Why Women Should Take Co-Ed Krav Maga Classes

I was reading a blog post the other day about the difference between self-defense programs for women versus ones for men. And I’d have to say I agree with almost everything they said. The short of it is:

1) Attacks against men and attacks against women tend to be very different. Attacks against men are usually about proving that they are stronger (and therefore better) than the other person. Attacks against women tend to be sexual in nature.

2) If you are being sexually assaulted, you will almost always be attacked in a close range. Therefore, long distance defenses are practically worthless for women. (I don’t really believe that long distance attacks are worthless, because you never know who you will be defending against.)

3) The type of an attack against a woman is going to be very different from an attack against a man. Women need to know how to fight from the ground and in close proximity to the assailant (being able to defend against bear hugs and chokes, having your hair pulled, etc).

This is what I love about Krav Maga. They teach you defenses for all sorts of situations in which you may be attacked: on the ground, in a choke, from the front, side, and back, with a gun, with a knife, in a car, on a plane…

the list goes on. In other martial arts, you have to be committed to learning the styles and forms before you get to the real meat of self-defense. Even then, you may never learn how to defend yourself against a gun or knife attack.

In Krav Maga, I continually see self-defense courses for women and I’m impressed by all the girls who take the time to go to them. My introduction into Krav Maga was through a four hour women’s self-defense seminar at a local Krav Maga gym in San Francisco. After that, I was hooked.

I saw all the ways someone could attack me and I was terrified of the billion other ways I could be attacked that we didn’t cover. So I became a member of the Krav Maga community and started going at least once a week.

As someone who has experienced both women-only and co-ed classes, I have to say being in a class with men has definitely helped my self-confidence and skill in Krav Maga.

In a women’s only class, you always pair up with other women. This is fine for awhile. Eventually, however, you should try to partner up with someone bigger and stronger than you, so you can prepare for the reality of being attacked.

With all that in mind, I encourage all women to take a women’s only self-defense Krav Maga class. But view it as an appetizer course and eventually take co-ed Krav Maga self-defense classes to really prepare yourself.

5 Ways to be a Great Krav Maga Partner

Based on my experience at Krav the other night, I thought it might be useful to describe the characteristics of a good Krav Maga partner. Here are five ways to be a good partner:

  1. Communicate. Introduce yourself. Let your partner know if you have any injuries they should be aware of. If you feel like they’re being too rough or going to fast, ask them to take it easy until you can get the hang of the defense.
  2. Technique. If you notice your partner performing a defense incorrectly, help them out. Let me put it this way: if you think they’re doing it incorrectly and really you’re the one doing it incorrectly, you suffer… By bringing any questions to the table, both parties benefit.
  3. Be unexpected. Pay attention to the way your partner moves. When you do drills (especially those where your partner closes his or her eyes), try to do things they might not expect. Yell “Hey!” when you push them with the bags. And don’t forget to work all their angles.
  4. Be strong. When you’re attacking, don’t hold back. You’re preparing your partner for the worst, so you want to give them the best training possible. I can guarantee you they would rather train hard in a controlled, safe environment than get injured out in the unpredictable world. My motto in class is “If I’m not broken or bleeding, keep going…”
  5. Support. Encourage your partner. When they’re getting tired at the end of a drill, cheer them on to keep going strong.

It’s easy to judge new people at Krav Maga. By being a good partner, I’m training them to be good future partners too.