This blog post is a short - but powerful - true story: yet another testimonial to the power and simplicity of Krav Maga in a crisis.
Two weekends ago, an organization based in Johannesburg, South Africa, reached out to Dominique Olfsen, an Elite Defence Academy International Krav Maga instructor. They had a group of young girls and teens who they wanted to equip with some basic self defense - and so Dominique arranged to present a self defense workshop for them.
She enlisted the assistance of fellow Krav Maga instructor Adrian Brown to be the 'bad guy' while she taught some basics and showed the girls some essential techniques.
"More than anything," she says, "I explained to the girls that your mind is your most powerful weapon. I told them that what they could learn in an hour was very limited - obviously - but that the intent is what's most important. Decide to act, be courageous, and go on the attack, is what we teach. Use anything and everything to survive."
Dominique stresses the fact that in a crisis, you are your own first responder, and when it comes to self defense, there are no rules.
"In South Africa, there is a rape committed every 26 seconds," she says. "It's incredibly important that every woman is equipped with at least the very basics of defending herself."
COURAGE IN A CRISIS
A day ago, we received a message from the organizers of the self defense workshop - and it was startling.
One of the girls, aged 12, had been away on holiday with her family over the Easter break in another province. At one point during the weekend, she and her cousin decided to take a walk to a nearby store, and off they went.
Along the way, something happened: a worst-case scenario. An assailant emerged from concealment at the roadside, brandishing a knife. The cousin reacted immediately by running - a very understandable reaction, and a smart one, under the circumstances.
The knifeman grabbed the 12-year-old and pulled her aside, demanding that she get undressed. She hesitated for a moment - and then, remembering what she had been taught, made the (incredibly brave) decision to counterattack.
She launched a number of hard kicks at the would-be rapist's knees and shins, injuring him and momentarily stalling him as she reached down to grab a couple of large stones on the ground near her feet. She went on the attack, bludgeoning him relentlessly and forcing him back.
In the moment of the attack, she saw the opportunity to escape, and ran for her life.
"I am so, so proud of what she did," says Dominique with a broad smile. "She understood exactly what we'd taught on that day - that a strong attack is your best defense, and that the goal is not to get into a fight but to create the opportunity to get to safety. She did everything right."
HAPPY - AND SAFE!
This story ends on an even more satisfying note.
The girl, running for help, managed to attract the attention of passers-by, who swiftly went searching for the would-be rapist. They found him, and although he tried to deny his involvement, he was apprehended because of the very visible injuries that the girl had inflicted on him and which she had described to the helpers.
Although the trauma of an event like this can take time to work through, the fact remains that a young girl saved herself from an imminent sexual assault - and possibly death - because of a few simple Krav Maga principles and techniques that she'd learned just a week before.
"There are people out there who say that a once-off 'self defense workshop' is a waste of time," says Dominique. "They say that it's impossible to learn anything of value - never mind remembering it under pressure - in just an hour. Respectfully, I disagree. You can't become a doctor in an hour or two, but you can learn CPR - and those basic skills can save a life. In this case, I can testify that it did exactly that."
A GREATER PURPOSE
In a nutshell, this is why we teach Krav Maga, and why we do it with such great care and professionalism. We understand that even a tiny bit of knowledge, imparted the right way, can change somebody's life - or save it.
In the 15+ years of Elite Defence Academy International's existence, we have not lost a single student or instructor to an act of violence. This is due to a blend of skill and circumstance, and also because we emphasize awareness and avoidance skills as much as we teach high-quality physical self defense. The goal is not to get into a fight, but to avoid trouble as far as possible and to be survival-minded.
It's an approach that has proven its worth.
Click on the image below to see some more testimonials of lives saved (often in incredibly dangerous situations), where our students and instructors have used Krav Maga to survive and win, sometimes in amazing ways.