Why I took up Krav Maga

by a Carpe Diem member

People who know me wonder why I have taken up Krav Maga, I offer no reason and leave them to speculate. Of those who know that I was subjected to what the police described as ‘a frenzied knife attack’ by a man twice my size, often remark, ‘isn’t it all a bit late now?’ Possibly they are right but my main rationale for attending Carpe Diem wasn’t to learn self defence. I needed to regain a presence of mind in feeling safe again. I wanted to learn to control my agitated and at times very hostile feelings towards any man in my presence whom I did not personally know. The desire to hurt them before they hurt me was very strong and I no longer felt safe outside of my house. Even viewing violence or the anticipation of anything aggressive on the TV would stir up these anxieties and feelings of insecurity.

I assumed these emotions would decrease with time but it wasn’t to be. I am a great believer in facing up to fears and I needed to confront my fear of violence, but how? Soon after the attack my grown up sons suggested I take up Krav Maga which I instantly dismissed. I think I watched the wrong type of videos on YouTube. Five months later it occurred to me that Krav Maga is exactly what I needed.

I enrolled at Carpe Diem for a taster session and turned up one evening up with a feeling of dread. To say I was totally out of my comfort zone was an understatement. I forced myself to enter the activity room, an enclosed space, where there were men who I didn’t know. I was instantly on high alert and feeling vulnerable.

However, five months on and I am reaping the rewards of the weekly sessions. Training in a safe environment and by engaging in close combat situations with groups of men has helped to reduce my anxieties. During the training I have learnt to trust that they will not hurt me and intend no real harm. Everyone is very encouraging and no one has made me feel stupid. There is no expectation or pressure to participate in anything I am not comfortable with…. but then the training knives came out of the bag.

I knew the knives would come into practice at some stage but wasn’t expecting (or hoping) they would appear so soon into my Krav Maga experience. Practicing with them was a challenge I preferred to overcome and I believe that this was only possible because I was in safe territory.

After the experience of such an attack, the desire to ‘feel safe’ again is paramount. I believe progress towards this has been possible because of Krav Maga and all the fantastic people I train with at Carpe Diem. Some of the training brings out my competitive spirit and helps to sharpen my reactions and some of it is fun. I am not completely in my comfort zone just yet but I am beginning to enjoy training with the others and do look forward to the sessions. The benefits beyond the classes are noticeable in that my self-confidence is slowly returning and I am becoming more self-assured. I definitely feel more in control of my thought processes towards some concerns and I no longer perceive all men as a threat.

Since attending Carpe Diem my distorted perception of Krav Maga has been enlightened to a more realistic view with a greater understanding of the ideology behind it. …..And yes, I am grateful to everyone at Carpe Diem.