As a general rule, we all avoid getting hurt in any way. No reasonably normal person enjoys getting hurt and much less having visible bruises on the body. However, if you are committed and consistent with your Krav Maga training, attending many classes during the week and possibly even sparring, then at some point or another you will get bruised. The more you train and interact with different partners, some more aggressive than others, the more likely you will experience bruising. In time you will notice that you care less about bruises because the fear of getting hurt becomes less. You welcome the intensity of the exchange with your partner. After the class, you joke with the very partner that caused you to bruise, and there are no hard feelings because everyone knows this comes with the territory.

The problem is outside the mat when the Krav Maga practitioner goes to work and fellow co-workers see the bruises. If they’re not into any form of fighting they might not understand the practitioner’s mindset and may have an unfavorable opinion. Is this guy or girl violent? Does he or she have anger management issues? Will he or she fly into a rage and attack fellow co-workers? And if it’s a woman with the bruises, is she lying about being a so-called Krav Maga fighter and trying to cover for an abusive boyfriend or husband? Maybe the Human Resources department has to be notified about a potential problem employee? All these questions stem from total ignorance. The real truth is that a dedicated Krav Maga practitioner is in control and will only fight if he or she feels in any physical danger.  It is natural for fighters to have bruising if they’re dedicated to the discipline and also spar. To think that it is always a boyfriend or husband creating those bruises is actually condescending and disrespectful of her fighting abilities. The problem may be that some of her male co-workers might feel intimidated that a female could actually beat them in a fight if it were to happen. For many guys, especially if they come from cultures where women don’t have a strong voice, this poses an uncomfortable challenge. Rather than acknowledge the truth they might refuse to believe her in order not to feel inferior. They might fall into stereotypes and rationalize she is not a “real woman.”

Whether it’s bruising in male or female, it’s the fruits of your labor. As a Krav Maga fighter, you’re moving forward in your quest to become better every day. You train hard, you engage your partners more effectively as your experience and knowledge grow and you begin to experience what a real fight will be like. As a result of your training, your fear levels lower and you welcome a more spirited exchange with different partners of different levels. It is normal that in that progression eventually, bruises will come into the picture. While it is not something to eagerly look forward to, it is also nothing to shy away from when it happens. For both men and women, it should be a reminder and a reaffirmation of why they’re doing Krav Maga in the first place. You cannot try to adapt to the criteria of those who have no understanding of why you’re involved with Krav because it is you who have to educate them on the matter. If you’re a female fighter then perhaps you want to encourage your female co-workers to also learn self-defense and join the “Bruises Club”. Treat your bruises with humor and at best it will minimize any misunderstanding or false characterization of the subject. Humor can actually be a weapon in your Krav Maga arsenal that should never be underestimated, and perhaps that’s a topic for discussion.