It happened over five years ago, but I remember it in painstaking detail, as if it were yesterday.
His arm was hooked around my throat. And while I didn’t see his face, I still hear his voice, commanding me to throw my wallet and car keys onto the ground of the near-empty parking lot.
The only thing my attacker wanted was money. But even today, I find myself wondering what I could have done if he had tried to take more.
Laurent Mougeot has heard countless stories just like mine over the years. But while he can’t change the past, the Krav Maga self-defence instructor suggests ways to protect myself in the future.
“If someone wants money, you give him money,” said Mougeot. “But if he wants something more, you’re ready.”
Never mind that I took judo as a kid and sucked at it because I couldn’t remember how the moves went. Krav Maga is based on raw moves and natural instinct — none of this nitty-gritty memory work. And because of that, Krav Maga can be learned and applied immediately — good for someone like me that can’t remember and generally has no interest.
“You shouldn’t have to think about it,” said Mougeot. “You should be able to do it” — he snaps his fingers — “like that.”
Born in the streets of Budapest during World War II, Krav Maga “teaches people in the shortest amount of time how to survive a very violent confrontation,” he said.
At the same time, he discourages people from taking risks.
I’m feeling pretty good about the whole thing until I see some of the other students in the class.
About half a dozen ripped, muscle-bound toughs who could have been body doubles in the movie 300 stand at the door, talking. I gulped. These were the guys I would be up against?
Turns out, my small stature doesn’t matter in Krav Maga. Using principles of leverage and attacking sensitive points, I can increase my chances for survival.
I’m partnered with Chris Fremont, who patiently (and, I suspect, a bit amusedly) lets me kick him on the legs and in the stomach over and over and smash him up the nose.
I did feel that kneeing Fremont in the groin would be a little below the proverbial belt — especially since he was so sweet.
But sensing my guilt over hurting people, fellow student Lorne Goldstein notes that in a real-life situation, that could prove my downfall.
“Turn off that civility and attack the attacker,” he said. “Krav Maga is ugly, but it works.”

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