Article written by: Holli Barron
For those of you who have known me both prior to and during my Krav Maga training, you probably have recognized a change (or many) in me as a person. It is my desire to help you understand the changes that I have experienced, the heart behind why I am so thankful I started taking classes, and why I feel that you, too, could benefit in the same ways that I have from Krav Maga. For those who did not know me prior to Krav, let me give you a quick synopsis of who I was pre-training: timid, fearful, frail, and basically crossing my fingers that no one chose to target me (again).
As many of you know, I was targeted and ultimately raped by an internet predator in my teen years. After trials in court, he was sentenced to only eight years in prison. However, he was released on parole after only serving about two years. When the news reached my ears that he was up for parole in the near future, I began to feel more fear than I was comfortable living with. I realized that I was an easy target not just for him, but for any predator seeking to do harm. Thus began the process of researching self defense classes in my area. Krav Maga was not only the first option that popped up in search results, but also the most intriguing. After researching the system, I decided to give it a try. East Texas Krav Maga (the Krav training center nearest to where I lived) offered a free trial class to anyone interested in beginning self defense training. That first day, I sat in the parking lot for a good twenty minutes fighting with myself internally. I was so nervous to step foot inside the building for a few reasons:
1. I have never thrown a punch or taken any form of martial arts/self defense in my entire life and I don’t like looking like a fool.
2. Walking into that class meant facing the frightening realization that I was prey for predators seeking to do harm and that I was presently incapable of adequately defending myself.
3. I hated exercise and felt like I would be falling behind the entire class due to not being an avid gym-goer. Regardless of these hesitations, I walked through those doors and it was by far one of the best decisions of my life. Here’s why:
- First, and probably most obviously, Krav Maga has given me the capability to defend myself (and others) should it be necessary. I now have the physical capability that I previously lacked. I know the techniques, and I am confident in my ability to implement them should my life be in danger. Physically, I gained muscle I never had before and got in the best shape of my life. I am no longer a target… I am a fighter.
- Krav has given me a confidence that I didn’t know was possible. This confidence has poured over into all areas of my life, not just my ability to defend myself. I am more apt to accept new challenges and to pursue goals that once seemed out of reach. One of these goals that I was able to accomplish was becoming a certified instructor of Krav so that I could pass these benefits on to other people.
- Krav has given me a renewed perspective on fear. Rather than running away, I have learned to confront my fears and to overcome them. I no longer am someone who is incapacitated by my fear. This change is evidenced most clearly by my decision prior to the offender who assaulted me being released to go meet with him face to face in a mediated session. I wanted the opportunity to look him in the eyes and to let him know that I am not afraid of him and that I am no longer his victim. Prior to Krav, I absolutely (one hundred percent) would have never had the courage to go and do this.
- Krav has been the catalyst for me to pursue further training in firearms, and emergency medicine. It has shown me the importance of training and preparing for the worst. The combined training I have received has prepared me to handle situations that I would have at one time deemed my worst nightmare. I didn’t quite realize how big of a change I had undergone until one of these “worst nightmare” situations happened to me. Sitting in class one day taking a quiz on a university campus, an alert came across our phones that there was an active shooter on campus and to shelter in place immediately. Prior to my training, I without a doubt would have been hiding in the corner crying my eyes out and having a full blown panic attack. However, while people in my room either stared wide eyed at each other or began to panic/cry, I let my training take over. I directed students to barricade the doors, I made sure my tourniquet and other emergency first aid were easily accessible, helped students find weapons of opportunity, and had my firearm ready to go should I need it (yes, concealed carry is legal on the campus I attended, thankfully). Ultimately the all-clear was given, and it was determined that it was a false alarm. I almost didn’t recognize who I was after that incident. How I was able to handle a situation that normally would have broken me legitimately shocked me. I only have training, practicing over and over and over again, and excellent instructors from East Texas Krav Maga and Freedom Defense Training to thank for this change.
- Krav taught me to not only look out for myself, but for others as well. I have transformed from a helpless sheep into a sheepdog looking out for those I love and those who are less capable of protecting themselves. I know that when our baby arrives in May, I will love him or her more than myself. Their safety is more important than my own. I now train not just for myself, but for others as well.
- Lastly, Krav has given me the ability to stand up for myself, and to make hard decisions. Not far into my krav training, I made a couple of life changing choices that I never would have made if it weren’t for Krav. I ended a relationship that wasn’t right for me in the long run, and I packed up my stuff and drove across the country to move back home to where I truly wanted to be. I am forever thankful that I had the courage to make these choices because ultimately they led me to my wonderful husband, and gave me the opportunity to have a family at East Texas Krav Maga that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I would not have gotten certified as an instructor, or seen so many people overcome obstacles just like I have. (Also, I never would have gotten my tattoo… lol).
All of this to say, some hard decisions really did change my life. Krav Maga really did change my life… and it can change yours too. Take that first step. Walk through those doors. You won’t regret it.