Self-Defense Training With Marcus Kowal | The Loop With Donna Ruko

Uploaded by LivestrongWoman on 09.09.2012

Hello ladies and welcome to this episode of The Loop, where we talk all things health,
wellness and Livestrong Woman. And on that note, one thing I've found that has helped
to empower me and make me feel strong and disciplined in a way is Krav Maga. Now, Krav
Maga is Israeli Military self-defense and combat training. It's actually what the US
law enforcement train in. And, also, I don't know if you saw last weeks episode, but we
kind of touched on it last week with Tara Stiles, when she was showing some yoga and
I was showing her a little bit of Krav Maga. But we actually go a little bit more into
depth this week. I went over to Werdum Combat Team Academy in Venice, and I met up with
a good friend of mine, Marcus Kowal, who is my Krav Maga instructor. He's also a mixed
martial arts fighter and reporter. So, enjoy ladies. Take a look at this. Okay, so here
we are at the Werdum Combat Team Academy. And I'm here with my good friend, Marcus Kowal,
who is a Krav Maga instructor, a mixed martial arts fighter and a reporter. So, thank you
for being here with me today. It'd be great -- we really, really wanna talk about how
Krav Maga and self-defense empowers women. First of all, I do wanna point out that, because
you can't miss it: I wanna know what happened with this black eye right here? Police brutality.
No, I was -- I just came back from Sweden where I taught a few seminars, actually, and
one of the seminars was for the police in the city that I'm from, Gothenburg. And one
of the officers, by mistake, while we were doing a drill actually just happened to pop
me with an elbow, from the equivalent of the swat teams over there, so this was a big,
strong guy. It wasn't that hard, it just hit me in the right spot. And it's on its way
out, but… He got you good and proper -- that's what I'm gonna say. Yeah, absolutely. Now,
when it comes to empowerment in general, it's more about a mindset, you know. And when you
look at violent criminals, whether it be for sexual attacks or any other type of violence,
they look for victims. They're not looking for people to fight back. Like anyone in any
type of job, they're trying to make their job as easy as possible. It's the same with
criminals. By changing the mindset, from going to being a victim to the aggressor, that's
one of the most important things. And it doesn't happen over night. It's something that you
have to train. Just like you train your bicep, just like you train, you know, your chest
and legs, you have to train your mindset to: I'm not gonna a victim. I'm going to be the
aggressor. Absolutely, that's definitely something I've learned and I've shared with friends,
that simple things of like walking along in the dark just being aware of my surroundings,
keeping assertive, and just staying really, really aware of what's going at all times
is like a major thing that I've learned. Also, Krav Maga is a great workout as well. It's
very, very strenuous at times. Usually, class starts off with a warm-up and then we go straight
into, like, boxing -- I say, "boxing" -- punching, kicking, palm strikes, elbows. I love an elbow.
And then we get into the like a defensive move. So usually when I come out of class,
if I've had break for a few weeks, when I go back, I come out almost shaking. You know,
my arms are like ooh. There's muscles there that I didn't know existed, muscles here.
I'm sure you've got stories. You've actually shared one with me where someone left a class
with you and got attacked. Yes. Actually, not too far away from here, we were, at the
moment, with our Werdum Combat Team in Venice. And up in Santa Monica, after, it was called
the Light Show. She decided to walk home on her own, which is not so good. You shouldn't
do that. If you can, obviously, try to avoid risks. And someone attacked her. And all it
took in her case was a kick to the groin that we'd been practicing a lot. Now, when it comes
to civilians, it's not as common. Luckily, because we live in somewhat of a civilized
society. But when it comes to police and military, my biggest reward when it comes to the type
of training that we provide is knowing that someone went home to their family because
of what they learned from us. Yeah. That's something that's really big. So the type of
training that we do in Krav Maga, it's both men and women. But what's so special about
it is that it's just as effective for women as it is for men. And children. And children
as well. Bullying, for example, when it comes to kids is huge. And, again, it's not so much
about actually learning the techniques, of course it's great, but that mindset of: I'm
not going to be a victim. It's not gonna happen to me because I'm not gonna allow it. Yeah.
Wonderful. Thank you, Marcus, for sharing your tips. Now, Marcus is gonna show us the
defense for the choke from behind. Let's get to it. Alright. So, the first thing we're
gonna do is learn how to defend ourselves against a choke from behind. Okay. So if you
do it to me really quick, first, so that just to show. So the danger to me from this position
is actually what a lot of people would think is her fingers. But in this case, it's actually
the thumbs. So if we turn sideways here: If you take the thumbs off and you try to choke
me from here -- try to choke -- you can't really choke. It's more like a massage, right?
It's actually kind of nice. However, if you take the thumbs and put your thumbs in here,
now you have a point of leverage again. So you can choke me with your fingers by utilizing
your thumbs. So I have to worry about your thumbs. So it doesn't matter what the direction
is of the choke. Whether sideways, from the front, I always have to worry about the thumbs.
In this case, since the thumbs are behind me, I don't wanna lean back. Because if I
do, I just open the airways, exactly, and I almost allow you to pull me off balance,
and it's easier for you to choke me. I wanna do the opposite. I wanna bring my chin down
and I wanna step back in about a 45 degree angle, and I bring my hands up. I don't grab.
Just as soon as I grab, now it's strength versus strength. I don't want strength versus
strength. I want my speed and technique versus your strength. So from here, I come up and
I would rip the hands off. Now from this position, this hand, now it's where it goes from me
defending myself, to no longer being a victim, and me being the aggressor. As soon as I've
dealt with the initial threat of your hands around my throat, this hand will come down
to you to groin strike. Now, if a man attacks a woman and you strike to the groin, even
if you miss the strike, do you know what the initial reaction would be? Exactly. Huh, here.
From here, elbow up. From this position, I'm gonna turn around, and as I turn, as I step,
I can throw an elbow or a punch, depending on how close the person is. And from here,
I can grab and I can throw knees. I'm not gonna do that to you, but you can do it to
me. So, if we break the technique down really quick into four steps. Just standing here.
First of all, as I come down, as I lean forward and bring my chin down towards my chest, my
elbows should stay forward. The reason why: If I bring my elbows out, my hands won't go
as far back. You can see that, right? Yeah. If keep my elbows back, I get a lot further
back. Yeah. So from here, we're gonna step back on one foot and the hands come up and
we're gonna rip down. I see. So, again, from here -- one. Okay. Two -- my hands are gonna
continue to the groin and elbow upwards. Good. Back, again -- one, two. Elbow as well. Yeah.
Now from here, I'm gonna turn with my right foot -- three and four -- we're gonna throw
an elbow. Okay. Nice. Back, again. From here -- one, two, three -- step. And four -- throw
that elbow or a punch. Again, depending on far away the person is. Again, ready. Now
when I say "go" do it all, put it all together. Okay, okay. Go. Good. Now, I'm gonna choke
you. Okay. What's important in training is to actually make it realistic. You're in a
safe environment, you're doing it with someone that you know, but it has to be realistic.
Because if I start doing something like this, put my hands around her, this is not choking.
Yeah. Now she doesn't get that realistic feeling of what it feels like to be choked. You need
that realistic feeling in order to get used to it. So from here, we're gonna do it step
by step. Okay. Step back, rip. Nice, strong. Good. Nice. Elbow and then… And take your
right foot out and strike. Good. Beautiful. And from there, again, it depends on the situation.
If you know that you can get from there to somewhere where you can put yourself in safety,
great. If you are in the forest by yourself, you might wanna continue fighting until the
threat's been eliminated to you. And, again, it might be that as soon as you land that
strike to the groin that person goes down. That's a bonus. Then get out. Exactly. Yeah.
But at times, you might have to finish the fight and keep fighting. And, again, that's
something that's a mental type of training that you need to get into it. And the main
is you're saying is just quick and explosive moments. Because a woman, like strength on
strength, a woman or a child against a man is just there's no companion. It's not a competition
at all, is it? So it's quick and explosive movements is the main thing. Absolutely. The
thing is, you have two advantages: When someone comes up from behind like that and chokes
you, they don't expect you to fight back. Yeah. Thus, you have the element of surprise
to your advantage. So I just want to thank Werdum Combat Team Academy for having us here.
And thank you so much, Marcus, for you're insight and knowledge. It's been great. If
anybody wants to get involved or wants to, you know, find out more about you, where should
they go? How can they find you? My website is M-A-R-C-U-S. Last name:, Or follow me on Twitter, marcuskowal. That's on Twitter
as well: It's M-A-R-C-U-S K-O-W-A-L on Twitter. Thank you. Thank you, great work. Well, that
is about all for today. Thank you so much for staying tuned. I look forward to seeing
you all next week. In the mean time: Stay fit, healthy, and safe. See you soon.