Jade’s Journey to Krav Maga
Krav Maga is an ancient form of self-defence, originally used within the Israeli military. When translated from Hebrew it means ‘contact combat’. The fighting technique is a mixture of judo, boxing and many other martial art forms, only more intense and harder to progress in. It focuses on real life situations and realistic fighting techniques that would be most effective in hand to hand combat. However, in the past it has been very controversial as it could cause extreme injuries to your opponent and quite deadly if used incorrectly, so not many people are able to get past the first level. When the fighting skill is taught to civilians they are only meant to use Krav Maga as a form self-defence.
Jade Okuyiga is 37 years old and this past march achieved his brown belt in Krav Maga, one stop away from the most coveted black belt. During the day, he works as a business analyst in the City and twice a week he goes to a Krav Maga training session in his local leisure centre. ‘The reason, I started my Krav Maga journey back in 2014 was originally as a way of keeping fit for a new year’s resolution. I wanted to do something unconventional and fun to keep me interested. In past years, I’ve started the gym and gone on juice cleanses, but I couldn’t stick to any of them because they get so boring and mundane’.
Jade’s wife of 16 years Alice, comments on her husband’s new hobby ‘at first I honestly thought he’d quit by February and move on to the next craze, but he stuck with it. From the 4th/5th month into the training, I could see the difference in Jades life. He was a lot fitter, he seemed a lot calmer and disciplined’.
Just like in most sports the aim is to progress to a harder higher level in order to challenge and push yourself. Krav maga uses a grading system similar to karate and other martial arts, where students use coloured belts as milestones and a visual reminder of how far they’ve progressed. Every student starts on a white belt and gradually moves through colours yellow, orange, green, blue, brown and finally black. However, there are various stages of a black belt that a student must go through before completing the whole course and have the title ‘ultimate black belt’. Alice reminisces about jades grading ceremony ‘I remember when he passed his grading test, I think he went from white to orange(yellow), I was so proud. That’s when I knew he’d stick with it, he is being recognised for his accomplishments and that would motivate him persevere with the training’.
On occasions, Jade works an extra security job in central London, with his good friend Raphael, he was the one to introduce Jade to Krav Maga back in 2014. ‘working as a bodyguard at some nightclubs can be very dangerous, and there’s been many cases where people have sued the bodyguards for doing their jobs. So, any form of professional self-defence classes are beneficial and allows us to do our job better, they also reduces the risk of a lawsuit or any unneeded physical altercations.’
Jade is hoping that by the end of 2017 he would have levelled up to black belt so that he can start 2018 on the last leg of his Krav Maga journey. ‘It’s a very scary time to live in London, the threat levels are high and criminals/terrorists are unpredictable, anything can happen at any time. Krav Maga has not only given me a way of keeping fit but also has made me feel more confident in keeping my family safe and protecting them.’
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