[Danette M. Watt | Hartford City News Times]

“Make 1,000 mistakes here in class, so you don’t make them out there.”

I had my mind set on taking a self-defense class the past year. When my editor suggested a column about Krav Maga, I jumped at the idea. I love it! It gives me the cardio workout I like and need. I’m gaining confidence by learning skills that could one day help me, and it gives me a chance to use some of the strength I gained through CrossFit in a different way. Plus, I feel like a badass!

Krav Maga is the official self-defense and fighting system of the Israeli Defense Forces and U.S. law enforcement agencies and military forces, but you don’t have to be an officer or soldier to take a class.

The objective in Krav Maga is self-defense. You learn how to neutralize attacks and counter them for protection. The scenarios used during training are generally close-quarter situations, such as a mugging. I often run alone, so this is pertinent to me. In addition to learning techniques such as punches and kicks, you get mental training to stay calm during highly stressful situations.

Each two-hour class began with a 10- to 15-minute warm-up, then moved into training. In my first class, we boxed and practiced taking rubber guns away from one another. Although we see it happen all the time in movies, you really can take a gun away from someone without shooting yourself.

The second class was all about working with the guns. Class ended with 10 minutes of a drill designed to train our reaction under stress. The intent was to get our heart rate up because in an “adrenalin dump” we lose some of our technique and forget what to do. “Make 1,000 mistakes here in class, so you don’t make them out there,” our coach told us.