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Fordham's Version of Fight Club



Fordham University


Fordham's Version of Fight Club

A Peek into the Self-Defense Class at the Fitness Center


Read time: 5 minutes.

"Are you ready?" were the final words I heard before a grown man dropped me to the floor with a swift kick to my leg. Suddenly, my body slammed against a make shift cushion consisting of a pile of Fordham's dingy yoga mats. I lost some cool kid points, but I got a hell of an adrenaline rush.

Fordham’s fitness center offers a self defense class at 5:30 every Thursday that utilizes the techniques of Krav Maga to help build strength and agility. If you are unfamiliar with the art of Krav Maga, you may be familiar with the movie Enough, starring Jennifer Lopez. Krav Maga is what transformed her into the powerhouse that was able to defend herself against her husband in the final scenes of the movie. That seemingly elusive on-screen strength and confidence can be achieved by students in reality (Disclaimer: it will not make you Jennifer Lopez). It was a class that I pushed to the bottom of my to do list for quite some time, as I imagine is the case for a lot of us. Now that I’ve finally checked it off my list, my only regret is that I waited so long.

Depending on which class you attend, you are likely to be taught by one or two instructors with extensive knowledge of Krav Maga. One instructor, Pat, described the defense technique as “... a very simple and effective combat system”. He went on to explain that it “focuses on five pressure points: eyes, nose, sinus, throat, and ears...and then groin”.

While Krav Maga is a combat strategy, my main take away from the class was not that they expected me to intend on getting into a brawl with an attacker. The emphasis was placed on learning how to protect oneself or how to escape from a threatening situation. Knowing how to defend yourself can be just as useful as knowing how to fight.

Though this class sparks a certain curiosity, it simultaneously seems intimidating. As the session progressed, I would frequently see people peeking in through the glass in an attempt to understand what went on in the class without having to make the full commitment of walking through the door. In fact, only 6 students came to the self-defense class, five of whom were female.

I had the chance to chat with Marielle Zanolli, a junior at Fordham, before the class began.

She explained that, “Some [self defense] classes are harder than others, it just depends on the skills that they’re teaching you, but overall it’s really empowering and it feels good when you finish”.

This particular class focused on teaching us how to drop an attacker to the ground. It was a hands-on learning experience, as the instructors allowed students to use the techniques we learned to drop them to the floor. They taught us things to remember that would keep us safe if someone were to push us to the ground, instructing us to control how we fall by making our butts hit the ground first and keeping our heads tucked in to prevent major injuries. The methods were practical and simple enough that we could walk away with skills that could help us in our everyday lives, even if we only attended one class.

The primary instructor, Gene, informed the class that next time he would be teaching students skills to remember if they were ever encountered by an attacker with a weapon. When first introduced, the fictional simulations presented in class seem so impossible to face on the outskirts of the fitness center’s walls. Despite this, at the end of these classes there is a sense of capability and self assurance that overcomes you, making you more confident in yourself and your ability to react in these frightening situations.

This is a class that everyone should attend at least once, girls and guys. If you’re apprehensive towards going by yourself, drag along your roommate. It’s important we learn lessons that we can place in the back of our minds for possible future use, just in case those imaginary situations shift to a reality at any point in our lives.

The first rule about fight club: Don't talk about fight club. (Whoops)