Frequently Asked Questions
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Q) Do I need prior martial arts experience in order to have private lessons or to participate in a course?
A) No, definitely not. Our classes and courses are designed for the complete novice although experience is always a good thing. The only problem with prior Martial Arts experience is that your stance and certain techniques may be more conducive to the dojo and not the street, so you may need to unlearn or adapt some things.
Q) Are there any age restrictions?
A) For adults, no, as long as you are in good health. If you are unfit, have health problems or have not participated in any exercise for significant time you are advised to seek advice from your GP before engaging in any hard physical exercise. We can adapt our teaching to suit all ages although we generally request that children be at least 11 years old. This is because we are not teaching a martial art and a certain level of maturity, understanding and discipline is required. Note: course material is adapted for children below 16.
Q) Are you insured?
A) Yes, we have full Public Liability insurance.
Q) Is there a lot of physical contact in the class?
A) Yes, you are beaten regularly during every class to teach you how to endure pain. Kidding! Krav Maga is not primarily a sparring based system – so you won’t be knocked around. Techniques are practised minimally in the air, with heavy striking only to pads and bags. A lot of work is done in pairs (attacking and defending) but this is generally against specific attacks with light contact to the body unless full body armour is worn. Students progress at their own pace. You do not need to worry about leaving a session black and blue; we all need to work the next day! However…bear in mind that this is a fighting system and you cannot avoid the occasional knock or bruise.
Q) How long is a private lesson?
A) Generally, 1 hour, although different durations can be arranged depending on demand and content.
Q) What is covered in a private lesson?
A) Prior to commencing any private tuition we will always meet with you to discuss the reasons for your training – whether it is for general self defence, fitness, a combination of the two, or because you have specific security concerns. We will then work out a training plan. Each class would be planned following the last one; you won’t be following someone else’s programme, meaning that we can adapt to your individual learning pace and build up from each previous class. That is the benefit of private classes. For more information please contact us.
Q) If we signed up for an 8 week/12 hour course is it really going to be of benefit?
A) Undoubtedly! Krav Maga was originally developed for the Israeli army, to teach soldiers effective self defence in the shortest possible time. The techniques are simple to master and logical. Each course ensures a minimum of basic proficiency in the techniques taught. Will a 5-day First Aid course make you a Paramedic? No, but it will enable you to help save lives. Think of our courses along the same lines.
Q) Is there a difference between Martial Arts and Self-Defence?
A) There are a lot of differences – and similarities; too many to mention here. Most martial arts take many years of weekly or daily practice to master. Their agenda is to achieve a high level of proficiency in specific techniques which are sometimes very complicated, or completely irrelevant for immediate self protection. Also, a lot of Martial Arts have become sports driven and ineffective for the “street”. Even when fighting orientated it can take months if not years to learn the basics of a syllabus in order to progress to more valid and effective techniques that can be used for self defence. Self defence systems on the other hand teach simple and effective techniques that can be used virtually immediately, and are designed around modern day street attacks, whereas some martial arts can be antiquated. Most self defence techniques are taken from the martial arts. Unfortunately, many Martial Art instructors often do not understand “self defence”. There is also a difference between a “self defence” class whereby an instructor teaches you to throw coins in an attacker face and run, and a Tactical Krav Maga unarmed combat class, which is much more realistic in the design and execution of its techniques and concepts.
Q) Do I need to be fit?
A) This is an interesting question. Without a doubt, fitness prevails. You have all seen or heard of stand up fights that have lasted 6 seconds before the fighters have been exhausted and resorted to grappling around on the floor before one stabs the other. I recently read on a corporate self defence site that you can learn how to defend yourself within 3-4 hours and you do not need to be fit. I wish it were true – but it was pure sales talk. If you are fitter than your attacker, you have a better chance of defending yourself. When attacked and the adrenalin kicks in, and you may have to run a few metres and push out of a crowd or had to fight for a few seconds, if you are unfit you’ll be lucky if you can pick your leg up high enough to climb a curb… it won’t take much to exhaust you. People who think adrenalin will kick in and give you instant superhuman strength are wrong. People who used to be fit and know self defence also think that they will manage in a fight. Unfortunately, in any encounter lasting beyond a few seconds, they won’t. All our classes incorporate warm up drills that build up on your fighting fitness. Expect to sweat! You’ve heard the old adage “fight hard, train easy”…that’s the idea!
Q) Can women train as effectively as men?
A) Yes. If attacked you need to react with good techniques combined with a large amount of aggression. Women can do that just as much as men. Although women are usually smaller and lighter than the average man, putting your body weight behind an effective technique to a strategic body part can be enough to take anyone out. It is true that when two similarly skilled people are fighting each other that the bigger, stronger person will often win. But you may not ever be attacked by someone with any skill and they certainly won’t have the mental determination or controlled physical aggression that you will have after our training! And if you paid attention to our Awareness section you would hopefully avoid most of these situations.
Q) Do you provide any teaching aids or material?
A) Yes, but it depends on the course. For comprehensive tactics for self protection please see our book Keeping Safe in a Dangerous Place. It teaches about Awareness and Observation, and has key sections on how to stay safe in the Street, at Home, in your Vehicle, and when on Public Transport. It also has a dedicated chapter on Kidnap Prevention.
Q) Why don’t you hold regular weekly classes for the public?
A) We occasionally do, however, we want to offer quality. We want to be able to provide you with a specific result. We have found that with weekly ongoing classes a group cannot move forward together due to the constant influx of new people. More importantly, most people do not want to commit to years of training, however most people can commit to a short course! Giving up a couple of hours a week for two months is manageable. And with our short courses you know exactly what you will be achieving before you start and it gives you the motivation to see it though (and of course, you will find the training thoroughly enjoyable!).
Q) Do we learn gun and hostage defences?
A) The Krav Maga system has the most practical and effective weapon defences devised for situations whereby you are held at gunpoint, or whereby a third party is held at gunpoint. We also have techniques specifically for dealing with the threat of someone drawing a pistol against you at close range in order to shoot you.
Some people do not feel they need to learn gun defences but being robbed or held hostage at gunpoint isn’t restricted to countries of poor economy. In the UK alone there are thousands of illegal weapons in circulation, with many criminals now carrying as a matter of course. Whether you choose to learn these defences is up to you. We can show you how a pistol works and the most current effective defences. Without a doubt, in most robbery situations it is far better to give up your jewellery and money to avoid the risk of being shot – but there are situations where you may need to act.