Freedom. Confidence. Independence. Control.

by a Carpe Diem member

Everyone has their reasons for coming to Krav, this is my story.

I had a pretty messed up childhood, things were wrong in my family from early on. By 11 I was regularly missing school, lying in bed for days at a time, not eating and refusing to see anyone or do anything. My parents, teachers and doctors didn’t know what to do with me. So they gave me anti depressants and hoped for the best – these days it’s not so unusual, but back then it wasn’t managed well. By the time I was 14 I’d dropped out of school completely, having missed most of the previous two years. Family difficulties continued throughout my teens, in my 20s my father went away, things eventually changed and I had some better times.

I finally met a wonderful man and settled down, we got married and had two amazing children. 

As a young child I’d been happy and bubbly and lively; as a teenager I was numb and living in a bubble; as an adult I had become neurotic, anxious, scared of everything. It’s hard to stop worrying that something bad is about to happen when so much already has. Crowded places were difficult to be in, loud noises and bright lights made me tense and unable to think straight. I couldn’t stand to be around arguments, raised voices or even being driven fast in a car. My confidence was at an all time low and post natal depression didn’t help matters.

Then I found Krav Maga. The short reason I give when people ask me why I took it up, is that after being tied to young babies for years I wanted to do something for myself. I thought about going swimming in the evenings once my husband was home from work, but I didn’t like the idea of having to park in the dark leisure centre car park at night. And I remember thinking that was ridiculous and that I needed to do something to feel safer, so I looked up martial arts and came across Krav. I read that it was more effective than most martial arts, more useful in real life. So that’s what I chose. I knew before I went to my first class that it would be the perfect fit for me, and it was. 

Above all, I wanted to do something that made a difference. I didn’t want to be scared anymore. I wanted to be stronger, physically and mentally.

Krav made me feel in control for the first time in a long while. It gave me a space to just be me – not a wife, not a mother, not someone’s daughter, just me. Every week I felt my confidence growing. Over time I realised I was enjoying different things – I could enjoy being out in a crowded place listening to loud music without my anxiety levels going through the roof! Somehow, learning to control my own aggression, finding a place and a way to express difficult feelings by hitting and kicking the shit out of people was making me a happier, healthier and saner person. 

It’s not always been easy. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been finding things difficult and just wanted to put the kids to bed and curl up in a ball and pretend the outside world didn’t exist, but instead I put on my fighting trousers and went to Krav. Ongoing health difficulties have caused problems too – at one point my physio told me I should give up Krav. I told her I couldn’t. So we worked hard to find a way to manage my dodgy joints and in the end she was happy for me to carry on. I still get days when I’m in a lot of pain, but now I know how to adjust what I’m doing so I don’t (usually) make things worse. Finances have been stretched to breaking point while I haven’t been working, but my husband and I know just how important Krav is so we’ve always made it work somehow. And now I’m back in work, thanks to Krav and my increased confidence and ability to take a risk and try something new. Juggling work and kids and marriage and injuries and the demons in my head to get there every week, to put in the extra hours and effort for gradings can be exhausting, but it’s more worth it than I can express in words.  

So here I am three years on, and I can’t imagine what life would be like without Krav now. 

What does Krav Maga mean to me? 

Freedom. Confidence. Independence. Control. 

And it also means a lot of fun, some great friends and a huge sense of pride and achievement. 

I’m proud of how hard I’ve worked and how far I’ve come.