YouTuber Laurie Shaw's previous 30-day challenges have seen him taking on a wide range of fitness routines, including calisthenics training and running a mile every day to see how much he can improve his time. He has also spent entire months throwing himself into various martial arts disciplines, including Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
In his most recent video, Shaw commits to training between four and six times per week in Krav Maga, the self-defence technique taught to soldiers in the Israeli military which combines elements of multiple different martial arts. His aim is to go from knowing "quite literally nothing" about this fighting style on Day 1, to being able to demonstrate his progress on Day 30.
"It's good physical exercise," he says after his first class. "I think with any new sport, it's a very specific type of fitness, so I'm looking forward to getting a bit more fit." (continued below)
The first week of classes covers the combative elements of Krav Maga, i.e. striking. In the second week Shaw learned various chokes and holds, then in week three he took on weapons defense, and finally in week four he learned ground work, or grappling. This is typically then repeated over a 16-week course to drill in those skills.
"I was originally comparing Krav Maga to other martial arts that I've done, but I've realised that Krav Maga isn't a martial art, it's not a sport, because there cannot be rules in a pure self-defense fighting system, because in real-life situations, which is what Krav Maga tries to replicate, there are no rules," he says.
This means that much of the training Shaw undergoes is designed for practical purposes, with the aim of getting out of a fight as quickly as possible. "If you're stuck in the attack, react as quick as you possibly can and try and close the distance," he says. "Once you close the distance, you reduce the power of the punch."
On Day 30, Shaw steps into the ring and has to defend himself against several consecutive opponents using all of the skills and instinctive reactions he has picked up over his 20+ sessions. He successfully fends off a series of attacks, although he also acknowledges that a real-life conflict would be very different.
"One of the main things I've learned is to avoid a fight at pretty much all costs," he says. "If you can deescalate the situation, that's almost always the better decision."
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