Finding Confidence and Community Through Krav Maga at The Y

Have you ever thought about taking up self-defense classes, but hesitated to take the leap? Maybe you were unsure where to start or whether it would truly make a difference. 

Well, we invite you to be inspired by one family’s journey into the world of Krav Maga at The Y, and how it not only brought them closer together, but how it helped bolster both a sense of self and a sense of community. 

But first, a brief primer on Krav Maga, a self-defense system developed in Israel designed with the aim of swiftly and efficiently neutralizing threats. Drawing inspiration from boxing, wrestling, judo, and karate, it emphasizes instinctive movements and counterattacks. But perhaps most importantly, Krav Maga is designed specifically to suit individuals of all ages and fitness levels, fostering both physical strength and mental resilience, which can then be applied to challenging situations out in the real world.

“We had been searching for a Krav Maga program for a while,” says Judy Hagshi, whose family of five, including husband Glenn Nashen, their two daughters (ages 20 and 23), and son (age 15) all currently meet each Monday for Krav Maga at the Y.

“I wanted my daughters, one of whom lives outside the house, to feel safe and comfortable on campus,” Judy continues. “And it’s turned out to be such a confidence booster, for all of us. Immediately, the first thing we learned was how to hold yourself, how to walk, and right away, it made you feel like, Okay, I’m in control.”

Eventually, the family found itself immersed in a welcoming community of people from all walks of life. And while initially it was all about learning self-defense techniques, the family quickly discovered what amounted to an incredible bonding experience. 

Indeed, what truly sets The Y’s Krav Maga program apart is the sense of community it fosters. “In our classes, we found people of all ages and backgrounds coming together to learn and grow. There’s something special about seeing families train together, cheering each other on, and supporting one another through every drill. It’s a reminder that we’re all in this together, regardless of our differences,” says Judy.

“There are times where before a session, we’ll feel a bit sluggish from the day,” she continues. “But as soon as we step onto that mat, that energy shifts. There’s a sense of excitement and anticipation in the air, knowing that we’re about to challenge ourselves and learn something new. And after each session, we leave feeling energized and empowered, ready to take on whatever comes our way.”

“What keeps us coming back to The Y isn’t just the quality of the instruction or the effectiveness of the techniques,” says Judy. “It’s the sense of belonging and support that we find here. Despite diverse backgrounds and skill levels, we come together as one community, sharing our energy and learning from each other.”

With thanks to Judy Hagshi, Glenn Nashen, and their three children for sharing their experience with us.

Curious about Krav Maga? Spring Programming registration opens on April 1 for Y Members and April 4 for everyone else.! Visit our Recreation guide today. 

Book a tour at The Y Fitness Centre and get a complimentary Y Fit Day Pass.