Greetings, my name is Lauren Cortez and this is my general – but candid – testimony of my STW Krav Maga self-defense journey.  My introduction to Krav Maga came from my father who was stationed in Iraq with a Krav Maga instructor. When my father returned home he constantly urged me to learn to appropriately defend myself in the event of a physical attack, so I decided to look into it.

I was incredibly apprehensive due to my fear of getting physically hurt and even finding the time to train properly. Time passed and I realized that I needed a beneficial change in my life that could be systematically put into action when needed. In short, I desired a challenge that wasn’t academically or professionally related.

My curiosity overcame my apprehensions, and I started learning about the history and benefits of Krav Maga.  I made the decision to enroll after appropriately educating myself about Krav Maga and interviewing existing members. Also, having a supportive family helped me decide to get started.

My first Krav Maga Level 1 class was with instructor Rube Rodriguez; he was clear, consistent, knowledgeable and professional. As his student, I felt that he created a welcoming environment conducive to learning. During this class, I had the pleasure of meeting Jenn Mack, who later convinced me to enroll into the Phase A course. Luckily, Jenn ended up being my class partner on several occasions and my testing partner.

During the Phase A course Rube – along with Art, Jesse, Marisa and Juan – challenged me to be mentally and physically prepared during various scenarios and simulated attacks. Also, with the assistance of my Phase A partners, Jenn and Veronica Haines, I was motivated to stay rational and reflect on the real purpose of being there.

On test day I was quite nervous about being able to demonstrate and put into practice all of the information I had previously learned. During the test, I increasingly gained confidence in my abilities and I realized the importance of protective gear. Also, I surprised myself with my apparent untapped stamina. I was fortunate to have Jenn as my testing partner because she remained supportive and patient during the exam.

After receiving my passing results of the Phase A course, I realized that I was physically and mentally stronger than I had previously thought. Attaining the mentality and attitude of fighting for your life, while building endurance definitely changed my overall general perspective. As a current Phase B student, I am proud of the decision I made in choosing Krav Maga and training at STW.