Getting Attacked On The Way To Work. This The Reality Of NYC 2023

I have been getting a lot of emails from students recently, sharing their experience of the commute in NYC’s public transportation.
Here’s another attack that you won’t see in the stats of the NYPD for 2022, yet this, and many others alike, happen daily but won’t count in any report. Why? Because these incidents aren’t “big enough” to complain about, and the legal system is overwhelmed with attacks that seem to be more “important.”

In my mind, I see a solution; The way out of this violence is with proper education on tolerance but also teaching the public (ideally starting at a young age) self-defense skills. I know some of the readers will immediately rebut it and say, “you may also train the violent people how to be more effective.” 

“ It was a typical Monday morning.  I begrudgingly got up early and made my way to Elaine’s 7 AM Krav Maga class.  Immediately after, it was a mad dash to get to work.  I was lucky; an express train was getting ready to depart from the 96th street station.  So in true New Yorker fashion, I ran down the stairs to catch it.  At the same time, a woman was running down the subway platform to get on the same train car I was entering.  Unfortunately for her, she was running on the yellow bump strip on the platform and tripped and fell.  My immediate response was to ask if she was okay and if she needed help.  So I did.  She didn’t say anything.  She just got up, and we were now both standing in the subway car.  Her response next came as a surprise.  “Why did you push me?!  You b*tch!”  Then a fist came swinging.  She managed to just hit my ear.


One swing, and then she found a seat on the train and seemingly went about her day as if her response was utterly ordinary.
I didn’t expect such a response. If the situation were the other way around, it wouldn’t even cross my mind to hit someone. I responded based on my values and worldview – assuming I was not in danger. I guess I automatically assumed we have similar values.
It was a good reminder of what is constantly and repeatedly told in class – you are not getting ready for a fight with “friendly people” but against those who see the world differently than you.


While this all unfolded, I tried to explain that I didn’t push her.  But I quickly realized there wasn’t anything to gain in engaging.  There are two sides to every story, and we clearly had very different perceptions of what just happened.  She was now sitting in her seat, so I made my way down the moving subway car away from her.  I thought the best thing I could do was step away from the situation and put physical distance between us.


Now that there was a buffer of people between us, my mind started racing.  Replaying the incident. Analyzing each move and every second.  

At first, I was rattled but alert.  “What the heck just happened?! Is she going to try and hit me again?”

Then I was a bit disappointed in myself.  “I literally just left a Krav Maga class.  This is what we train for.  I should have been prepared for this scenario. How did I not see this coming?!”

As I was standing in the subway car for what seemed like the longest ride ever, a few people around me commented.  “She’s crazy.” “People are nuts.” or just nodded in agreement. But in truth, no one was helpful; no one stepped up and offered real help. 

I reached out to friends on my commute, and a few asked if I went to the police.  That wasn’t my first instinct, and the train was already moving with both of us on it.  I just wanted to get home at this point.  But eventually, I got off the train, found an officer, and while I was physically fine, I thought I should report it for some sort of crime statistics or public awareness.  Because I was okay, I was told there was really not much they could do.  

I still think about what happened and what I could have done differently – but hindsight is 20/20.  I can’t and couldn’t have predicted how other people are going to act in any situation – the attacker, bystanders, or the police.  What I can do is make sure I have the tools for when unpredictable things happen.  I may not have seen the first punch coming, but I was ready for the second.  Thankfully the situation didn’t escalate any further, and I made it back home safely.” 

 To sum it up, I would simply say, be your own defense. Don’t expect someone else to do it for you. It may not be easy, but it will definitely be worth it. In other words, better sore than sorry.

Do something amazing,

Tsahi Shemesh
Founder & CEO
Krav Maga Experts