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Today’s classes

16 Dec

Krav maga 1

Yay, I went to KM! Unfortunately, I’m writing this weeks later and can’t remember what we did.

KO Bag

Yay for two hour workout!


Today’s classes

6 Dec

Krav maga 1

  • Knees
  • Hammer punch 3
  • Choke from behind


The same crazy exhausting shit! I was glad to be able to do a handstand (well, once) and to sprint up the hill when we ran around the block. Carrying someone on my back was surprisingly hard. And I’m actually writing this two days later, and my arms and upper back are still freaking sore.


Falling out of the habit

22 Nov

In the past month – really since I passed my yellow belt test – I’ve fallen out of the habit of going to krav maga regularly and, consequently, of posting here.

Here’s a summary of my classes since my last post. (Unfortunately I didn’t jot down exactly what we did.)

October 21

  • Krav Maga 1
  • Krav Maga 2

October 28

  • Krav Maga 1
  • KO Bag

November 4

  • KO Bag

November 10

  • Krav Maga 1
  • KO Bag

I haven’t been going to krav maga 2 as much as I should. Of course it’s harder and out of my comfort zone so I’m resistant. My goal this weekend is to go on both Saturday and Sunday, or at least one of those days.

While I was in New Jersey last week, I showed my friend ES some of my krav maga moves. She was kind of impressed by the defense combos, my round kick, and my getting up the krav maga way.

It was interesting to hear a non-KM person’s perception. I’m so used to being average or below-average, compared to all my classmates.

So tie-tie: Recovering from the test

20 Sep

It’s been almost five days since I took (and passed) the yellow belt test, and I’m still blah about working out.

The day after the test, Sunday, I thought I might have a short run and do yoga, but I only did yoga, which was tough but felt good. Monday morning I walked the two miles to the train station (which I usually do) and took the bus home. Tuesday I did 40 minutes on the elliptical, which I found absolutely exhausting. Wednesday the same as Monday, and today I had planned on running at the gym before meeting a friend for lunch, but right now I so don’t want to (though another round of yoga sounds good).

Is this normal? The couple of weeks before the test, I was working out quite a bit: krav maga and KO Bag two or three times during the week; krav maga, KO Bag, and even running on the weekends (well, one weekend). Maybe I just exhausted myself. Maybe it’s partly hormonal.

I do plan on doing my usual krav maga 1 + KO Bag on Saturday and Sunday. I know I should start going to krav maga 2, but a) I don’t have the gear yet, and b) I’m skerred! Hopefully by next week I’ll be brave enough to try it.

Today’s workout: Running

2 Sep

The krav maga place is closed today and tomorrow. Partly I’m bummed – I need as much practice as I can get before my test – but partly I’m glad to have the excuse to have a nice run instead.

I used to run a lot. When I lived in New York, I’d run between 20 and 25 miles a week. I’d do four miles or so on the treadmill three times a week, then a six mile run in Central Park on Fridays, and a six to eight (once even 10) mile run on Sundays.

In the past few years, I’ve fallen out of the habit of running so much. Before I started KM, I’d run at most three times a week, about four miles each time. That dropped even lower after I started KM and also KO Bag.

The blogger at Krav Maga Journey wrote that with krav maga, he didn’t lose as much weight as he anticipated, and mentioned in another post that you should have other exercise outside of KM class. This is true for me as well. While I felt myself getting stronger with KM and KO Bag, I wasn’t really losing weight. Then I realized I needed to incorporate more running back into my routine. It’s a good way, too, to build up my endurance.

So that’s a long way of saying I ran 5 miles today on the treadmill. Woot! Here’s the breakdown.

  • Ran first .8 mile at 5.3 to 5.5 MPH
  • Interval training for 5 minutes, alternating 7.0-7.1 MPH sprinting and 4.3 MPH walking
  • Ran .8 mile at 5.3 to 6 MPH
  • Increased incline incrementally to 6%
  • Sprinted 7.1 on 6% incline for one minute
  • Ran balance of 5 miles at 5.7 MPH at decreasing incline

Afterward I had total runner’s high. Haven’t had that in a while.


1 Sep

When I first started doing krav maga, my appearance matched my skill level. I’m a 40-year old Asian woman with First Lady hair and capri workout pants. Of course my punches sucked, I couldn’t block for shit, and could barely stay on my feet as a I kicked. I looked like I should have been driving a minivan to the mall.

But over the past several months, my skill level has begun to belie my appearance.

As a woman without Linda Hamilton-Terminator arms and in schlubby workout clothes, I look “safe.” Beginners, especially women, will want to pair with me. But when we start practicing, they’re often surprised. “How long have you been doing this?” they ask.

Sometimes guys will make similar assumptions. For instance today. We warmed up by touching shoulders. You don’t stay with the same partner the whole time but switch several times. At one point I ended up with a guy who was much taller and bigger than me, and I laughed because his reach was about twice as long as mine.

So we were doing our thing and then he said, “Look here,” and pointed at his chest, which I appreciated because sometimes I forget and look at the hands (looking at your opponent’s chest gives you better peripheral vision and the ability to see strikes coming from any direction). I nodded, but then he continued to lecture me about why it was good to look at the chest.

Dude, I know.

Then one of the assistants said, “Don’t take it easy on her, she’s a badass!” and I was glad for that.

Later I got paired with an Asian woman. At first my partner was this guy with tattoos. I’d seen him before and always assumed he was at least level 2. So when the Asian woman asked to be my partner, I thought she might be a better match. Spotting for strong experienced guys is not my favorite thing. I always end up jamming an elbow or hurting my wrist. My former partner, tattoo guy, gladly went with someone else. Well, I don’t know what tattoo guy’s experience was, but I should have stuck with tattoo guy.

The woman was very nice, but it was her first day, and even after I corrected how she was holding the kick shield, she kept holding it wrong, which was very bad for what we were practicing, front kicks from the ground. If the shield is not held right against the body, ie, if it’s held away from the body or against one’s arm, the kicker can hyperextend her knee. I’ve done this before, and it really fucking hurts.

I corrected her several times and she still wasn’t getting it. Unfortunately I got a little impatient. But the teacher and instructors swept in and helped her out.

The second thing was she didn’t know how to take the kick. When you get a hard kick, you let yourself step back. You don’t try to hold your ground. When you hold your ground, you end up falling on your butt, which is exactly what happened with this woman. I kicked the way I normally do, and the next thing I knew she was falling. Twice.

“I think you’re ready for your test,” one of my classmates told me.

I felt bad knocking her down, but I also felt kinda good because everyone saw me do it.

Evil, I know.

She was an excellent sport about it. She wasn’t hurt, and kept apologizing, suggesting I switch to someone who was more experienced. But that would have been more trouble than it was worth at that point.

The funny thing is tattoo guy and I ended up being partners in KO Bag anyway, and he wasn’t as experienced as I thought he was. He was strong and fast and knew what he was doing, but he wasn’t an expert. He actually complimented me on my front kicks, with a note of surprise.

We were all guilty of judging by appearances today. The tattoo guy and Asian lady both assumed I was a beginner, and I assumed the tattoo guy was a badass. I let myself be intimidated by his ink, confidence, and eagerness to change partners, and I was a little too eager to change partners myself.

Now I understand why some women are so snotty about who they get paired with. Maybe we’re more often underestimated, especially in an environment that’s 75% men and 25% women. But I don’t mind partnering with a beginner, or someone who appears to be a beginner.

You never know.

Krav maga: What I’ve learned so far

28 Feb

This weekend I had my eighth krav maga class. I still get butterflies, and I still sometimes feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, but I have fun every single time, and I’ve learned a lot.

The classes start with 10 to 15 minutes of conditioning. Doesn’t sound like a lot but I’m always dripping with sweat afterward. Conditioning can involve any of the following:

  • Jogging around the room or in place
  • Jogging and trying to kick your own butt
  • Jogging with knees high
  • Fast running in place
  • Jumping jacks
  • Crunches
  • Push-ups
  • Handshake push-ups
  • Elbow push-ups
  • Standing sit-ups

We did standing sit-ups for the first time this weekend. When the instructor started to show us, I thought they were regular sit-ups with a one-two punch. Then he said, “Then stand up.” Everyone was like, “Whaaaat???” I was able to do maybe five. Luckily my partner held me down tight. Surprisingly, I can do the different kinds of push-ups, and not on my knees, woot! I guess all those planks, chatarungas, and burpees have paid off.

After conditioning, we learn stances, kicks, and punches, and run through those several times with our partners. So far I’ve learned:

  • Fighting stance
  • Footwork
  • Straight punch
  • Hammer punch
  • Side elbow punch
  • Groin kick
  • Knee kick
  • Blocks

This is when I feel like an idiot. My form has improved, especially with the tips that MB has given me, but I still feel awkward most of the time.

Then we learn how to put certain punches and kicks together, and defend ourselves in difference attack scenarios, like:

  • Choke from the front
  • Choke from the back
  • Headlock

I’m best at getting out of a headlock. This weekend my teacher even gave me a pat on the back! But I’m still terrible about getting out of the chokes, which involves something called plucking.

When I come home, I’m always excited to show MB what I’ve learned. He corrects my form and teaches me a little more. Then we spar for a bit. Last week he told me how to do blocks, namely how to keep your eyes at the center of your opponent’s chest and use your peripheral vision to see the oncoming blow, rather than look at the person’s hand. So this weekend when we practiced blocks in class, I kind of knew what I was doing. I still sucked, but was able to tell my partner to not look at my hand but my middle and to use his peripheral vision, which seemed to improve his blocking.

MB also had me practice footwork. This is much harder than it looks, at least for me. When you step forward, you don’t just take a step with your front foot. The higher you lift your foot, the more easily your opponent can trip you up. What you do is push off with your back foot, move your front forward, keeping it low to the ground, and sort of slide your back foot to close the space. When moving to the right, push off with the left foot, shift your right foot, close the space with your left. Etc. And never cross your feet. You could trip or be thrown off balance.

The only downside to class is if you don’t get paired with a good partner. It’s totally by chance – whomever you happen to be standing near. Some women gravitate to partnering with other women, but this is only good for me if the woman is pretty good. I don’t like getting partnered with someone who’s afraid of getting hurt, not that I’m whaling on people, but when I’m the one holding the punching or kicking pad, I suck it up (as a result I’ve gotten some bruises and abrasions, but they’re sort of like badges of honor).

I’ve found the best partner for me is a short strong guy who’s a krav maga beginner. Don’t know how the guy feels to have me as a partner, but oh well.