My Top 3 Krav Maga Lessons for Creatives – By @elisaczerwenka

By Elisa Czerwenka

My Top 3 Krav Maga Lessons for Creatives


A couple of months ago, I started training Krav Maga.

While for most people, a dangerous encounter might spark their interest in the self-defence technique; for me, it was a mixture of different experiences.  I have safely escaped some unsafe situations in Elephant&Castle, where I lived for over three years but thankfully never had to practice any violence. Still, I always had this thought in my head afterwards:

I literally have no idea how to defend myself.

On top of that, one of my best friends got assaulted last year. She was on her way home from a run, and a guy followed her into the building and attacked her. Fortunately, she was able to fight off her attacker, but it did make me think. Would I be able to do the same? I like to think of myself as a very confident and physically active person. Surely I can defend myself. But I am also a very nice person. I trust strangers, often too quickly. I have had situations in the past where my gut feeling told me to leave, but my politeness made me stay. And that is never a good idea. So, I signed myself up for Krav Maga.

What is Krav Maga? Krav Maga means contact combat. It is a military self-defence and fighting system developed for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli security forces and combines a number a variety of different techniques from different martial arts, as well as realistic fight training. What’s so great about Krav Maga is its focus on real-life situations. There are no limitations and no rules. The only goal is to defend yourself and to arrive home safely at the end of the day.

After training for a couple of weeks, there are a few lessons that I have learned from the training which are very useful in other areas of life – particularly as creatives. Here are my top 3:

1) Don’t follow the crowd.

When you are in a life-threatening situation, it is never smart to follow others. It is essential to stay mindful and calm while making your own decisions. The same goes for being a creative. Everyone might be following the same trend, but your instinct says go the other way. It is worth to take that risk and go with your gut. If you want to be the one that makes a change, you have to stop being a sheep, step up and make your own decisions.

2) Know your surroundings.

In Krav Maga, you extensively practice situational awareness skills. Wherever I go I look for escape routes or possible dangers. I try to identify people that potentially cause a threat to my friends or me and analyse my environment constantly. Sounds paranoid? It is crucial to note that after training this skill for a while, this happens as an unconscious process. It just becomes part of your day to be aware of your surroundings. And that makes a whole difference when someone is attacking you. So whenever I have an important presentation, I think ahead and of possible “threats”. What could go wrong, what questions will I be asked. What if the beamer doesn’t work or I can only show three slides of my presentation? While unlikely, these situations can happen and are probably a lot more likely than actually being attacked.

3) Activation and Relaxation

Every great athlete knows when to push to their absolute limits and when to calm down and relax. In Krav Maga, you only fight when necessary. As a creative, it is particularly hard to switch off your mind, while you still have not solved a brief – but you need to train yourself how to calm down after an impactful day. Your body needs to be able to go back into a normal and calm state. Make sure you drink enough and eat well. Find activities that help you relax, like playing the piano, working out or talking to a friend. Practice mindfulness. For me personally, especially working out and practising exercise works well. And funny enough, Krav Maga is an excellent way of taking my mind off of challenging briefs, which might help me to get an idea when I am not even thinking about it.

On that note: I am off to today’s Krav Maga session, which is about to start.

I’ll see you guys tomorrow, hopefully well recovered from half term break.


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