Friday, November 16, 2018

Miscellany: Krav Maga class journal, session 1

I was getting really out of shape, so I'm taking a local beginner's Krav Maga class. I'll post updates here, mostly for myself but also to give people an idea of what you might expect if you sign up for one of these things.

The first class at Hwang's Martial Arts was free, as is the case with most of these courses. There was one other new student. The total size of the class was somewhere around 10 people, mostly women in their late teens or twenties. We train in a small gym inside a strip mall - I imagine there are thousands of places across the country like this.

We warmed up first by jogging and sidestepping around the room for a few minutes. Every class begins with a warmup - I wonder if they change it up from class to class.

The head instructor, Kristina Hwang, takes me and the new guy aside and gives us some basic instruction on stance, keeping your hands up, breathing, and punching. She advocates a wider stance than you might expect (the first time I throw a punch, she pushes me off-balance from the side to demonstrate the dangers of a narrow stance). She is an unassuming lady, but she hits like a Mack truck and obviously has a lot of martial arts experience (apparently Taekwondo):

We break out a tombstone pad to practice strikes with each other. I'm as frail as a kitten compared to the other newbie (really nice fellow - he goes to the gym several days a week). My jab-straight combinations biff the pad weakly, and I have trouble generating power by turning my hips and pivoting on my rear foot. Each punch is punctuated by a brief exhale - I can get up to about four in combination without having to breathe again.

Kristina shows us a couple more techniques - hammer fists, straight kicks - and then the whole class watches the other instructor, Matt, demonstrate a basic ground fighting technique against someone who is mounting and choking you. You trap one of his feet with your foot, snatch and grab the guy's wrists with your hands, buck your hips up and roll him around on the trapped side, and then follow up ASAP. If you don't execute the technique correctly, the opponent can easily re-establish his weight and prevent you from bucking him off. We pair off to practice it.

The class ends and Kristina and I talk turkey. The expectation is 2 classes per week, every week, for 6 months. It's not terribly expensive, considering the location, and I'll try anything once, so I sign up.


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