Photo by Olga Nasalskaya

Kristin Agüero has been practicing Krav Maga for four years. Since she first tried it, she became a Krav Maga instructor at Krav Maga Institute in New York city. She told us about

By Oxana Klokovskaya

How she got into Krav Maga

I started doing Krav Maga four years ago, in 2013. I used to do kickboxing in high school, but I wanted something applicable to street fighting and self-defense. I’d heard about Krav Maga here and there. It kept popping up. I’m not one that believes in fate, but I was like Ah, I keep hearing about this thing. So I took one class and fell in love and never looked back.

I want to try Muay Thai, and I’ve taken a couple of classes of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.  I would love to do more of that.

Why the absence of competitive element in Krav Maga is an advantage

I like that there are no rules in Krav Maga. I don’t like competitive fighting. My other job is a social worker. I work with victims of domestic violence, so I am really anti-violence. For me, competitive fighting is not entertaining the way it is for other people. A big draw of Krav Maga is the real life application. I also felt that I could advance in it without having to go into competition.

The hard part of Krav Maga was getting used to hitting people in the groin and going for what in competitive fighting would be called a "cheap shot" or "dirty fighting." Here it’s just part of the system. Things like trying to train the awareness and the prevention aspect of Krav Maga were new and different. Honestly,  I found the mentality of it harder than the physicality of it.

About her training routine

At first, I was training 4-5 times a week. But then I started teaching, and it got harder to train that often. I take conditioning class twice a week, where it's all about endurance and working on your form. We also have instructor training twice a month.

I like to eat a lot of things and not all of them are conducive to training. However, when I train, all of a sudden I have cravings for healthy food, like salads and vegetables, and fruit. I love that stuff anyway but something about training makes it hard for me to bring myself to eat things that are bad for me. Although I still definitely eat bad stuff too.

About women in the Krav Maga world

In my experience as an instructor, I find that women tend to pick up the movement of Krav Maga faster than the men. Women often have more grace and body agility and are more in tune with their bodies. I think that in something like Krav where the goal is not just hitting but also the defenses and the mentality,  women can do really great at it.

When I joined the instructor team, there were seven of us, and I was the only woman. All the guys treated me like the rest of the team. We all trained the same and we all fought the same. I think the notion that women can’t or shouldn’t do martial arts is BS.

There is this mentality where if you are a fighter you cannot also be feminine. Or if you are feminine you can't be a fighter. Some of women-fighters have changed that perspective and showed that it doesn’t matter how feminine  you are. Being a fighter doesn't take away your femininity.