“Will you be doing women’s only classes for Krav Maga Yeovil?” This is a question I have been asked quite a lot since I became an instructor with the British Krav Maga Association. Well, I’m not against them. If I had a group of women that wanted to train I’d definitely be interested. But with that said, I don’t believe they are the best way to train for real life situations.
For many women the idea of training in a male dominated sport is a very daunting one indeed. The image that comes to mind is a bunch of blood thirsty, muscly, tattooed pirates all trying to tear each other apart. And you wouldn’t be too far off an average session. I’m just kidding. There is a healthy competitive spirit in the class, but everyone is there to train; everyone wants to help each other; and everyone was once a beginner.
My first experience of Krav Maga is probably much the same as many. My sister and I were a little late, being as our trusty friend, SatNav, took us to some old, sketchy looking garage buildings. After finding the leisure centre we were told where to go. We nervously walked past the badminton players and the baton twirlers, to the back of the sports hall. Feeling awful about being late we slowly walked through the blue curtains dividing up the room. An overload of faces, a room full of lads, big lads, all running around. This was defiantly all rather daunting.
The instructor was really nice and told us to just take things at our own pace. Which we were thankful for, because there was no way we could keep up with everyone else. Taking it more slowly, it still felt more like a full workout than a warm up. Following the warm up we started learning new techniques and trying things we’d never done before. All in all it was a bit of an overload.
However, I don’t think that it would have been any less scary if it had been a class full of women. I’m not going to lie: I feel more comfortable at Krav Maga than I did when I found myself in an all women’s pilates class. The scary thing is starting something you’ve never done before.
So let’s asked the question: Why do we train in Krav Maga? We train to effectively defend ourselves against one or more attackers in a real life situation. Chances are that if you’re ever attacked as a women, it’s going to be by a guy.
Although we live in a world that is trying to blur the lines between men and women, almost pretending that there isn’t a difference, we need to remember that there is. This is exactly why I believe we should actually train together.
Let’s talk briefly about a few things that differ. In general blokes have more upper body strength than girls. Don’t believe me? Try arm-wrestling one sometime. Sure, this can be overcome through training and technique, however biologically they are simply stronger.
Guys have a more muscle to body weight ratio, which means they tend to be faster. We see this when comparing male and female speed records. Males tend to be around 10% faster than women. However, females are great when it comes to endurance. Again, this is down to human biology. Female bodies are better at converting glycogen into energy. I thought this was pretty fascinating myself. This is why women can sometimes actually beat men when it comes to ultra-long-distance sports. Personally, 7 miles is pushing it for me.
So there are some differences. A chap that has the same skill set as me should be able to overpower me. It’s simple maths. This is why if you have only ever trained with other women, you won’t be so prepared in real life. If you are attacked, you will revert back to your training – instinctively go through your learned drills. So if you’re facing something that is taller, wider, stronger and uglier than someone you’ve ever faced before, it’s going to be an up hill battle.
Mixing up training partners is such a good way to learn how to deal with different strengths and abilities. This is why I really think it’s important to do mixed classes, because we aren’t training to fight in the Octagon, we are training to survive in the worse case scenario. At Krav Maga Yeovil, you’ll normally be paired with someone roughly your own size, however I also aim to mix training partners throughout lessons to create diversity, so you can learn to deal with many different attackers.
I know quite a lot of gals, including my best friend, who have told me they wouldn’t want to have a male training partner. I think this is fair enough and you can learn and become amazing at self defence without ever having to train with guys. Yet, we know that under pressure you don’t rise to the challenge, you sink to the training that you have had. So never feel you must, but if you have the opportunity and chance to train with people of different, size, age, gender, and skill set, take it.
“Will you be doing women’s only classes for Krav Maga Yeovil?” As previously stated, I’m not against them. They can have value in teaching technique, and some women may feel uncomfortable training with a male partners. However as I’ve explained, I don’t see this as the best way to equip women to deal with real life threats. – So ladies, it’s time to dust off your trainers, tie back your hair, and train to become the hardest person anyone has ever dared to attack.