The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Contact combat
Krav Maga in action. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta

It’s 10.30pm. You have just come out from a late show at the multiplex and you have no husband, brother or boyfriend as a chaperone. As you walk through the parking lot, you are a little nervous to see the group of boys lounging near your car...

A few self-defence skills couldn’t hurt anyone in this day and age. Enter, Krav Maga. A Hebrew word that means “contact combat”, the martial art is the latest fad to hit town.

Krav Maga was developed in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s by Imi Lichtenfeld. “In India, it was introduced by Vikram Kapoor four years ago after he trained in it himself. At present, Krav Maga is taught in Vikram’s Vicky’s School of Oriental Arts at Delhi and at workshops across India,” explains Komal Issar, responsible for bringing Krav Maga to Calcutta. Classes are now being held at Solace, the wellness centre in Sunny Park, twice a week and on Sundays for children.

“Krav Maga involves cardio, abs with strength and endurance training for total body conditioning. It firms and tones muscles even when you are in the learning stage. Plus, there are proper warm-up and cool-down sessions. You burn up to 800 calories in an hour of Krav Maga,” points out Komal. But it is not advisable for those with osteoporosis, she adds.

But while Krav Maga is a good way to burn calories and stay fit, exponents prefer to promote it for self-defence purposes.

Komal takes a personal interest in Krav Maga. “In Calcutta, all the martial arts centres are such holes... Then on a visit to Delhi, I got to know of Krav Maga and tried it out. After that I simply had to bring it to Calcutta,” she smiles.

Where Krav Maga differs from other martial arts is that it helps students tackle real-life situations. Krav Maga is built around natural human reflexes and uses everything possible for the purpose of self-defence. It is a hybrid of various martial arts techniques like boxing, karate, judo, ju-jitsu, Muay Thai and other lesser-known techniques. Because it is less formal, it is easier to learn, and students learn to be alert and on their guard from day one.

“Krav Maga contains techniques that enable the trainee to defend against armed and unarmed attackers in potentially dangerous situations. It is practiced in different situations as in the dark, outdoors and other situations that restrict the victim’s movement,” explains Komal. The sessions make one physically agile and aware of her surroundings.

The style has found favour with many Hollywood stars. Jennifer Lopez in Enough, Sandra Bullock and Regina King in Miss Congeniality, Angelina Jolie for Tomb Raider 2 and Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz for Charlies’s Angels are some of the celebs who have tried Krav Maga.

Depending on the interest level, Komal intends to open more centres to widen her reach. “Like every locality has its gym, I would want every area to have a Krav Maga training centre, because it is what women need today to protect themselves,” she signs off.

Poulomi Banerjee
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