Self-defence – we all know we should get around to learning a few skills, but then we don’t. Because… life. But all too often, a situation that could’ve been defused with a few key moves ends in tragedy.

I believe that every woman in South Africa – actually every woman in the world – should take a krav maga class. Yes, that means you too. Here’s why…

Firstly, what is krav maga?

Krav maga is not your typical kick-ass class. It’s more than that.

It’s an actual military self-defence and fighting system developed for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and Israeli security forces, derived from a combo of super-slick techniques hand-picked from other fighting styles (boxing, wrestling, aikido, judo, karate).

It sounds scary – and it can be in the beginning – but repetition of key moves leads to instinctual defence… and that’s where krav shines.

READ MORE: This self-defence move can help you get out of a choke hold

Now before you start backing away slowly, know this: It’s hardcore… but it’s doable. The original point of krav was to take the most simple, practical techniques of the above-mentioned fighting styles and to make them “teachable” to military conscripts – fast.

It clearly worked because now there are organisations teaching variations of krav maga to regular folks all over the world. The best part – you can take classes in SA. Like Truekrav in Cape Town.

READ MORE: 9 things you should never do if you get attacked on your walk or run

What a regular krav maga class is actually like…

Just like any fitness class, you’ll start with a warm-up. Once warm, the technique you’ll be focusing on that day (say, disarming and escaping an attacker wielding a knife) is demonstrated by the instructor.

The technique will be broken down into a sequence of moves, which you master one at a time and build on in groups of two (alternating attacker and attacked).

From thinking what to actually doing the move smoothly and, most importantly, instinctually by the end of class is an incredible feeling. And a powerful tool.

READ MORE: The self-defence move every woman should know for dangerous situations

The outcome: You’re prepared both mentally and physically for an attack in reality.

And it runs the gamut of potential “situations”: hand-to-hand, knife stabs and slashes, being held at knife- or gunpoint, handgun disarms, rifle disarms and disarming of an attacker who uses a baton, bat, stick, club, screwdriver, bottle, you name it.

Specifically, for women, they cover rape-defence. Plus: You’ll learn to use a firearm under pressure, which leads me to two critical points…

The “mock attack” feels real

There are two things that really set krav maga apart. Firstly, simulated attacks feel real.

Your sparring partner is not gently grabbing you from behind – they’re doing it like they mean it.

So you don’t walk out a class feeling like you can take down an attacker after a “play fight”. You actually stand a fighting chance.

READ MORE: The throat-punching move that saved Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters from hijackers

What’s also really clever about the training is that in between full-on fight-or-flight training, rather than being given a time-out, you’re on the floor pumping out push-ups or burpees.

Why? Because you need to know how to fight back on a seriously depleted energy store.

Because that’s how it is in reality. [Side note: You do get water breaks too. Promise.]

When I walked out of the class every Wednesday alone onto a blackened street, I knew that if someone attacked me, I stood a very real chance of surviving.

Give yourself that chance too. Book a free trial at Truekrav. It could just save your life.

This article was originally published on Women's Health