead instructor.
Three weeks later, three of my instructors and I were doing a demo of Krav Maga for my co-workers. The night before, I dreamed about Krav. I couldn’t eat breakfast. My stomach churned in anticipation.
Please don’t screw up. Please don’t screw up, I thought. It’s one thing to train in Krav Maga. It’s another to do Krav Maga while people watch.
The room filled. Approximately 50 people arrived during their lunch hour and countless others watched over the company live-stream.
Jessica, one of the gym owners, filmed and produced this short video with clips from the demo:
The reaction has been extraordinary. Women have stopped me in the elevator, in the bathroom, in the hallways.
“That was so cool!”
“It looked intense!”
One woman told me she thought the presentation was awesome, but for her it became real after Matt choked me. When I finished defending she saw my throat was red. It snapped everything into perspective.
This is real. This is something I need to learn.
This is one of the most remarkable things I’ve done in 2015 (second only to getting married). In one short hour, I was able to expose 50+ people to Krav Maga. They were able to see three higher level instructors and a non-expert (me!) get attacked and pull off the defenses. I was able to tell people my story, why I love it. Why I think every one should learn self defense.
It was a powerful, exhausting week and I’m delighted that I might have exposed so many people to something that could save their lives.