Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Krav Maga Training and the Benefits of Diversity

Toronto enjoys an international reputation as being a "diverse" city in many senses of the word and we are fortunate at IKMF Toronto to have a diverse group of students.  Besides enjoying meeting people of various backgrounds and experience, diversity benefits our training.   

Here are some areas where diversity benefits our training.  

Size and Strength:  In our adult group classes we have students ranging from under 5 feet tall to well over 6 feet.  In terms of weight the range is approximately 100lbs to 300lbs.  Working with various sizes allows students to adjust to differences in reach, strength and other intangibles.  Of course, size and strength are not synonymous but there are real challenges involved with (for example) throwing off a heavier attacker.  Practicing wrist releases, for example, with a student with a strong grip highlights the importance of precise technique and raises your level. 

Gender:  Most physical assaults are committed by men.  We have Women's Only self defense classes but some of our female students want to work with men.  From an educational standpoint some men share their perspectives on violence and experiences and so do women.  This leads to a better understanding of how gender can factor into a person's sense of safety.  

Profession:  Our practitioners include doctors, labourers, academics, business people, teachers, servers, lawyers, students.....   The range of professional experience brings diverse perspectives including safety in the workplace. With our growing corporate self defense programs this is especially helpful in shaping what and how we teach.   

Age:  Our students range from the late teens to their 70s.  Different age groups can face different challenges. Bullying in high school, for instance, can be very traumatic or worse.  Seniors are sometimes targeted by assailants.  From a physical standpoint there are some realities we need to address as instructors.  We have some very fit students in their  50s, 60s, and 70s but we also recognize that a 17 year old student will often find getting up off the ground easier than someone in their 60 or 70s.  Such differences off us the opportunity to adapt techniques. 

Fitness/Physical Ability:  We have a wide range of athleticism, strength, agility, etc...   One of the key strengths of Krav Maga is its capacity to adapt to various physical abilities.  One of our students is blind.  By modifying techniques and through his impressive work ethic, he is becoming an excellent self defense practitioner! 

National:  We have students who were born or grew up in various parts of the world - India, Venezuela, Russia, Australia, France etc...   These students share their different experiences and interpretations of assaults and self defense that enrich our understandings in a broader content.    

Experience: Many of our students have no experience in self defense training and bring excellent questions that help instructors and other students understand self defense techniques and principles.   We also have students from other systems including boxing, karate, MMA, Kali... etc...  who offer excellent comparative insights.  

One of the strengths of Krav Maga is its adaptability and having diverse training groups only enhances this.