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Krav Maga combines fitness, self defense

NEW ULM — Alpha Krav Maga International self-defense training class has been available in Mankato for a number of years and is now coming to New Ulm.

The class is 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. every Thursday at the Mead Martial Arts Center, 319 N. Front Street. The class is open to anyone older than 15. The class welcomes people of all abilities.

Instructor Tim Arndt said, “If you want to do Krav Maga, you are in shape to do Krav Maga.”

The class being offering in New Ulm is a satellite program of the Southern Minnesota Martial Arts School in Mankato. Arndt is a Krav Maga instructor at the Mankato school on Monday and Wednesday. This year he wanted to bring the class to New Ulm.

Krav Maga (pronounced KRAV muh-GA) was created in 1948 by Imi Lichtenfeld for the nation of Israel, shortly after the country was founded. Lichtenfeld became an instructor at the Israel Defence Force (IDF) and taught the technique to its members. Krav Maga is a Hebrew for “contact combat.”

Lichtenfeld retired in 1968 and began adapting Krav Maga to civilian needs. The idea was to create self-defense to survive an attack while sustaining minimal harm, whatever the background of the attack.

“It uses natural movements for defense and counter-attacks from a disadvantage position,” Arndt said. “It is defense by any means with simultaneous attack and defense.”

Krav Maga borrows from other forms of martial arts, such as judo, karate, boxing, wrestling and aikido. Unlike other forms of martial arts, Krav Maga has no sport application.

Unlike wrestling and boxing, there are no Krav Maga matches. Arndt said the whole purpose of Krav Maga is de-escalation until you can’t. Arndt said one of the reasons there are no Kra Maga matches is because if two people trained in the technique were ever in a ring together, they would be trying to de-escalate rather than engage.

“If you are forced to use the skills you’ve learned something has gone wrong,” Arndt said. A motto of instructors is people learn Krav Maga “so one may walk in peace.”

The emphasis on de-escalation can be seen in the training taught by Arndt. The stance is to keep hands open rather than clenched in a fist. It is a less aggressive stance that could prevent a fight from happening.

Arndt became involved in Krav Maga in 2014. He had previously trained in other martial arts including boxing and Kung Fu. He transferred into Krav Maga after his Kung Fu instructor quit.

“I didn’t want to quit martial arts,” Arndt said. Before training in martial arts, Arndt had underlying health conditions that left him hospitalized two to three times a year. After he started boxing, his health improved and he is hospitalized less. Arndt decided to transfer into Krav Maga to continue martial arts training. Six years later, he is a certified instructor in Krav Maga.

One of the philosophies of Krav Maga is it is for everyone. It is promoted as self-defense for any shape and any size. Arndt said it is great self-defense for women.

As part of his first-class in New Ulm, Arndt had a demonstration with two students showing how a woman could fend off a male attacker. For the demonstration, the male attacker had a significant height and weight advantage, but with proper technique, anyone can break hold or neutralize the threat.

“Krav Maga is, no matter your size, learning applicable techniques to defend yourself,” Arndt said.

Anyone interested in learning Kra Maga is encouraged to visit the class at 7:30 p.m. Thursday or visit the Alpha Krav Maga International New Ulm Facebook page. Active members in New Ulm can also take classes in Mankato.

The class is following all the COVID-19 requirements based on the newest youth and adult sports guidelines established on June 24.

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