Krav Maga Lessons | Intro to Krav Maga

A while back, a local news representative was looking for a new fitness adventure and ended up at our door. She concluded – based on the title she used for her article – that Krav Maga lessons offer a killer work out and life skills. Here’s some of what the she had to say:

I’m all for strengthening my core, toning my muscles and getting my heart pumping, but when a fitness instructor looks at me and says now I’m going to choke you, I’m out the door.

At least, I thought I’d be, but then I signed up for Krav Maga lesson. The self-defense martial art combines quick instinctive strikes and kicks with real life situations (hence, the chocking scenario). The practice is so effective that it’s used by law enforcement and the elite Israeli military.

While exercise isn’t Krav Maga’s primary goal (kicking you-know-what is), it is a serious benefit. Your fighting form is your best fitness form, says Krav Maga chief instructor Davide Gristina. Indeed, in one Krav Maga lesson I awakened muscles – and tapped into sweat glands – I never knew I had.

Krav Maga New York offers beginner level, intro like classes weekly. Getting acquainted with Krav Maga means learning basic moves like strikes and kicks, and also, securing a fighting stance.

Wearing training pants and t-shirts that say Fear Less, the instructors epitomize quite confidence. Facing the mirror, my trainer instructs me to bring my right leg back and to bend my arms keeping my fists near my shoulders. That’s your foundation, he tells me, as I step into position.

Next, he walks me through a strike, step-by-step. A good strike comes from rotating your waist, not your arm, he says as he turns his waist in a quick, forceful motion that packs power along the way. For a minute or two, we practice striking the air. Then he grabs a pad and says, hit me.

For me, this isn’t so easy. We’re taught to suppress aggression, hold things in, react calmly to situations. Now I’m supposed to abandon all of that and hit a perfectly likeable stranger? Slowly, I get into fighting stance, draw my arm back and forcefully turn my waist striking the pad. Bam! Oh sorry, I apologize immediately.

Then again, Bam! Sorry, I say again (what’s with me?). My tentative attitude is all wrong because if there’s one rule in Krav Maga it’s that you fight to win. If you don’t, you only succeed at putting yourself in more danger.

Then Bam! Bam! With every strike I find a little more enthusiasm – and a little more power. Holy cow – did I just grunt? Then after the round it’s nice job and high fives, and my instructor leads me back to the mirror where he shows me the art of a kick (for when the attacker is a few steps away from you) and the knee strike (for when he’s up close). Then we take those moves and add movement.

Strike, my instructor says. I strike his pad with my hand. Kick, he says, and I kick him with full leg. He comes closer and I knee him, replicating a strike to the groin. We dance around like that for a good few minutes and by the end, sweat is pouring from my face and my heart is racing faster than it has in any fitness class anywhere.

It’s exhilarating to defend something that I care about: me! Krav Maga builds a lot of self confidence, my instructor comments, it empowers people. There’s something cool about knowing how to defend yourself.

We have time for just one more drill: a chocking defense. My instructor points out that an attacker might try to suppress my windpipe, and he places his hands gently on my neck to show me how and where. Your goal is to buy time to get away, he says.

Standing at ease (chokers take you by surprise, so a fighting stance here would be cheating) he reaches for the imaginary attacker and in one quick jolt loosens the hands and assumes a fighting stance.

The explosive movement comes from his back – not his arms – and he shows me how to do it over and over while I emulate him in the mirror. And that’s when he says, now I’m going to choke you.

But I’m not bolting. I’m not even scared. Now when comes at me, or anyone else makes a move, I’ll know exactly what to do.

Krav Maga New York teaches elite self defense and fitness for everyday people, and we’ve been doing it since 2004.

If you’re interested in trying a class, feel free to contact Erin at (914) 514-9171 or by email at

Hope to see you in class,

Team Krav Maga New York

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