Be Your Own Hero

A few weeks ago, a student of mine was attacked in the streets of Brooklyn. Her crime was being Jewish. I took a pledge early on in life that I would train anyone who is willing to be trained to protect themselves against evil and make sure that “never again” is not just a hashtag.  While my student told me her story, I became angry at the person who did this to her and also at the society that allows such a horror to occur.

I kept in mind that this is just one more story for the books. One of many.  But this is one more story also shows the importance of self-defense training. Even if you are trying to avoid problems with all your might, sometimes problems have a way of finding you!

I am proud of this student, and many others who have shared their story to help others. 

“My Crime Was That I Walked Past Her”

“I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I am no stranger to the danger of being a religious woman and the violence in the city I grew up in. My job requires me to travel from borough to borough constantly by any means necessary. Whether by train, boat, bus, foot, or once in a while, the luxury of a borrowed car. I travel to beautiful historic neighborhoods, run-down project districts, and institutional living facilities. In short, wherever I’m needed, I go.

It was a Friday, 11:45 am, and I was on my way to the office after a fantastic lesson with a client. I wasn’t distracted by my phone as I looked around the bustling street, enjoying the shopping buzz that was in the air where I was. Out of nowhere, I felt “BAM!” on the back of my upper-thigh midstride. With no conscious thought, my feet immediately planted as I whipped around, not giving my attacker another chance to hit or kick me again. My attacker wasn’t expecting that.

Once confronted and showing I was no victim, my attacker started yelling at me, cursing my very existence, and puffing her chest up to show who was bigger and scarier. My vision narrowed, and all I saw was her. I didn’t hear the shoppers around me, the loud traffic, or notice the crowd of onlookers. While she yelled, I raised my voice louder, not backing down, not showing I was afraid. It went on for a while. Later, I was asked if I had my hands up, ready to fight. The truth is, I don’t know. I most probably did. I remember how grounded and planted my feet were and how I almost wanted her to try and hurt me again. I was so angry and so ready. I remember thinking, “you took the coward way out and hit me while my back was turned; you won’t get another shot, just try and hit me again.”

Once I knew it was safe to leave because she clearly wasn’t coming to attack someone ready for a fight, I left. It took a long time for my body to stop shaking and several days of reflection for me to come to terms with what had happened. While I was left with no physical scars, the emotional trauma was another story. Even now, I cannot wrap my mind around the unprovoked violence and hatred against another human being. It’s funny; the little things we are taught in class sometimes feel like sidebar learning, almost like a suggestion.

People automatically think to excel in martial arts / Krav Maga classes; you need to be strong and know how to throw a punch. Boy, are they wrong. The strength is showing your attacker you aren’t afraid and using your voice. The strength is training your body to take a hit and to react immediately. The strength is controlling your anger, hurt, and fear and not lashing out to hurt the other person unless it’s essential. I can say with 100% certainty that, pre-Krav Maga training, I would’ve probably stumbled, ignored the physical assault, and immediately tried to walk away with no knowledge if the attack would’ve continued or if my opponent had a weapon. The outcome could’ve been very different. As I sit here writing and reflecting, there is one part that I forgot to mention. As I turned away from my attacker, I remember seeing many people who had stopped to watch, but one man stuck out in my mind. I remember thinking he was bigger than myself and my attacker and could’ve intervened. But as the thought entered my head, it quickly left. I smiled to myself because I didn’t need him.
I didn’t need anyone to save me. I could protect myself, and you can too.

Learn how to be your own hero.


Do something amazing!

Tsahi Shemesh

CEO & Founder
Krav Maga Experts