Women’s Safety Awareness with Krav Maga: It’s More than Just the Month of April

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Women’s Safety Awareness with Krav Maga: It’s More than Just the Month of April

Guest Post By EVKM Student Abby Huot

In the early summer of 2015, I was filling up a water bottle in the kitchen of an acquaintance’s house. After denying an advance by this man, I suddenly was grabbed from behind by my throat with one hand and my hair by the other. He hissed something vile into my ear, and my stomach sunk into the bottoms of my feet with deep, paralyzing, primal fear as I was flung like a ragdoll onto the tile floor.

I want you to close your eyes for a moment and imagine being grabbed and thrown this way when you least expect it. What would you do? Man or woman, it doesn’t matter: would you know what to do?

Untrained and unprepared for anything like this at the time, I didn’t know what to do either. I had been told repeatedly to go for eyes and throat to subdue and attacker, which is what I did. Without going into much more detail than that, I’ll say that I managed to get away… but not unscathed. While he didn’t successfully sexually assault me, I ran away from that house bruised and missing a chunk of hair on the left side of my head. My promise to myself was I was never going to feel that way again. For a while, it was done merely by avoiding people and hiding. I simply didn’t tell anyone because I was embarrassed and blamed myself. I wore my hair in side ponytails to hide the missing parts, avoided my stylist for months, and didn’t say a word until months after it had happened. That wasn’t proactive in my growth or my happiness. 2 years later, I moved to Arizona and found my way through EVKM’s doors so the true healing could begin.

Just 6 months into training, I can tell you without hesitation that while I may not know exactly everything I’d do in this situation, that I know I’d have a hell of better idea than I did in 2015. I often find myself thinking “This would have been good to know that night” when running through skills and scenarios in class.

That fateful night, my life changed forever. I don’t say that from the standpoint of being the victim of an assault, but from the standpoint of being someone who survived something that could have been significantly worse, even without the training I’m doing now. Without it, I wouldn’t be the person I am and I certainly never would have looked into Krav Maga as a healing and educational tool to put the finishing touches on the healing and trusting process (in others and in myself).

There are men and women at EVKM that have been the victims of assaults, attacks, or robberies. They, too, have found peace of mind through practicing Krav Maga. That’s not to say that you should be perpetually paranoid, but it IS important that you’re aware of the situations you’re putting yourself in and monitoring the behaviors of people around you. Most people are good. We just have to be aware there are bad ones, too.

Further locking in my confidence, I attended my first seminar over the weekend. EVKM had in Shlomi Katz, former instructor of the Israeli Counter Terror School and former IDF Special Forces soldier. For two hours, we burned through new techniques for self defense and subduing an attacker. I absorbed it like a sponge. I was slightly overwhelmed by the speed of everything initially, but in the last hour I stopped resisting the speed and took all of the wall defenses very seriously. Despite the serious subject matter, it was a very fun class and made me feel even more confident about my decision to begin Krav Maga training at EVKM. It also made me excited to test out of Level 1 next month and begin learning new techniques in Level 2. If I could do these things, what else am I capable of learning?

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), and it exists for the purpose of educating and preventing sexual violence as a community.

I’m writing this for the women who may or may not go to EVKM, that either want to avoid a situation in the future, or like me, are looking for a proactive way to heal from a situation you were in at some point in the past. I want you to know that you aren’t alone, you can overcome what you went through, and you can protect yourself in a way other than avoiding being in public. You have to be willing to get back out there and begin living again at some point.  

If you’ve never attended a seminar, if you’ve always just hoped that nothing ever happens to you, or if you are a survivor of an assault, I highly want to encourage you to attend a seminar EVKM is holding for free on Saturday, April 7th from 1-2:30PM. It’s free to attend and will be taught by the top female instructors of the school. It’s a welcoming, empowering, awesome environment. Skilled or brand new, anyone is welcome to attend. I promise you that you’ll feel amazing after 90 minutes of class.

You can register for the free seminar here.

At EVKM, women’s safety and sexual assault prevention is year-round, not just April. If I had to guess, the attendance here is close to an even 50% between men and women.  I’d like to invite everyone to encourage your friends and family to be proactive in their self-defense knowledge and to not be afraid of being aggressive. Survivor or not, arm the women you care about with the encouragement and belief that they can do this. It’s nothing to be intimidated by or afraid of.

And to the survivors of assault, remember just that: you’re a survivor. Not a victim. Piece by piece, you can begin to put yourself back together again. That’s exactly what Krav Maga is for…”So that one may walk in peace”!

Thank you for reading, and see you in April!

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