SAN ANTONIO —
Self-defense tactics based on the human reaction to stress in an urban warfare environment was the basis of a captivity avoidance course held for a group of U.S. Army South Soldiers at the STW Krav Maga gym July 16 through 18.
Krav Maga, a Hebrew word meaning "contact combat," is an extremely aggressive non-competitive defensive tactic system developed and used by the Israeli Defense Forces.
It was created so that regardless of age, gender or level of fitness, a person can learn the system in a relatively short period of time, about 10 to 12 weeks.
"Army South has an area of responsibility that gives them a work commute into Central and South America and the Caribbean," said retired Col. Rick Bassett, a student instructor who recently retired from Army South after a 30-year Army career.
"These Soldiers become targets for captivity, whether they want to be or not," Bassett said.
One Krav Maga principal is to end a fight as quickly as possible. It focuses on real-world situations and efficient, brutal counter-attacks to the face, neck, groin, knees and eyes, as well as constant striking and kicking to get loose from an attacker.
"This particular class is ideal for any government employee that is going to go out of the country and into a hostile environment," said Pete Hardy, owner and chief instructor at the Krav Maga facility.
"This give them skills that if they are in an area where they could possibly be kidnapped," Hardy said. "Whether they are armed or unarmed, they will have the skills to prevent that from happening."
"This class enhances SERE (Survival Evade Resist Escape) training," said John Sanders, personnel recovery for Army South. "It's a great workout and it keeps you on your toes. I hope I never have to use it, but if I do, it will come as an instinct."
In his past 15 years as an instructor, people have come back to Hardy to tell him they had to use these techniques which probably saved their lives.
"Showing people they have the ability to get out of a dark place, like a survivor, saves lives by giving them a level of confidence that they've never had before," Hardy said.
"The message I want to get out about Krav Maga is that we are not a sport system, we are a survival system," Hardy added.
"We put no limitations on you what so ever on how to survive an attack where it's probably going be an attack that's going to put you in the hospital or end your life."