For week 5 of my 52 Things I took a Krav Maga class at Bullman’s Kickboxing & Krav Maga. Krav Maga (which is not the same as foie gras, as a friend inquired) is a close-contact martial art used by the Israeli Defense Forces. In other words, it is Israeli street fighting … and it is no joke.

The class started with a boot camp style warmup which was a type of torture that even Vlad the Impaler could not have come up with. It included something called a bear crawl which was awkwardly running from one side of the room to the other on your hands and feet. This is when my giggle fits began. Even though I was pushing myself physically I found the entire process hilarious. It wasn’t painful at the time, but definitely impeded my ability to walk for a few days.

The instructor started with teaching us the 360 defense. It is called the 360 defense because there are 7 arm positions (on each side) which rotate to guard different areas of the body against attack.


Once we practiced the positions we moved on to knife-blocking drills. We lined up in 3 rows of 5 people each. One person was the attacker while the other 4 circled though practicing blocking the attacks.

This is when my giggle fits worsened. I couldn’t help it. I’m quite small, about 5 feet tall and I’ve never broken 100 pounds in my life. Several of the “attackers” were a foot taller than me and twice my weight. When it was my turn to be the attacker … that’s ok, I’ll wait while you get the mental image of me coming at you with a knife … I could tell that the guys were hesitant to come at me full strength. I kept repeating “come on, you won’t break me” until they finally got the hint and starting hitting me with a decent amount of force. Of course, between the blocking and stabbing I had a fair amount of bruises on my arms for the next few days.

We finished with some foot work drills which they called “the zombie walk.” The person who was “it” was in the center and attacked by the zombies one by one until he or she was “killed.” The zombies were the other class participants coming at the person in the center with their arms extended, walking like a zombie. The zombies’ job was to grab “it’s” neck to kill them, and “it’s” job was to defend themselves by batting the zombies away. You know, to prepare us for the zombie apocalypse. When it was my turn to be “it”  my main tactic was to run away as quickly as possible while batting away the zombies. This lead to be being called “squirrelly” which I chose to take as a compliment.

Over all, it was an amazing experience. It felt absolutely empowering and was a ton of fun at the same time. I found that I am slightly better at Krav Maga than I am belly dancing, but that isn’t saying much. I still have no idea what I am doing, but I do feel that I am slightly less likely to die if someone comes at me with a knife in a dark alley. I work out pretty regularly, though I was still unbelievably sore afterwards. It took 3 days, a session of hot yoga, and an epsom salts bath to feel normal again. As one person suggested, I may have intimidated my muscles into submission.

PS: A big welcome to my new readers from Canada, Australia, Thailand, Germany, Japan, India, Ireland, Spain, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom. And a big thank you to my friend JG of the Stuff Jewish Girls Like blog for sending them in my direction.