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  • Donna

These Hands Aren’t Made for Fighting

Updated: Nov 26, 2020


In my first Krav Maga class, the instructor emphasized the importance of remaining calm regardless of the stress you’re under. To illustrate, he approached a student and said, “Take Greg here. Greg, do you mind if I slap you in the face?”

Greg smiled and obliged, and the instructor proceeded to slap him. “You see, now Greg can’t get all angry because then I have the control.” He continued with this line of instruction, slapping Greg in the face three more times and punching him in the chest for good measure.

Is it wrong that that made me laugh?

This week I attended my second class, and chose a women-only session to see if the tone might be a little different. We all lined up against the wall, as I’ve learned is customary, and waited for the instructor to say something. “This is not an ‘Aww, how are you feeling?’ class. There’s no ‘Are you doing okay?’” he told us. “Be strong. If you hurt your arm, don’t use it, but keep going.”

Okay then.

As a former rugger, that mentality is actually pretty appealing to me. So halfway into the class, after battering my partner’s pads with ill-placed hammer fists, I was in the proper mindset to respond with “Hmm, guess so…” when she asked if my hand was bleeding. I looked down in response to her question and yep, sure was. And my fingers were developing some interesting shading.

Didn’t hurt, so I kept going. Hitting things is fun.

The next day, I looked like I’d been in a bar fight. It was mostly cosmetic and a reflection of bad aim, because it didn’t hurt much and there were bruises on parts of my hand that never should’ve hit anything. I couldn’t help but smile. After rugby games, my friends and I used to look battered, with our black eyes and bruised arms. Now I looked like a batterer, and my hands certainly viewed me that way.

I think I may have heard the little mottled mouths of my broken blood vessels shouting “What the hell do you want from us?” and “I don’t like who you become when you buy Groupons.”

Yeah, these hands aren’t made for fighting. But I do want to know how, just in case I need it. So buck up hands. Be strong. We’re going back on Monday.


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