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Self Defense for Runners: Tips and Tools to Stay Safe

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Self Defense Classes 

Runners and people from all walks of life are learning martial arts and self-defense tactics to protect themselves. Some people enroll in classes like kickboxing or martial arts as a novel way to improve fitness. But others seek tools to add to their self-protection arsenal.

Lisa Cichowlas is a Level 3 Krav Maga Instructor. She and her husband Pawel run Krav Maga Detroit. Krav Maga is a self-defense system developed for the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli security forces of the Israeli Army. The combat discipline has also become popular in the U.S. because the techniques can be used by anyone regardless of size, fitness level, or strength.

Cichowlas says that runners train at Krav Maga to expand their self-defense skill set should they face a dangerous situation. 

"You never know when a nice evening jog could turn into a fight-or-flight situation," she says. Cichowlas also adds that since the onset of COVID-19 they are seeing an increase in inquiries.

According to Cichowlas, some runners that she trains may jog with a weapon (such as a pepper spray or a tactical key chain) for self-defense purposes. But she says that if you are ever faced with fighting for your life, you want to have options available so you can get home. 

"No matter what weapon or gadget you might have, the foundation must be the mindset," she says. "That’s where Krav Maga training shines. We work on mindset in every class and in every drill. We forge it under stress so our students will not freeze when the moment of truth comes."

While it is best to take a Krav Maga class for comprehensive safety training, Cichowlas says that any runner can use a kick to the groin in the event of an assault. The kick is effective because you maintain distance from an attacker. Cichowlas says that you should use your shin and kick hard like you are kicking a soccer ball.

"Think of your leg as your own personal baseball bat," she says.

A Word From Verywell 

No runner ever wants to think about the possibility of an attack. Most people who run think of their time on the road as an opportunity to get away from the stresses of life and disengage from day-to-day struggles. But the truth is that every runner is vulnerable to some extent.

Taking simple steps to prevent an attack is one way to secure your safety. But if you run alone, especially early in the morning or late at night, taking a self-defense class or investing in a self-defense tool can offer additional peace of mind.

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***KMD IS CLOSED MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND 5/27 -5/29. Classes resume Tuesday 5/30***