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Krav Maga Helps Hebrew Academy OC Girls Develop Self-Confidence

Tuesday, 20 February, 2018 - 4:40 pm

HAOC Krav Maga 1.jpgThe need to defend oneself physically is one that is always useful. That might be said doubly so for women, and especially for young ladies. What if young ladies were trained in a self-defense technique to help them?

That is precisely what is being done at Hebrew Academy Orange County, where girls in 5th grade through high school are offered a self-defense class. The class utilizes krav maga, contact-combat in Hebrew (קרב מגע), which is a military self-defense and fighting system developed for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The class is taught once a week for 45 minutes by Hebrew Academy Orange County’s chief of security, a ten-year veteran of the IDF.

The krav maga course is about more than self-defense. “I’m teaching the children here basic self-defense to build confidence in each kid,” says the krav maga teacher. “As long as you know what to do when you’re under pressure, you will have confidence and stand still in every threat, and the people around you will feel safe when you know how to protect yourself.”

HAOC Krav Maga 2.jpg

While self-defense is involved in the sessions, as the teacher cautions, “I’m not teaching them only how to fight; I am teaching them how to think under threat. I am teaching them what to do when you are already in a fight” as well as how to escape when under pressure and how to save their life.

“My goal,” says the teacher, “is to let the children understand even if they are small, weak, or still children, they can still protect their family.” Even just being “aware of threats in their environment” is an important first step as part of their training.

One student who has found the class to be greatly enriching is 9th grader, Shoshana Leventhal, who helped spearhead the all-girls class. “I told everyone it was worth it,” she says, “and it’s better than sitting around for 45 minutes and doing your homework.” And it has been worth it: “I think for all of us it makes us feel better about walking around in general,” Leventhal observes. “I’ve had girls who have told me they feel more comfortable walking in the streets.”

One of the wonderful things about the class is that it’s just “with other girls, to spar with, and to be serious about it,” says Leventhal. This class has been so great that “it has pushed me to go on and do other self-defense classes, because I wanted to learn to defend myself,” she says. What has been great is that “even my parents trust me more to go out in public and feel safer with me going out.”

While the students are not masters of krav maga from the class, they do “feel more comfortable and secure,” says the teacher. “As long as they know what to do, they have more confidence.”  The teacher, who brings a great passion to the class, says “I love to do what I’m doing and I love my people. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing.”

 

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