Vicious? Maybe, but Krav Maga is exactly what domestic violence victims need, said instructor Todd Mashburn.
The Bulloch County Sheriff’s captain spent Thursday night teaching women and teens how to defend themselves using the Israeli military system that is a “combination of street fighting and self defense,” he said.
Clients of Safe Haven, a local domestic violence shelter, enjoy outings every month hosted by the Statesboro Service League. Thursday’s class, taught by Mashburn and his wife Skye, also a Krav Maga instructor, was held at the Averitt Center for the Arts.
Before long, Mashburn had the women at ease, trying out moves. When he encouraged them to tap into their inner aggression, they kicked, struck out and even roared.
“Krav Maga is very simple, easy to learn and remember,” he said. “It is designed to work off the body’s natural instinct, trying to capitalize on (reactive movements) instead of strength.”
Mashburn was very clear at the beginning that this was no sissy class. “It’s up front, in your face, gouging their eyes out,” he said. “It is controlled aggression I am looking for.”
He and his wife showed the ladies (and a couple teenage boys) how to throw an effective punch, using body weight and leverage to create power.
“This is the bullet,“ he said, showing his fist, and “this is the gun,” motioning towards the torso.
Each time Skye Mashburn struck a training pad in demonstration, the audible hiss as she expelled her breath shot through the room.
“When you expel that air, it expounds the force of your punch,” Todd Mashburn said.
The art of Krav Maga isn’t about skill or style, it’s about pure defensive reaction.
“I don’t sugarcoat it, I tell it like I see it,” he said. Then he talked about the well-known defensive move he called the “great equalizer.”
Women are usually weaker in strength than men, but one move is sure to bring an attacker to his knees. “When you start taking his manhood and shoving it somewhere near his larynx, it won’t matter how big he is.”
He told the women to remember, when they are in danger, there are no holds barred.
“You are willing to end it, whatever it takes,” he said. “Your goal is to take him off this planet.”
Laurie Bradford, Safe Haven counselor, said the clients requested the course. “We’re finding the world is getting meaner, and they’re vulnerable anyway.”
Lue Ann Roberson said the class empowered her. She didn’t feel confident enough to defend herself before, she said. Being a victim makes you “ feel worthless, helpless.”
Mashburn teaches Krav Maga to the public and said anyone can take the course, regardless of age or athletic ability. While he works full time with the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Department, he said Sheriff Lynn Anderson is “very supportive of me doing this. He likes for us to be part of community outreach,” such as the free class he gave to the Safe Haven clients.
Mashburn can be contacted at (912) 764-5425 or email@example.com.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.