POSTED ON JULY 24, 2013:
New Level of Self-Defense
Want to learn to really kick ass? Start here
Now many martial arts studios are located in Tulsa? What if we include the surrounding areas? It's a legitimate question.
You might get a different answer depending on the day of the week. Some dojos classify themselves as a cardio facility one day and an elite training facility the next, depending on who they are selling to.
Throughout the years, I've been blessed to visit with several of the top gyms in the city. The owners, for the most part, walk a fine line between caring for their students and running a profitable business. If it were easy, we would all be doing it.
The talking points are typically along the same lines. If you want to compete, we are your gym. If you want to get in incredible shape, this is your place to train. It usually just depends on location and the meshing of personalities.
That is why Krav Maga -- sort of the Israeli army's own brand of martial arts -- piqued my interest. It is inherently different in its approach and pitch.
"What do you do if someone is around the corner or ambushes you?" I was asked. "What if they come up behind you or put a gun to your head?"
Yep. This was different. These were the scenarios laid out when I prompted Stephen Alexander for some situations where Krav Maga might be more useful than well-known martial arts.
How did a 31-year old family man with no previous formal martial arts training get into training Krav Maga?
"I wanted to know the best defense for my family," said Alexander. "I research things to death. I feel like this is one of those things you don't want to be wrong on. Life or death situation, you don't want to find out then that your training wasn't adequate."
This reeks of hyperbole. These types of scare tactics are usually reserved for politicians with an agenda.
That is until you watch your evening newscast or read your favorite news source. Hell, you can probably see an acquaintance on Facebook or Twitter who has been through a frightening incident, or you likely know someone who has faced a similar dire situation.
"When you learn something, it sticks," he said of Krav Maga. "They made it instinctive. It is the fastest way to someone's pressure points or soft targets. There are no 'ifs, ands, or buts.' It is not beautiful, but it is beautiful in its effectiveness. It is not pretty. It looks downright ugly. Two seconds and you are done. You escape with your life. That is what I wanted."
One of the main principles is reaction time. You also learn to unleash offense while implementing defense simultaneously. It is a proven technique taught to SWAT teams and military forces to this day. More than 65 years of perfecting the self-defense technique.
Krav Maga does not have the name recognition of the more popular combat sports techniques. Jujitsu, judo, wrestling, kickboxing, and boxing are familiar disciplines thanks in large part to combat sports on television.
You will not see Krav Maga on display inside the cage or ring.
The founder, Imi Lichtenfeld, was a decorated boxer and gymnast. He was the proud owner of several black belts in various disciplines.
During hand-to-hand combat in Israel during WWII, he realized these techniques failed in real-life situations. When Israel regained nationhood, he was the first instructor of the Israel Defense Forces. He taught the military his focused, expertly created technique of Krav Maga. The IDF still utilizes the same training.
When he retired, he brought his discipline to the masses. It was a civilian version. Unlike other martial arts, you do not need three years of hardcore training to master the basics. Instead, a 28-hour course is given to the military as well as the civilian seminars.
Stephen Alexander runs Extreme Krav Maga. His wife Jennifer assists him. For now, they are running classes out of local community centers across town. A week ago, they taught at the Owasso Community Center.
He is lining up his schedule and hopes to bring his unique program to the masses at their convenience.
"Some people don't like to go across town, or they cannot afford to go across town," he said. "We have been doing private instruction for over a year and a half."
One of the beauties of Krav Maga is that you do not need a huge gym, vast mat space, or a ton of expensive equipment. The idea is hand-to-hand combat and fending off an attacker. He could probably teach you a valuable lesson in an elevator.
If you are interested in self defense, but have no desire to sign up in a more traditional gym environment, this could be your outlet.
Information can be found at Facebook.com/PureKravMagaTulsa or by calling 918-863-2265.
"In martial arts, there will always be those gifted students who can win against anyone, but in Krav Maga, we train so every student can win every time, against any opponent, thug or champion, alike," said Alexander.
This is definitely not your run-of-the-mill martial art or gym experience.
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