Kick Your Way Through Life with Krav Maga


Fordham’s Self Defense Club invited Active Krav Maga to teach students self defense techniques. (Courtesy of Instagram)

Kassity Garrett, Contributing Writer

On Nov. 8, Fordham Self Defense Club had Krav Maga instructor, Avi Abraham from Active Krav Maga, come to teach students techniques for self defense. The first session opened with an introduction and safety tips from Public Safety’s Deputy Emergency Manager, Mike McGinn. He said that the purpose of this training was to teach students to “fight the way you train” and to “take quick decisive action.”

Abraham then took over and had students move all of the tables and chairs to the side of the McShane Campus Center ballroom. Most were unaware of exactly what they were getting into and were shocked when Abraham enlisted the students in a fast pace warm-up including lap running, partner wheel-barrels, push-ups and loud coaching, as if it were a mini boot camp.

Spread out throughout the ballroom, students stood ready to learn self defense. Abraham called for volunteers to come to the middle of the floor in order to show ways to protect yourself in various situations. Some included being strangled from the front and behind, a shirt grab and knife to the throat, typically including the demand “GIVE ME YOUR MONEY!” which Abraham would yell in a scary, yet humorous, manner, keeping the intense subject matter still light for the students.

Having partnered up, students were instructed to practice the move with the scenario they had been given. Abraham went around the room, observing, ready to provide help to any group that may have needed it. This typically included Abraham instructing the students to “ATTACK!” and creating a more life-like scenario to what one may encounter in the real world.

The essentials of a Krav Maga move typically include around five steps. A tough turn, either away or towards the attacker to loosen their grip on you. This is typically followed by a “hammer” to the face, which is a hit from the side of your fist, rather than a normal punch. Then with your hammer hand, you grab your attacker and … kick them in the balls! Regardless of sex, Abraham explained the simplicity and importance of this move, and specifically the importance of kicking twice. He asked, “Why do we kick twice?” to which the students answered “Because there are two balls!” Each move ends with two hands up towards the attacker as the universal signal for “stop,” while keeping the hands ready to defend in the event the attacker continues to attack. The mix of humor with important skills created a fun and effective environment for students to learn about the art of defending yourself.

It is Fordham Self Defense Club’s first year as an official club, with Krav Maga being their first official event. I spoke with club leader, Juliana Di Rende, GSB ’23, who first had the idea for the club with her friend freshman year, “Since COVID-19 hit, this year we were finally able to go through with it … we reached out to Public Safety, they loved the idea and now they are working with us.”

Di Rende described her experience with self defense prior to Fordham and the importance of providing students with these opportunities, “When I came here and received Public Safety emails about students getting robbed and mugged, we thought this club might be beneficial to anyone who might feel unsafe.” The club aims to empower students through self defense and give back to the community. Juliana describes it as a “way to bring people together with a common goal of bettering yourself both mentally and physically.” The club leaders hope to grow the club through social media and word of mouth in order to share the art of self defense further amongst the student body and keep the community safe.