Krav Maga for KIDS

Krav Maga : A New Activity for the Whole Family!

by Valene Ayar

 

As the weather begins to cool and our days get shorter, it can only mean one thing….Fall is here! Yay! As we say goodbye to swimming pools and lake houses and say hello to pumpkin spiced lattes and cider mills, it also means that kids go back to school.   With that, parents are undoubtedly thinking about extracurricular activities.  While I am a huge advocate of organized team sports, I have become an even bigger advocate of another athletic endeavor that even parents can (and should) also take part in ; that is, Martial Arts….more specifically, Martial Arts centered around self-defense. 

 

A New After-School Activity

In this ever-changing world where kids and teens are glued to their phones and constantly seeking validation from how many likes an Instagram post gets, there has never been a greater need for finding ways to instill inherent-self worth in our children.

 

While organized team sports are a great way to instill this self-worth, they do have their shortcomings. For example : team sports are seasonal ; they are not as “inclusive” as they may seem as less skilled team members are given much less playing time ; and they do not offer as many real-life applications as other activities do – just to name a few.

 

This is why I am such a strong advocate for kids and teens learning Martial Arts. To highlight a few of the benefits : Martial arts can (and should) be practiced year-round; are 100% inclusive - no one is ever “benched” ; and while it is a solo activity, there is still a sense of community and camaraderie to be found amongst other participants.  I know that has been the case for me where I practice Krav Maga (Krav Maga Detroit in Troy).  And as an added bonus – parents can also participate in the adult classes as well, making it a great opportunity to create a bonding activity everyone can enjoy. 

 

While traditional martial arts definitely have their benefits and teach so many invaluable skills (I.e. self-discipline ; respect ; physical activity, etc.), there is one area where they fall short : real-world application.  Many traditional Martial Arts focus a great deal on the philosophies behind the Art, competitive fighting, and abiding by an honor code.  While those are all well and good, they do lack a certain real-world application in regards to self-defense.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say those martial arts cannot be used as a form of self-defense, but in doing research for myself some years back, I found that the best and most useful of all the disciplines is Krav Maga. 

 

What is Krav Maga?

 

Created during WWII in Europe by Imi Lichtenfeld – the Jewish son of a police officer – Krav Maga is a military self-defense and fighting system that has gone on to become the official fighting of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli Security Forces.  Additionally, it is now taught worldwide to military and police officers (including the U.S.) as a means of self-defense. 

 

Although it implements strikes and practices from Karate, Judo, Boxing, and Akido, Krav Maga is technically not classified as a Martial Art as many of the strikes and maneuvers would be grounds for disqualification in any competitive setting,  Furthermore, the Israelis firmly believe that combat should not be done for sport at all and only as a means of self-defense, which further disqualifies it as a Martial Art. 

 

The whole point of learning Krav Maga is not to win a fight and earn a trophy : it is strictly to defend yourself, incapacitate the attacker and run like hell once they are down.  There is no room for ego nor any need to “win” the fight or prove anything. 

 

Benefits of Krav Maga 

As there is no “honor code” to abide by and because it was created, categorically, as a means of self-defense, there is far more real-world application with Krav Maga than there is with any other Martial Art. It is a “no holds barred” form of self-defense and nothing is off the table in regards to acceptable strikes.  In fact, there are even classes which teach how to defend against an armed assailant as we learn how to disarm an attacker with a knife, pistol, rifle, just to name a few. 

 

And while I am not a fan of fear-mongering of any kind, the fact of the matter is that we live in a very scary world and while we can’t change that fact, we can take steps to learn how to protect ourselves and our children. And because Krav Maga is centered around efficiency, quick thinking, proximity, and acquired skill rather than strength or brute force, it can be learned by literally anyone - regardless of size or innate strength.  In fact, one of the top trainers at Krav Maga Detroit is a woman named Mallory who looks to be about 110 lbs – soaking wet – but was the first woman in the state of Michigan to earn a Black Belt in Krav Maga.  As someone who has taken her classes, I can tell you firsthand, she is not to be trifled with. 

 

While some hold the notion that learning a skill like this teaches children to resort to violence when dealing with peers, I can assure you that nothing can be further from the truth.  In fact, one of the core principles in the practice of Krav Maga is learning how to de-escalate an altercation or escape the scene, before ever throwing a single strike. This is especially beneficial for kids and teens when dealing with bullies.  It is drilled into every practitioner’s head, both children and adults, that it is imperative to be able to identify a perceived threat before it occurs, escape, or try to calmly neutralize the threat; you are taught to only use physical self-defense when all else has failed.

 

Conclusion 

This year, as you look for new and fun extracurricular activities for your kids to partake in, I urge you to look into Krav Maga.  I began the practice a little over 2 years ago and I can tell you, it has completely changed my life and the way I value it.  My only regret is that I didn’t start doing it decades ago.  Contact Lisa at Krav Maga Detroit in Troy to set up a free class for you and your kids and see for yourself why this is such an invaluable skill and great activity for the whole family.

 




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