Hopefully, you’ve checked out our previous article about our experiences at Krav Maga. If not, give it a read! So why did we choose Krav Maga? Firstly, it’s an excellent form of exercise. A class lasts about 90 minutes, and if my Fitbit is to be believed, I burned 735 calories. But, secondly, the main appeal of Krav Maga is that’s a form of self-defence that focuses on technique, making it great for women as you don’t need to be big or strong to overpower a potential attacker.
Krav Maga has become increasingly popular, with several locations in our city of Bristol alone. We chose Titan’s for two key reasons: one, they offer women’s classes and workshops, which shows that they understand the needs of women. It also means that they have classes on offer that will help put you at ease if entering a testosterone-filled room makes you uncomfortable. Two, Titans donate 10% of their profits to the Refugee Women of Bristol (RWOB) charity. This is the only multi-ethnic, multi-faith organisation specifically assisting refugee women in Bristol.
After our class, we chatted to Jim Hatton, owner and head coach at Titans, to get a better insight into the sport and their work with women and the RWOB.
My name is Jim Halton, I am the Head Coach and Owner of the Bristol Titans Krav Maga Academy. I’m a Black Belt martial artist, licensed bodyguard and a Krav Maga Instructor for the British Krav Maga Association. I have two awesome kids a boy aged 8 and a little girl aged 4. Born in Bristol, I’ve been training seriously for the last 20 years.
When and why did you start Krav Maga?
I began training in the martial arts in the 1980s, training to black belt level in Shaolin Kung Fu and competing in MMA in the early 00s’. I started to train in Krav Maga because I wanted to learn something which was effective specifically for the street and I didn’t feel that either traditional martial arts or sports were able to give me what I wanted. I had experienced some street fights and had worked the doors (also qualifying as a bodyguard) and I could see that there was a massive difference between the traditional arts/combat sports and what was actually happening in real life. Krav Maga was introduced to me in 2008 and I underwent intensive training to become one of a handful or instructors in the UK. That was a great experience training with a mixture of guys from black belt backgrounds, bounty hunters, mma fighters, boxing champions and professional soldiers – all of us had been brought together looking for a simplistic system that could work when we really needed it.
How Krav Maga is different to other martial arts?
Krav Maga was invented by the military and adapted to suit the needs of Police and civilians as well. Our organisation (British Krav Maga Association) teaches all 3 different types of Krav Maga. I’ve trained in many different systems of martial arts and various combat sports. The main difference that people see is often the lack of traditional elements, the instructor is on first name terms with the students, we don’t bow to each other or salute the mats, we don’t wear belts and we don’t train in kata. We also don’t do any point scoring or training solely for aesthetics.
Do you know the most popular reason people take up Krav Maga?
On a physical sense, Krav Maga trains all elements of fighting, from the stand up position (people throwing/blocking punches and kicks), clinch fighting, ground fighting and also multiple opponents and weapons. Many singular arts will focus on one element eg boxing trains to strike with the hands only. However in Krav Maga we look at statistically what types of attacks are likely to happen and then program our syllabus from there. So often that will involve anything from a choke, to an escape on the ground.
People train for a mixture of reasons, classes are really fun and supportive and there’s a real element of fitness and challenge that is hard to find elsewhere. We tend to attract adrenaline junkies, a lot of our members are also into bouldering, powerlifting, running etc. Ultimately though, challenge aside, I do believe that one of the core reasons people train in Krav Maga is that they want a fundamental life skill. Sometimes this is because they’ve been attacked, or one of their friends has been, or sometimes they’ve seen too much in the news and decided that they want to be better prepared. Hopefully, it will never happen, and people could just train for the challenge and for the fitness and great community we have built. I think self-defence training is like First Aid training, everyone should have some although no one really appreciates it until they need it.
Womens Self Defence Workshops
We started these really as an introduction to Krav Maga, to help women who didn’t feel confident enough to be able to go to a mixed gender class. We believe self defence training should be available to everyone of all ages and abilities and we hope that once someone has had an introduction workshop that they may feel confident and empowered enough to go along to an adult class on an evening. Our seminars always sell out early, mostly through word of mouth. Our overall aim was to give some basic skills and exposure to self defence in a supportive, fun and empowering environment.
We chose to support the Refugee Women of Bristol through our seminars as they are a local group and we wanted to support an organisation that was multi ethnic and targeted the needs of refugee women in Bristol. Bristol is a fantastic city and we wanted to give back to it in more ways than one.