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Confidence, Fear, and Self Defense

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We interviewed a number of our students last year in a snap shot survey in order to determine what our students perceive to be the main benefits and byproducts of regular Krav Maga NYC training.  The instructors and staff expected to hear weight loss, making friends, fitness and of course learning a practical form of self defense to be number one. However, all our predictions we completely wrong!

By far the number one single benefit of regular training was ‘confidence’.  This was a particularly common response among women (we found a lot of the men felt uncomfortable using that word).  We were not entirely sure what they meant by confidence so we delved a little deeper and this is what we found.

There are two main reasons we got this response were:

1. LOSING THE FEAR: Most women between the ages of 21 and 35 living or traveling in large metropolitan areas have at some stage in their lives felt threatened by unwanted advances or intimidating behavior from a man. This fear can have an affect on the way women interact socially and can lead to negative experiences often fed by stories from friends, television, movies and the news. It isn’t necessarily a fear of being attacked, it does not need to go as far as that, being intimidated is enough to affect the way you interact. The fear breeds uncertainty in women’s lives and can lead to further negative interactions that can affect self esteem (confidence can deter an aggressor as they are most likely to choose a vulnerable target). Getting over these fears and uncertainty can improve the quality of a women’s social interactions and steadily build self confidence at parties. Why? Because most people do not know what to do if they run into trouble, so they find a lot of reassurance and confidence from knowing what to do if they run into trouble.

2.  PSYCHOLOGY AND MENTAL TOUGHNESS (tapping into the best version of you): You have probably heard this a thousand times but height, strength and weight do not mean you cannot defend yourself effectively against a larger and stronger person.  Students to not really know or remember this until they actually experience it during training.  The experience of training, of regularly pushing your limits beyond what you thought you were capable of and believing you can do it again, by, for instance, being able to successfully defend yourself against bigger and stronger person boosts self belief, mental toughness and confidence, particularly at work and in less formal social situations. This is probably one of the main reasons students enjoy learning new techniques so much. It is a leveler because by using the correct techniques or strategies you can build a stronger mental focus and determination that serves you well in your career and day to day life (see rape prevention video technique below).

Avi Moyal demonstrates defense against a choke from the ground. A technique commonly used in rape prevention scenarios during women’s self defense classes at the Krav Maga Institute NYC.

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