Women Krav Maga & Sparring
IS THIS A HELPFUL TOOL FOR TRAINING
ARE THE RISKS BIGGER THAN THE BENEFITS?
EMMANUEL MANIOS | IKMF EXPERT 2 | MAY 2018
TABLE OF CONTENTS
2. Personal opinion according to personal experience………………………….2
3. Conclusion for implementation…………………………………………………….4
I will begin in a general way and try to get more specific during the process of this
essay. Although, some can consider this to be backwards it is OK with me.
It is commonly accepted that sparring necessary for a complete training
procedure at least after a certain point and level including civilian training. In this
sense even to dare to suggest that it does not concern half the population of this
planet is at least as far as I am concerned an immodesty. Therefore, it is safe to
reach the conclusion that indeed it helps.
2. Personal opinion according to personal experience
One might imply that we do not acknowledge body and muscle differences
between the two genders. Obviously, this is not the case.
There are ways such as SLOW FIGHTING or SEMICONTACT or putting LIMITATIONS
to the STRIKING (number or kind) in order to introduce sparring into the life of
women in a mild and safe way. If we accept the above to be beneficial and at
the same time by accepting the differences between the two genders we can
reach a point of great importance to me.
An informal separation based on experience is a division not between genders
but among women themselves. The ones who attend regular KRAV MAGA classes
and the ones who aim to attend a STAY AWAY course. As far as I am concerned
the question if sparring fights benefit or not women is entirely about this later sub
At this point it would helpful to examine the benefits of sparring:
It enhances the understanding of distances of the attendees while
unarmed fight. At the beginning the practitioner always starts in the air and
after proceed with punching bags, shields, focus mits, thai pads etc.. The
final repercussion of the above is physical contact. Always with the
necessary protective gear such as mouth guard, groin protection,
headgear, gloves, chin guards etc
It perfects timing. Fighting is interactive. During sparring we are not the only
ones who strike but so does the opponent. In this sense we are summoned
to regulate the movement and the flow to our benefit. It is a matter of
space and time. The appropriate moment (time) to be in the right spot
(space). A fragment of a second too fast can be early, a fragment of a
second too slow can be late. It is all about slightly marginally changes.
Grasping these slightly marginally changes and the understanding and the
ability to response to them is for me the most important thing sparring has
to offer. In one word, accuracy.
Besides that, the benefits are almost uncountable:
It increases self confidence
It strengthens concentration
It improves discipline
It exercises the entire body, muscles, cardio respiratory and nervous system
It decompresses and entertains
It coordinates the body and improves balance
It develops respect to our co partitioners and to our fellow men
It prepares us psychologically and naturally toughens us
A typical example of the above mentioned is stamina and the ability to
overcome pain. Which can be applied to various aspects of life in very
It emotionally benefits with the release of aggression in a controlled manner.
With light sparring, focus mits etc the physical contact will and can allow
women to release and free productively rage in a controlled way at the
same time. Rather than keeping aggression within them it externalizes it.
As far as the disadvantages are concerned, obviously a potential injury is the case.
This brings us back to the basic / initial question if sparring / fights can push women
away so I will return to the informal separation based on my experience. Between
women who attend regular practice and the ones who attend the STAY AWAY
class. It is clear that one of the reasons leading them to this choice is the fear of
getting injured. STAY AWAY equips women in gentle, smooth and efficient way. It
also expands the social base of Krav Maga by addressing women who in other
circumstances would not pursuit Krav Maga in the first place. The success is double.
On one hand it essentially helps women and on the other hand it expands the
social base of those who desire to start Krav Maga.
Regarding the question if sparring can push away women from Krav Maga,
instructors should not omit that Krav Maga gives tools which can be used such as:
- SLOW FIGHTING (slow – gentle and most important of all no injuries)
- SEMI CONTACT (it has speed – but no full power/contact
- PUTTING LIMITATIONS to the striking variety for example only hand, only legs etc
This way the practitioner knows pretty much how the blows will come so they have
less anxiety. The above mentioned combined with sufficient safety gear create a
safe environment in order to avoid injuries.
In Greece due to the financial crisis many of us are forced to do two jobs. My
second occupation is bartending. Currently I own a café bar with other four
friends of mine. But, I have been doing this job almost 15 years now. Many tend to
consider these two jobs as having nothing in common between them. However,
through the years I have seen plenty of incidents which concern, include self
defense. More specific to our concern which are women one thing that has made
a big impression to me is the way they “freeze” when they accept a hit. This does
not concern all but the majority of women in my opinion. I am not referring to the
intensity of the blow but to the phycological aspect. It seems as if they do not
believe that this situation is happening to them, how can it happen in a public
Therefore, I have reached the conclusion that it is important in controlled
circumstances, with head gear closed in front, chests etc to take some blows. Not
in an attempt to turn them into MMA or Mui Tai fighters but out of respect to them,
to assist them to deal with the shock, the fear and the anxiety. In order, for them
to understand with their own experience what it looks like, almost. At least to be
prepared in the best possible way for this surprise.
3. Conclusion for implementation
Necessity defines our actions and through our actions we learn. If only we could
theoretically exhaust this matter talking about it and fully prepare a woman for an
attack and for the use of any physical violence. Unfortunately, this can not be
done. And those of us that have had a broken rib, a nose, an ear drum or being
groggy after a blow or have lost our breath after a blow in the liver area know
very well that it cannot be done.
To conclude, the benefits are bigger than the disadvantages. So, it is a challenge
for us instructors to implement sparring / fighting in the life of women without
pushing them away from Krav Maga.