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Krav Maga class delivers self-defense capability, confidence to Bagram Airmen

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Over the past few months Jack Waid, the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing historian, has taught Airmen a martial arts self-defense class twice a week. 

During the one hour Krav Maga class, Airmen are taught how to use their body’s natural movements to defend against hand to hand, knives and even close range pistol attacks. When the class is over Airmen gain a better understanding of how to defend themselves where the live and work in a deployed environment.

“The idea of Krav Maga is simplistic…simplicity will save the day and will win out.” said Waid. “We don’t want someone thinking, ‘what’s the number four technique?’ We want them to be able to move forward and press the fight to the attacker.”

Even if Airmen can only attend one class they will leave with a better understanding of how to protect themselves on the combat frontier.

“The things that they learn in just one class will help them defend themselves,” Waid said. “Everybody has a basic understanding of Krav Maga after leaving here and a better understanding of how to defend oneself.”

Another benefit of the class is it helps to build Airmen’s confidence.

“The main take away is the confidence gained,” said Tech. Sgt. Cole Anderson, 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron technician. “To be able to walk around and know that if something happened, I would have the basic skills to defend myself or my wingman and be able to get away alive.”

Self-defense training can be especially important for Airmen at Bagram since they’re in a combat environment.

“Always keep your head on a swivel,” says Waid. “It doesn’t make you paranoid to look over your shoulder when you are walking around.  We’re in an environment that can be violent if the opportunity presents itself to someone who wants to perpetrate violence.  With Krav Maga it’s not only about using your hands and fist, it’s also about using your noggin. Don’t walk down a dark alley, walk where it is lit up. If someone is walking behind you let them walk on past.”

Those who attend the class for months leave with an even greater understanding of how to better defend themselves.

“I’m absolutely better able to defend myself now that I have been coming to the class for a few months,” said Anderson. “You don’t have to study it for years to defend yourself, it keeps things basic.”

Whether it’s one class or many, Krav Maga is one way for Airmen at Bagram to better defend themselves at work and where they live.