Krav maga classes fighting for post-covid comeback
OF ALL businesses left struggling from Covid-19, those involving physical contact have been dealt a significant blow.
For krav maga trainer Troy Matthews the pandemic has posed a big challenge to the classes he holds in Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and Maroochydore.
"We are a full contact training system so our business was forced to close for over three months, which pretty much destroyed the business that I have worked hard to build for over 15 years to make successful and viable," Mr Matthews said.
"(It) worried us as we know our self defence classes provide a very much needed service for people in the community."
Mr Matthews said he adapted and provided online classes twice per week, but lost more than 60 per cent of students because of job losses and financial restraints in the wake of the pandemic.
" … The lockdown gave us time to reassess and get some great ideas on how to adapt and offer even more content and services to our students through online content, videos, member-only pages and live group theory chat sessions etc, so that when we started back regular group classes again we would have more training and learning aids to assist our students' journeys."
Krav maga is an Israeli martial art, which has grown increasingly popular.
"I have been doing krav maga for over 18 years and an instructor for 16 years," Mr Matthews said.
"In 2004 I was one of the first ever Australians to be licensed as a krav maga instructor by the Israeli governing body at the time, the International Krav Maga Federation.
"I have been teaching krav maga full-time for over 15 years and currently have three clubs along the East coast of Queensland in Hervey Bay, Bundaberg and the Sunshine Coast.
"Back in 2013 I was only the third Australian ever at the time to pass testing and be honoured with the prestigious level ranking of "expert" by the IKMF.
Mr Matthews said martial arts was something he had always been passionate about.
"I have been studying various styles of martial arts for over 38 years and held several black belts in other systems before turning to combat sports and ring fighting to test my skills," he said.
"This led to Muay Thai and MMA and was very successful, but my heart lied with street self-defence and practical skills which then led me to security and door work for many years in both Sydney and Queensland while building my own self-defence business on the side, the Krav Maga Alliance of Australia.
"I spent many years on doors with my business gaining attention for its realism and practicality which finally led to training firms and building security teams for 'high risk' venues and events.
Mr Matthews said krav maga was built of natural reactions and flinches.
"Our classes are self-paced and perfect for all shapes, sizes, genders and strength levels, you don't even need to be sporty or fit to do krav maga," he said.
"As long as there are no pre-existing injuries or illness that would safely prevent you from participating in our classes and you are willing to give it a go, then we are more than willing to help and support you on your journey to reach any mental or physical goals you have."
Mr Matthews said classes were supportive and like a community.
"Our adult classes are for ages 15 years and over only," he said.
"We have teenagers and students well into their 60s training together and supporting each other, we are known for our supportive and encouraging groups that welcome everybody with open arms.
"We currently only teach kids' classes in Hervey Bay for ages 10 to 14 years but we are looking for expression of interest at this time for kids classes in Bundaberg and would start if we had enough numbers to support this."
Mr Matthews said krav maga was different to other martial arts as it was the official hand-combat system of the Israeli Defence Force.
It is not a sports fighting system or a traditional martial arts.
"Sports systems and traditional martial arts have rules and respect, none of which you get with street attacks or violence and they do not teach how to deal with weapons or multiple attackers in realistic scenarios," Mr Matthews said.
"Krav maga is a very different beast built off natural reactions, designed for the battlefield and later refined for street self-defence."
Mr Matthews said the rules and discipline taught in many other martial arts were not suitable for street self-defence.
"We teach what to do before the fight or attack … such as awareness and self-control and preservation skills, etc," he said.
Mr Matthews said krav maga taught what to do in defending, attacking, escaping and also what to do after an incident, such as be alert in case of being followed home or checking for exits.
Mr Matthews said there were numerous physical and mental benefits to learning krav maga.
"We teach a complete self-defence and personal development system that gives you not only awesome and fun ways to get fit and build physical strength, but it gives you what no other fitness class can," he said.
"Our instructors are highly trained combat instructors that serve as amazing life coaches and motivators.
"We have the skills to also to break down your walls, conquer your fears and give you confidence, courage, awareness, assertiveness, tenaciousness and decision making skills that flow into everything you do in your life from jobs to relationships and everyday interaction with people."
The Krav Maga Alliance of Australia will hold a free trial tonight at Bundaberg West State School from 5.30-7.30pm.
Participants must be at least 15 years of age.
A free trial will also be held at Hervey Bay tomorrow from 5.30-7.30pm at Unit 2/92 Beach Rd, Pialba.
To find out more, look them up on Facebook.