“Krav Maga”: Israeli Self-Defense Training For University Students

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At a Krav Maga seminar last week taught by  instructors Paul Plotkin and Alex Abramovich from KAPAP Combative Concepts in Illinois, Northwestern University students learned self-defense techniques used by Israeli soliders. The seminar gave students tools to defend themselves and feel safe on campus, including instruction on how to effectively respond to an attacker who has a knife.

Krav Maga combines elements from other combat disciplines including boxing, judo and wrestling.  It is taught to Israeli Special Forces soldiers and used in real combat, said Plotkin, who, along with Abramovich, is a former Israel Special Forces Soldiers who learned Krav Maga during his military service and later in academies in the U.S.

Durnig the two-hour seminar, the instructors demonstrated different strategies to help students assess dangerous situations and defend themselves during the first part of the session. Participants practiced different striking techniques on striking pads as a warm-up.  Afterwards, participants were shown different maneuvers to defend against knife attacks and drilled the techniques in groups and pairs of two with plastic knives.

One student said the seminar was helpful in reinforcing similar defense methods she had learned before.

Others commended the seminar with special regards to female students, noting that the self-defense of women is particularly important on any university campus.

Cara Bell, director of programs at the local Women’s Center, said she thinks self-defense sessions are useful to teach participants techniques, even if they don’t continue the training. “If you know some tactics to help you defend yourself or fight off your attacker, you’re in better shape than if you don’t,” Bell said.

Written by Oliver Ortega, Edited by Anna Kaminsky

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