Krav Maga instructors begin class by asking everyone to line up and bow in. This is the only ritual we observe in Krav classes. The instructor will say the Hebrew word “kida,” meaning “I request you bow,” and students will bow to start the class. The bow shows respect to the instructor and the system and is entirely voluntary.
We start with a warm up—some quick cardio work to get our muscles ready for all the punching and kicking we’re about to do.
This warm up included shoulder tag! We pair up and move around in fighting stance, trying to tag each other on the shoulder or knee.
Then we really get down to business. The instructor in a Krav Maga class always demonstrates a technique for us and then talks us through it. In this case, the instructor demonstrates straight punches while an assistant holds a pad.
First, a live demo of fast straight punches to show how they look (and how they sound, smacking hard into that pad!). Then a slow motion demo and a couple of pointers on performing the technique. We get to practice our punch technique in the mirror (“dry work”).
Then we pair up and start punching for real (“live work”).
The instructor will walk around the class giving tips and corrections to improve and build each student’s technique.
Of course, we get to do some kicks, too! Following the same process, the instructor demonstrates the kick, explains it, lets us practice dry work, and sets us to doing live work.
Instructors usually include a drill or game with each technique that helps students learn to be aggressive and practice their techniques in more-and-more realistic scenarios. In this class, the instructor put a pile of pads in the middle of the room—just enough pads for half the students.
When the instructor yells, “Go!” we scramble to get a pad, and then students who get a pad will hold it for other students to punch or kick.
We get to do a few rounds of that one, and it is awesome. Then we get some water.
Finally, in addition to the combatives (punches, kicks, knees, and elbows), instructors teach one or more self-defense techniques in each class. We will learn defenses against a variety of attacks—including punches, kicks, chokes, headlocks, bear hugs (and in the higher levels, we learn defenses against sticks,guns and knives). In this class, the instructor taught a defense against a choke from the front.
As always, the isntructor demonstrated the technique first. The attacker chokes her, and she explosively plucks his hands from her neck, kicks him in the groin, and then delivers more strikes until she feels he is no longer a threat.
We practice the motions (more dry work).
And then we pair up again and take turns defending the choke, more live work.
We end class with a fun drill designed to help us develop recognition skills—identifying which attack is coming and responding to it. These drills also help us start learning how to keep calm during the sudden shock of an attack. Half of us stand with our eyes closed while the other half roam the room and attack us with a choke from the front or by bumping us with a pad and then holding for punches or kicks. As soon as we feel the pad or a choke, we open our eyes and react.
We end by lining up to bow out of class, all of us significantly more sweaty than when we started. That is a lot to pack into an hour!