Are you familiar with the practice of Krav Maga? Krav Maga is a self-defense system based on natural reflexes and body mechanics that is easy to learn and useful regardless of a person’s size or strength. Both men and woman can practice Krav Maga and it is relatively easy to learn.
As local business Fresno Vanguard Krav Maga prepares to celebrate its 5th anniversary teaching practical self-defense to Fresnans, I thought it would be great to learn more about Krav Maga and share it here, so fellow Fresnans who might be curious can benefit and get involved.
Catarina Vasquez has been practicing Krav Maga at Fresno Vanguard Krav Maga since summer 2017. Recently, she became a certified instructor and will even be assisting with upcoming Krav Maga classes for kids. I interviewed Catarina about the practice, how she got started and how newcomers can get involved, too. Read on for all the details!
FresYes: How did you get started practicing Krav Maga and how long have you been training?
Catarina: I’ve been training in Krav Maga since August 2017. I searched online for a self-defense fitness class and Krav Maga popped up. I thought it would be great to get in shape and learn some skills that could help me protect myself.
FY: Who can practice Krav Maga and how is it different from other forms of martial arts?
CV: What I really like about Krav Maga is that it’s really built on being accessible to everyone. Someone from any fitness level, any size or strength can take something from Krav Maga, and use it to help protect themselves.
It’s not really a martial art, it’s called a self-defense system, but it does use effective parts of different martial arts, put together, to form simple and effective responses to threats. Martial arts usually have a sport and competition aspect to them, whereas Krav Maga teaches you how to respond to an attack — more real life situations.
FY: If someone is attending a class for the first time, what should they expect and how should they prepare?
CV: Just come ready to learn and get sweaty! Each class has warm up exercises and drills which include cardio and strength training. All you have to do is show up in comfortable clothing and shoes or workout gear.
FY: Do you need to be fit to do Krav Maga and how do you avoid getting hurt in class?
CV: You do not need to be “fit” to do Krav Maga. People from any fitness level can benefit from it. Safety is the number one goal. You have to feel safe and comfortable in order to learn anything, so that’s what you can expect. Instructors demonstrate techniques first, then we break it down and practice slowly, with partners. If someone is ever uncomfortable trying something they don’t have to do it, they can just watch. Once they’re ready, they can try it.
FY: As you start to gain skill, what opportunities for advanced training are there locally?
CV: Locally, Fresno Vanguard Krav Maga is the only gym that offers it, but there are people of all levels who practice there. On any given night, you’ll have people in class who have done only 1-3 classes and people who have been there for a couple years.
FY: What do you like most about Krav Maga and who would you recommend it to?
CV: I was hooked on Krav Maga from the very first class. I like that you’re learning something useful and getting a good workout. I recommend it to anyone, any age. They even have a kids class a couple nights a week!
FY: Where can people learn more and get involved?
CV: Fresno Vanguard Krav Maga is located at 2750 N Clovis Ave Suite 140 in Fresno. You can check them out at fresnovkm.net or you can call or text 559-916-1982 with any questions you may have. You can even try classes for free for 2-weeks to see if Krav Maga is a good fit for you.
FY: Anything else you’d like us to know that I didn’t ask about?
CV: Don’t be intimidated by what you may have heard about Krav Maga. Yes, it’s a very effective self-defense system, but it is not something that promotes fighting. And it’s not a “fight club”. One of the basic principles of Krav Maga is to always be aware of your surroundings and to not get in situations where you need to fight. De-escalating is the first plan of action. We fight only if we need to – so you’re not going to find a bunch of hyped-up people in class, who are just looking for a chance to hit someone. Safety in our training is key!
Special thanks to Catarina Vasquez for answering my questions about Krav Maga, and congratulations to Fresno Vanguard Krav Maga on their 5th year anniversary! You can follow them on Facebook here to see additional photos of classes in action and stay up to date on new class times and offerings.