Empowered. Exhausted. This is how my wife and I felt after completing our first session of Krav Maga selfdefense and fitness training at Krav Maga and Fitness Center, in Lenexa. For one hour our class of about 16 did not stop moving, except for two quick breaks, during one of which I “lost
my cookies.” The rest of the time we worked under the tutelage of the facility’s owner and Kansas City Chief Krav Maga instructor, Steve Woolridge, on the proper way to administer a groin kick, how to throw correctly and target a punch, how to escape a choke hold, how to stay calm under pressure, and how to properly breath during all of

Whew! If it sounds like a lot, it was. But by the end of the class I felt like I had learned something I could use. And though neither my wife nor I were ready to go out and “kick butt,” (that is NOT the intent of the training), after
only one session we both felt more capable of being able to learn how to protect ourselves if ever in a bad situation. And we both learned how to get out of a choke hold. Not bad for one lesson.

Krav Maga (Hebrew for ‘contact combat’) is the official self-defense and fighting system of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). It was invented by Imi Lichtenfeld in the late 1940’s for the newly created Israeli army. The IsraeliĀ¹s were in need of an effective form of self-defense for their soldiers. Lichtenfeld joined the Israeli army where he was able to refine the system he created through real-life hand-to-hand combat encounters the Israeli
army constantly found themselves involved with, in the troubled middle eastern region of the world. He (Imi) trained guerrilla fighters in the Haganah and an elite version of those soldiers called the Palmach. Today all the
IDF regular army, special forces, police and special protection units are trained in Krav Maga. Krav Maga has been recognized as the most efficient self-defense system for real-life situations, emphasizing practical defenses against real attacks. It has been taught to hundreds of U.S. law enforcement agencies and thousands of civilians. In our class there was a 30-year veteran of a local police force participating in and evaluating the training. His department is considering using Krav Maga training for all their officers. “I like the system because it is very stimulus response based,” the officer said. “Some of the other systems I have seen out there are simply technique based, this system puts you in a situation and makes you react.”
While the training was originally intended for soldiers and police officers, it has been, through the efforts of Lichtenfeld and the other heads of Krav Maga, molded into a style of self-defense training completely appropriate
for housewives and out of shape publishers looking for more self-confidence and improved health.

“It gives you a great sense of power being able to protect yourself,” Krav Maga fitness instructor Stephanie Green
said. “There is a misconception among a lot of females that they are weak or powerless, this (Krav Maga) gives themthe chance to prove to themselves that they are not weak or powerless.” None of the members I spoke with have had to use their training from their Krav Maga classes in a real life
encounter. I asked Steve about this. “Unfortunately, we have students who have had to use their Krav Maga training outside of class,” Woolridge said.
“Fortunately, the situations were handled quickly. I would think because of the way individuals (trained in Krav Maga) carry themselves and because they become very aware of their surroundings that there are fewer incidents.”

Fellow member Brett Kay agreed. “You gain a sense of power over yourself. You don’t feel intimidated by other people. I just don’t worry too much about confrontations. I don’t have to prove anything. Just because you have a
home security system doesn’t mean you necessarily want to use it, but it is nice to know it’s there.” The Woolridge’s have something special going on at Krav Maga and Fitness Center. Their facility is located at 79th and Quivira in Lenexa. You can read more about the Krav Maga program by visiting, or by calling the school at 913-248-9696.
Besides training adults, Krav Maga and Fitness Center also provide self-defense and fitness training to children beginning at age 6.

If you are looking to improve your health, mentally and physically go check out Krav Maga and Fitness Center. I can promise you if you give him a chance, Steve Woolridge will not let you cheat your body or your mind. You
will walk away from your first class with Steve more confident, with more knowledge about yourself, and if you are as out of shape as me, some pretty sore muscles. After a day or two the soreness in our muscles had gone, but we still knew how to escape a choke hold, and she can still deliver a pretty mean kick to the groin. So, Mr. Bad Guy next time you decide to pick on someone, you’d better think twice. If your intended victim has been down to see the folks at Krav Maga and Fitness Center you will likely end up writhing on the floor trying tofigure out how that lady whose purse you were going to snatch just rocked your world.

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