Diaz practices Krav Maga

As Krav Maga rises in popularity, junior Juliana Diaz participates in classes to learn the martial art

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Diaz practices Krav Maga

Junior Juliana Diaz breaks a choke hold against her Krav Maga instructor in her week night classes.

Junior Juliana Diaz breaks a choke hold against her Krav Maga instructor in her week night classes.

Bryanna Putman

Junior Juliana Diaz breaks a choke hold against her Krav Maga instructor in her week night classes.

Bryanna Putman

Bryanna Putman

Junior Juliana Diaz breaks a choke hold against her Krav Maga instructor in her week night classes.

Bryanna Putman, Perspectives Editor

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The year was 1948 and a conflict known as the Arab-Israeli War had just commenced. An addition to the newly founded Israeli army that year went by the name of Imi Lichtenfeld, who combined his prior knowledge of boxing, wrestling, gymnastics and military training to create a new fighting style called Krav Maga (or contact combat).

Krav Maga, however, is not just for military purposes. People all over the world take classes to learn how to defend themselves with this fighting technique, including junior Juliana Diaz.

“I like it because they teach you how to handle real life situations,” Diaz said. “So, if [an attack] ever happens to me I’ll be prepared.”

For the last five months Diaz has been participating in Krav Maga classes at the Elite Training Center in South Hill. Normally, she would attend Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings but they now only occupy her Saturday mornings due to her busy schedule with the spring musical, “Bye Bye Birdie.”

“My mom made me go at first,” Diaz said. ” She drove past it and thought it would be something I’d like so she signed me up along with my sister [Maria Diaz]. I ended up really liking it so I kept going to the classes.”

Krav Maga came fairly naturally to Diaz after taking several Martial Arts classes as a kid. She said some of the moves are still hard to get down and remember how to do; it’s mainly just a lot of repetition until you get the hang of it.

According to Diaz, self defense is an important skill to have, especially for females who may not be able to defend themselves without training. Sometimes it’s not how strong you are, just what you do with what you have. Diaz places a lot of emphasis on the importance and seriousness of Krav Maga in her life.

“It’s fun but it’s also serious because it’s like street self defense, so you need it in your life,” Diaz said.

The culture of Krav Maga is less focused on the sports aspect of it and more so on self-defense. Practitioners of the martial art are taught to attack vulnerable parts of the body such as the groin, neck, eyes and fingers. They are highly encouraged to turn any available objects into weapons. Perseverance is also a trait strongly encouraged in the sport; they are taught never to give up.

“They teach us real life situations, like if you’re walking down the street and this guy comes at you or if you get mugged,” Diaz said.

Krav Maga helps it’s practitioners expect the unexpected and always be prepared for things they might not think could happen to them.

“I would definitely recommend this for everyone,” Diaz said. “It’s a great thing to have in your life.”

 

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