Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Thinking like a true Krav girl...

One hopes that they never have to be faced with a frightening or dangerous situation, but in the event they are, mindset is imperative.  Being that I live in the burbs, I don't worry too much because I practice safety most of the time and don't do dumb things.  BUT.  Just the other day, I found myself in a parking lot standing in front of a menacing man who was mad at me.  I did something (not on purpose) that pissed him off and he was hot off the griddle at me!  I tried to apologize but he wasn't having it.  After a sincere apology in a submissive tone and an offer to rectify the situation, I figured I had done my part and stood my ground.  Nothing else I could do.  He kept walking toward me in an intimidating way, in broad daylight I might add, and my brain went into Krav Maga mode.  He was huge - at least a foot taller than me and very muscular.  I was no match for him.  My eyes scanned the area quickly - cars all around - no where to run - no people to yell at for help.  My heart started beating very fast and I took a big breath in, then out, then reached for my mace, got into fight-stance and prepared myself for a kick to his groin (he was wide open) and then a quick getaway.  He must of seen me reach for something in my purse because he stopped abruptly, then threw his hands up in defeat and walked away.  Whew!  I'm so glad it didn't go there...because whether or not my plan would have worked, he would have had some surprises in store for him from this little suburban girl, I'm sure of it!  So, you just never know.  I stayed calm, I reached for courage and tried to use my brain and my training.  Disaster averted!  Yipeee!  Back to Krav tomorrow, I still have much to learn and even more motivation to do it now!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Killin' it with Kelly Campbell

So a few weeks ago I took a 3 hour seminar with a top female Krav Maga instructor named Kelly Campbell through Krav Maga OC.  WOW!  First of all, I have never been to any kind of martial arts or fitness seminar, so I had NO idea what to expect.  I thought it would be more watching with some participation.  WRONG.  From the minute we got there, until the minute we left, we were working!  Myownself was SPENT, I tell ya!  I went through 7 bottles of water and 2 towels.  Ooof.  Not used to that!  But I learned some great stuff!  My neck was sore from practicing choke escapes, my knuckles hurt from pounding on everything, my makeup was stinging my eyes and I think I could have devoured an entire cow after I got home.  I've read about students testing for 6 to 8 hours when going for a new belt and that just seems impossible to me.  I know that some day some day, I will be ready for that, but right now I might as well take a test on how well I fly like Superman because success would be equally as likely.

There was also a great turnout!  A ton of enthusiastic students and a lot of talent in the room.  I tried to fit in the best I could as an out of shape beginner. I did see a couple of guys laughing at me trying to straddle a pad and punch it with my fists, but you know, I was laughing too because it was truly a sight to see.  Need to work on that one, I have short legs.  But for the most part, it was fun and totally worth my time.  I saw a lot of familiar faces and met some new ones, too.  I've made some friends already in Krav and that has turned out to be one of the many perks of starting this new adventure.  I leave you a picture of the event:  I am in the lower right front with the blond(ish) ponytail.  Yeah, it looks like I'm eating a sandwich.  Apparently I need to work on my boxing stance, too.  LOL.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Screw Discouragement!!!

Krav is hard for me.  I have a hard time keeping up.  In class last night I was winded just during the warm up of running around the room.  I looked around and no one else was struggling as hard as me (at least that I could tell).  I had to stop and rest a lot.  When the instructor asked "Did everyone get that?" I had to yell out "NO!" like the slow kid in class.  One of the drills was to have a dog pile of people hold you down on the ground while you try to get up and out of it.  I can barely get off the ground with NO ONE on top of me!  I sweat like a pig and my makeup runs all down my face.  When I go home, everything is sore.  I'm limping around my kitchen this morning because my muscles are rebelling against me!  My body is screaming "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?".  It's pathetic.  But is it?

It is easy to get discouraged when something doesn't come naturally to me; when I have to work twice as hard as everyone else just to do the basics.  BUT I'M DOING IT.  I'm trying.  Sometimes I want to lay on the ground and laugh, and other times I want to cry.  But this is the way life is!  I remember my first day at a 'real' job.  They sat me in front of a computer and gave me a pile of work to do.  I barely knew how to turn the computer ON.  I panicked!  I was in WAY over my head.  What did I do?  I got under my desk and called someone for help whispering on the phone while asking questions.  I read some manuals.  I watched other people.  I secretly took my work home at night so I could take my time to try and figure things out.  I was with that company for 10 years and by the time I left I was the one everyone was coming to for help.  I became the teacher instead of the student.  It took awhile.  I was also a cop for a brief time in my life, and when I was in the police academy, the other students (mostly men) rolled their eyes at the 5'4" 21-year-old blonde girl.  They figured the only reason I was accepted was because of affirmative action.  That was probably partly true, but I wasn't given any free rides once I was there that's for sure - I had to do the same things as everyone else!  And I graduated!  I remember taking the driving test, (which was hellacious, high-speed and extremely stressful) and when I finished I looked over at my instructor and said "Did I fail?".  He laughed and said "Fail?!? You got 100%!!" I almost fell out of the car.  No one else got a 100% that day; only me.  I couldn't believe it! When it was announced, some men congratulated me, and some men huffed, shook their heads and walked away pissed off.  It was a good day.  :-)

So Krav is just like all those other times in my life.  I'm gonna have to work at it.  It's not going to happen overnight. It's not going to be easy. Some people will be supportive and others won't.  I'm going to want to quit.  But I'm not going to!  That's not how I roll.  Screw discouragement!!  Hello blood, sweat and tears - GIMME ALL YOU GOT!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Krav Maga = Anger Management??

I realized tonight that I handle anger a whole lot different than I used to. Instead of 'reacting' and having a hissy fit, I found myself going dead calm, paying attention to my breathing and going inside my head for a solution. I even consulted God about it. Is this a situation I need to remove myself from? Does this aggravation deserve a retort? and if so, what? My heart was pounding hard because it was difficult, but I decided to speak slowly and calmly, and in a low, firm voice. I definitely got my point across and although my response was noted (the person knew I was pissed) there was no yelling, and no argument. Not something I am used to. After about 10 minutes of awkward quiet, things went back to normal and it was over. WOW. It worked!
I used to be a little bit of a hot head when someone did something to upset me.  I didn't start fights, but I certainly finished them.  This situation is of course a whole lot different than one of my earlier posts where I talked about finding the inner destroyer - this wasn't an attack, it was just simply a irritating conversation I had with a loved one.  However, I really believe training in disciplines such as Krav Maga, boxing, kickboxing or any MMA - that it teaches you SELF CONTROL.  I was so much more aware of my surroundings, my physiology (breathing, heartbeat, etc.) and I was able to control the outcome much, much better.  It's true that if it is a dire situation, a much more aggressive approach is necessary and I would need to harness that negative energy differently, but if you think about it, having self control there is critical too - moving your body purposefully and with a level of control can be the difference between life and death.  Instead of just swinging blindly and kicking and screaming, you need to be able to identify weak spots quickly and take advantage.
The likelihood of me having to defend myself in a life threatening situation are hopefully low, but I AM faced with domestic challenges on a regular basis.  I love the fact that I can use my pent up energy in a positive way learning Krav Maga (come on, you know hitting kicking things in class helps with all that frustration, haha!) and walk away with a more level-headed attitude.  It totally balances me, and I am grateful.  And my friends and family are grateful, too.  ;-)

Friday, February 21, 2014

No Excuses!

Getting old has it's challenges.  It seems like after I turned 40 that no matter what I did the day before, whether it was cleaning out the garage, lifting weights, going to Krav Maga or laying on the couch all day watching TV, my body HURTS!  I've got a sore neck, sore legs, sore arms or something is aching or just not feeing quite right.  It is downright annoying!  I feel like I am constantly taking Aleve or Tylenol or something to sooth the pain.  Now it's true I suffer from a little bit of arthritis in my back due to major surgery last year and being overweight causes my body to have to work a little harder at things, but I am NOT going to let this slow me down.  I have spoken with the doctor and he is all for me getting stronger, getting leaner and pushing my body in to better shape - I just have to make sure I rest properly.  At least 8 hours of sleep, LOTS of water and ice/heat when I have a minor injury like shin splints or muscle sprains. (And I have those a LOT!)  But I'm NOT giving up!  It may take me a little longer to perfect a move or little more work than the average person to keep up in class, but dang it, I'm there!  I'm doing it!

This time last year I was 70 pounds heavier.  My heart was weaker.  My cholesterol was 100 points higher and I was suffering from a herniated disc in my lower back with a bone fragment lodged in my left sciatic nerve.  My dad passed away in 2007 at age 65 from congestive heart failure.  In 2008 both my grandparents passed away within months of each other.  In 2009 my husband of 16 years left me for a younger woman.  In 2010 I left everything behind in Seattle to start a new life in California.  In 2013 my mom passed away from lung cancer at age 66. All of this is enough to take a person down to the pits of depression and anxiety, let me you, but with the help of God and that place way deep down inside that was screaming for me to GET UP and keep going, I did it!  I OVERCAME.

It has taken an incredible amount of work, and yes, I still have a long way to go health and weight-wise, but no one said this would be easy.  Consistency is the hardest thing for me.  I have good days and bad days, for sure, and setbacks just like everyone else, but at the end of the day I can look back and see my progress and it motivates me to keep going.  I know my family would be proud of me and I know they are cheering me on every day! When I tell people about what I'm doing in Krav Maga class, I get a lot of raised eyebrows and shaking of heads. "You're crazy!" they say with a smile on their face.  But no matter what has happened in your life, no matter how unhealthy you are and no matter what obstacles you have in front of you, you CAN do it.  It CAN be done. It doesn't matter how long it takes.  It doesn't matter how many people are better at it than you or faster at it. Who cares if you get the "what are you doing here?"  look. Just don't stop.  Don't give up.  Nope, it's not easy - in fact, the only easy day was yesterday!  NO EXCUSES.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Finding that 'place' inside yourself

And NO, I don't mean your happy place or inner peace.  There is a time for that, yes, but in Krav Maga it is about finding that survival aggression, that exploding I'M-GONNA-DESTROY-YOU place because during an attack it is a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y necessary!

I stayed after class today at KMOC talking with some other students and my favorite politically correct instructor (HAHA), Doug.  (I love exploiting him!) :-)  We were discussing how Krav Maga is not your typical boxing-style training with slow self defense.  It is meant to teach the student to SURVIVE and do DAMAGE, to use everything you have inside you despite the unpredictable chaos and danger around you.  This type of training goes against everything we've been taught in society - and even at the gym!  We are taught to be polite, even-tempered and passive.  Really, we are, and this is great when you're dating or teaching your kid to drive, but if someone wants to rape you, kill you or mug you, you need to throw all that crap out the window and turn on your inner monster.  Seriously.  And we ALL have it.  Krav Maga can help you tap into it.

It doesn't show the Krav Maga moves necessarily, but it shows finding that 'place' that I'm talking about.  Here is a video clip from the movie "True Romance" that demonstrates how a small, defenseless woman CAN get the upper hand in an arrogant attack from a man. She doesn't use any hand-to-hand combat because she knows she will lose, but she uses her brain and other objects around her and never gives up. (Note: the attack is toward the end of the video clip - and click on the link not the picture) Yes, I know it is a movie, but the concept is the same, find that part of yourself that wants to survive, use your instincts for the situation and GO FOR IT.  Poor James Gandolfini really gets his ass kicked in this one...(warning: video is graphic and has language)


Empowering Women

This is a "duh", but I want to talk about it anyways.  Krav Maga EMPOWERS WOMEN.  Yes it teaches you invaluable moves of self defense, but it also gives you confidence.  Now, I already told you I was a beginner, so in reality the "moves" I've learned in just a couple of classes are good, but probably won't be truly effective until much more practice and discipline takes place.  BUT. I am doing something for MYSELF that is both positive and useful!  I am interacting with other like-minded people.  I am getting exercise.  I have something in my schedule to look forward to, and it's just for ME!  How many things on a woman's schedule are truly for her?  The women I know have everything on their schedule but THEM! There are the kids and their activities, the spouse or significant other and his needs, the grocery shopping, the full time or part time job responsibilities, the car maintenance, the housecleaning, the family obligations, etc., etc., etc.  The women I know are amazing.  They get everything done and the people in their lives are better because of them.  They are strong, they are loving and they can do anything!  Those women also need something for themselves, though, and I'm one of them.

Making time for Krav Maga can be difficult, I get it.  I have launched myself into a new career at 42, I have a large house that needs lots of work with no one to share the responsibility with, I am overweight and struggling to get my health back and most days I am JUST PLAIN TIRED.  Amazingly enough, though, once I drag myself to class and DO the work - I feel great!  You carry yourself differently, you think differently and you feel different - not because I am suddenly some martial arts master (that's funny to even type) but because I am on a journey to better myself.  I overheard a conversation the other day on how no matter what, a woman is just no match for most men in a fight.  True!  I am not even a match for some women in a fight, but you know what?  I am better prepared than I was last year, last week and even yesterday.  I don't ever expect to out-power a man or anyone stronger, bigger and tougher than myself (no matter who you are there is ALWAYS someone better), but I can certainly learn to see danger signs, learn enough to get away, or out of a dangerous situation or at the very least make him THINK I am a force to be reckoned with!  Yuri, the co-owner and chief instructor at KMOC told me when I first met him that in an attack you have 3 to 5 seconds to react.  THREE TO FIVE seconds!  I believe in that time frame that ANYONE can gain the upper hand - even the victim - whether young, old, small, large, male or female.  This is what I want to learn.  This is why I'm here.  Plus, when you DO learn some new technique or just spend an hour hitting and kicking things - you totally feel like a badass!  And what woman doesn't want to at least FEEL like a badass from time to time?  LOL - it's the little things in life that make it all worth it.  I have also found that it is healthy to laugh at yourself, like for instance when you go for a high kick and fall on your butt.  Yeah, done it.  I've also had my own boxing glove come back and hit me in the face.  Perhaps I can just walk away with the ability to not hurt MYSELF anymore?  Maybe.

OK, on that note, it is time to get ready for Krav Maga class.  See you there!