One of our Texas friends could write a manual on how to live life to the max. She is whip smart, stays in top shape, participates in some extreme adventures, is a fabulous cook, and enjoys the great outdoors in all its glory. She’s not a big fan of gyms with weights and machines and would rather keep herself in condition by participating in activities with a physical endurance component – like frigid overnights on a mountain after trekking a few miles over challenging terrain to get there.
We chatted over dinner and she mentioned that she was enrolled at a local Krav Maga place, then invited us along to see what it was all about. She wanted Sheila to join in the class, but Sheila only had golf clothes in her suitcase, no workout gear. “Bring your camera,” she said.
Krav Maga (translated from Hebrew) means contact combat. Yup. That’s what the classes involve. It’s a fusion of techniques from boxing, wrestling, and judo, developed for the Israeli Defense Forces, and combined with fight training – with the end goal of self-defense.
The focus is on real-world situations and learning efficient methods to fend off attacks from the bad guys and take control of the direction of the attacks. Originally developed by Hungarian-Israeli martial artist Imi Lichtenfeld in the 1930s, Krav Maga became a practical way to combine other fighting styles (including street fighting) and teach them quickly to the Israeli military. As time passed, other techniques using elbows and knee strikes, low kicks, Aikido and Jiu-jitsu were also included under the broad umbrella of Krav Maga.
Krav Maga has a philosophy emphasizing aggression, and simultaneous defensive and offensive maneuvers. Variations of Krav Maga are now being used by military, law enforcement, and intelligence organizations around the world. The Brits and the US Marine Corps teach their own versions to their recruits.
For the average person off the street, Krav Maga teaches street self-defense using:
Krav Maga also promotes awareness, strength, and self-defense skills specifically for women. Some locations have classes that focus on rape prevention techniques and tactics, to build both inner and outer strength. Women can learn to spot danger signs, but also learn how to defend against common chokes, grabs, bearhugs, and other attacks, including fighting on the ground and when confronted by a weapon. This allows women to leave class feeling safe, strong, and empowered.
The instructor for the class we attended, Nick Delgadillo, emphasized to the Level 1 group that the aim is to “defend and then attack.” As the class continued and various moves were practiced, the mantra, “As I’m striking, I need to improve my position,” became internalized.
Krav Maga is designed to be practical and intuitive for people of any age, shape, or size.
Tips and reinforcements are delivered in a positive way throughout the class:
The progressive curriculum covers the most common types of attacks and threats first, to make students comfortable with using basic blocks, punches, chokeholds, and strikebacks. In later classes, students focus on more violent situations involving weapons, multiple attackers, and ground fighting. Krav Maga students work with each another in reality-based exercises, and the ambience is usually very supportive, yet goal-oriented.
What To Expect
Fully certified instructors guide training sessions and make sure that the environment is open and positive. Krav Maga is designed to teach students self-defense techniques in a short amount of time, with the goal that you should start feeling safer and more confident almost immediately. Students are taught how to react to the initial shock and paralyzing fear that comes with a sudden attack.
A quote from Nick’s website:
“Defending yourself requires that you are able to make an aggressive and violent counterattack. This is one of the ugly realities of self-defense and this is the truly hard part for nice, normal people living in the real world. Come train with us and we’ll teach you how to make an ugly face, hit hard, and go home safe.”
Defense Krav Maga is located at:
4036 Kemp Blvd. Wichita Falls, TX 76308
As of this writing, classes are held:
Krav Maga – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 5:30 PM.
Precision Striking – Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 PM
They’d love to hear from you. Visit the website, www.defensewf.com to check them out. 🙂
Nick Delgadillo is a Starting Strength Seminar Staff Coach, Krav Maga instructor, and Muay Thai and Brazilian JiuJitsu practitioner. He’s been teaching people of all walks of life how to fight and lift for over 10 years. Nick is highly effective in preparing people both mentally and physically for sport, combat, or the game of life.
Notes from Patti:
Nick’s class was astounding in its content. I came away with a sense that this should be the type of self-defense class for me. If I still lived there, I would sign up in a New York minute! Bravo to Nick Delgadillo for empowering the class members, and to V. for taking me to the class. 🙂
The Kerrians are a fictional couple, but the class (V. included) and photos are real.
Banner and Nick’s photo at the end: courtesy of Defense Krav Maga, Wichita Falls, Texas.
Photos of the class members in action: Patti Phillips
The Witness Security Program (WitSec), was started by US Marshal, Gerald Shur, in the late 60s as a way to get witnesses to testify against high-ranking mobsters and still stay alive. While controversial at the outset, there were enough resulting convictions by 1970 to convince government officials to put money into a formal program to help get dangerous criminals off the streets and disrupt their criminal ventures. As WitSec evolved, the safety of family members became part of the package as well.
Why get protection?
What happens to the witness and the family?
Once the witness has agreed to testify, he/she and the family might be placed in the custody of the Marshal service until the trial comes up – sometimes many months – but this may be the only way to keep the witness alive until the court date.
For high profile cases, the U.S. Marshal Service handles 24 hour protection right up until the testimony, then provides new identities and moves everyone involved to an undisclosed location. This location is known only by a handful of government people. If the location is compromised for whatever reason, the US Marshals will find a new location for the family and begin the process again with new identities and jobs.
Once in the new location, average housing is provided, along with job prospects. The monthly stipends continue until the family can support themselves, usually only a few months. Early in the program, there were few monetary limits which led to abuses of the program by seasoned criminals, but that has changed.
Over 18,000 people have been relocated since WitSec began.
Some have left the program voluntarily, finding it too restrictive, and some of those people lost their lives as a result. It’s not a bad deal for some, because they get a truly fresh start away from a bad neighborhood, but for most, it is a drastic change.
It is possible to get kicked out of the program and it has happened. Returning to a life of crime is cause to get booted out, but the rate of recidivism while in WitSec is less than half that of the rest of the formerly incarcerated population. Less than half.
Interesting note: for criminals that testify and are in jail (or about to go there) when they testify, there is a parallel prison system. If they went into the general population, it would be easy to find them and they wouldn’t last long.
A few States (California, Illinois, New York, and Texas) have Witness Protection Systems of their own, but the protections and benefits are limited and less broad in scope.
Nobody who has followed the federal WitSec guidelines has been killed while under the protection, but it’s not easy to walk away from extended family and friends in the middle of the night, never, ever to see them again. Cell phones with the old names and contacts are gone, losing social media is a problem for some, new identities may mean that new careers must be chosen. A familiar lifestyle must be abandoned.
If given a suitcase and told to pack in 20 minutes, what would you take? What could you leave behind?
Additional information can be found at:
Photo credit: US Marshal Service
In the last post, “What does a U.S. Marshal do?” I listed quite a few of the duties that occupy the days of U.S. Marshals working in the various sections of the U.S. Marshal Service.
Part 2 of the series deals with qualifications needed to become a member of the oldest federal law enforcement agency in the United States.
First and foremost, potential candidates must be U.S. citizens and must be between the ages of 21 and 36. There are exceptions to the upper limit, but they are addressed at the time of application.
Before attending academy training, candidates must:
Minimum Fitness Standards for Men (30-39) in order to pass:
Complete 27 pushups, followed by 36 sit-ups, immediately followed by a 1.5 mile run in less than 13 minutes.
The Superior level is pegged at 51 pushups, 50 sit-ups and that same 1.5 mile completed in less than 9 minutes.
Minimum Fitness Standards for Women (30-39) in order to pass:
Complete 14 pushups, followed by 27 sit-ups, with the 1.5 miles finished in less than 16 minutes.
Reaching the Superior level requires more than 22 pushups, more than 41 sit-ups and the 1.5 mile run to be completed in less than 12 minutes.
The other age charts don’t differ all that much. Let’s face it, if 2-3 pushups more or less would make the difference in your candidacy, you probably aren’t ready yet.
If you are at the minimums when passing the Fitness Test, keep in mind that as an overall candidate, the other parts of your resume will need to be much stronger than at the minimum.
Why is it necessary to be in such good shape? The U.S. Marshals in charge of transporting prisoners or apprehending fugitives will need to work in all kinds of extreme weather conditions. The USA has both Alaska and Florida within its borders, with snowstorms, hurricanes, freezing temps as well as sweltering heat to contend with. At times, Marshals may have to wear Kevlar vests in the heat or resist an assault or run for blocks or be in confined spaces with dangerous criminals…you get the idea.
You’ve passed the initial screening and now it’s time for you to:
United States Marshals Service Basic Training Academy is conducted at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), in Glynco, GA. The training is tough and since it is experienced in the intense heat and humidity of the world that is Georgia (USA), potential candidates are warned that top physical condition means just that. To prepare for the intensity of the Academy training, potential candidates are warned to start hydrating weeks before setting one foot at the Center. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, just to stay alive in the brutal summers of the South – forget about all the intense 1 to 10 mile runs combined with workouts, climbing, obstacle courses, and sprints that are coming at unscheduled times during training.
Some of the subjects covered during training include:
There are seven exams given during the 21+ weeks. Each test must be passed with a score of at least 70%. There are additional practical exams scored with a pass/fail.
The subjects covered during training are necessary knowledge that a U.S. Marshal must internalize in order to do his/her job well. Lives depend on doing that job well.
After successfully completing the training program and getting out into the field, U.S. Marshals are required to attend annual training sessions to maintain proficiency in certain areas or to learn new forensic techniques available.
Every six months, re-qualification is required for primary and off-duty handguns, rifles, shotguns, and perhaps submachine or semi-automatic guns if needed.
Once a year, re-qualification is required for batons and stunguns, as well as other non-lethal devices.
After seven years, the Deputy U.S. Marshals attend an advanced basic training session.
Think the training and ongoing retraining is something you could handle? From all reports, the job is an interesting one most of the time. There are reports to file, stake-outs to sit through and occasional boring parts of the work, but although sometimes dangerous, the job of a US Marshal is essential to keep our court and judicial system running smoothly.
For more information, please visit www.usmarshals.gov
Collage of badges edited from the US Marshal website
Middle and bottom badge photos – Wikipedia