The city is waking up to Krav Maga a new, effective self-defence technique

Ever watched Batman beating up thugs on film and wondered, ‘I wish I could do that!’? If you did, it probably stemmed from that secret urge to dress up as your favourite superhero and go looking for crime. But now times are such that crime requires no search party; with pickpockets, burglars and rapists having become a very real threat in everyone’s lives. It is no surprise then that more and more people are now signing up for self-defence classes, and it just so happens that Kochi residents have the option of learning one of the most effective self-defence techniques in the world: Krav Maga.

Believed to have been initially developed by Hungarian-Israeli martial artist Imi Lichtenfeld, the martial art was refined and put into effect by the Israeli Defence Forces in the 1950s. Derived from many other martial arts such as Muay Thai boxing and Ju Jitsu, Krav Maga is best known for throwing ceremony to the winds and focusing only on neutralising an opponent in the quickest and most effective method possible.

Natural stance

It is the health club located on the premises of the Sacred Heart College, Thevara, in the city that plays host to Krav Maga classes conducted by Rajan Varghese, Judo coach at the Physical Education Department of the college. Rajan says he got wind of Krav Maga through the internet and then undertook a Civilian Instructor Course (CIC) in Delhi from an instructor certified by the International Krav Maga Federation. “The reason I felt it was a good thing to learn is because Krav Maga focuses on a natural stance, adapting to each user rather than make practitioners adapt to it. It also has a relatively short learning curve as most of the movements used are natural and easy to accomplish,” he says.

Rajan, who also holds international referee licenses for Judo and Kurash, believes that people now feel the need to learn self-defence and are taking steps to arm themselves against crime. “After the 26/11 attacks, the Taj hotels have started training their staff in martial arts like Krav Maga and even MNCs are making the effort to provide self-defence training to their employees,” he elaborates. His classes are held twice a week and see the participants being instructed by him before practising their new moves on each other. However, Rajan stresses on the importance of safety gear during training, as Krav Maga involves no holds barred fighting, targeting vulnerable points like the eyes and groin if necessary.

In light of recent events, self-defence training among women is now under the spotlight. Says Binisha C. Associate HR at Williams Lea India, a global BPO company, “Our company recently conducted a Krav Maga training session for our female employees. Though it was just a two-hour session, everyone agreed that it is easy to pick up and become reasonably proficient in. In fact, it was popular enough that other employees have expressed interest in joining the regular training programme.”

Apart from Sacred Heart College, classes have recently started at the International Martial Arts Academy at Tripunithara on Mondays and Fridays. The classes are attended by people from ages ranging from 20 to 60, where Rajan teaches them to pay attention to their surroundings, sensing potential dangers and avoiding confrontation wherever possible. “However, if they do find themselves in a tough spot, they will be well equipped to deal with fists, knees, knives, sticks and guns. In fact, we encourage all participants to practise in casual clothes so that they can feel comfortable in real world situations. The emphasis is always on potential situations, facing multiple opponents, using makeshift weapons and so on. The style is always evolving and adapting, though you can gain a fair understanding of it in about three months, there is always potential for more,” he says.

The classes will set you back Rs. 3,000 a month for the first three courses and Rs. 2,000 for those who continue past the initial training period. A yearly workshop is also conducted by Vicky Kapoor, director and chief instructor at the Internation Krav Maga Federation, India. With its easy learning nature and brutal efficiency, Krav Maga is set to give people the confidence to wander the uncertain streets and give anyone fool enough to make a move on them a nasty shock.

The International Krav Maga Academy will host a summer camp focusing on Krav Maga, Judo, Kurash and women’s self-defence from April 4 to May 2.

Rajan Varghese can be contacted at 9446010844.