Surviving Close Calls

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YOU can be the victim or you could fight back. Armed with Krav Maga skills, Edwin Peng reckons your attacker might rue his decision to go on the offensive.

Real world solutions for real world problems, that’s what Krav Maga can provide you says Edwin Peng, Chief Trainer and proprietor of Krav Maga Culture. Peng takes self-defence and the responsibility vested in him to keep his students safe very seriously, “I’m teaching people how to survive a violent confrontation,” he declares.

Peng has been a Krav Maga practitioner for the last decade, having picked it up during his time in the Singapore Armed Forces, where he served with the Commandos for 11 years. He first learnt Krav Maga as part of his training and later became a military Krav Maga instructor. In 2012, he set up Krav Maga Culture, the first school of its kind in Singapore, to promote and teach the fighting system to civilians.

Developed as a military unarmed combat system for the Israeli Defence Forces by founder Imi Lichtenfeld in the late 1940s, Krav Maga was later adapted and modified to suit the needs of civilian self-defence.

Peng says that Krav Maga is based on the idea of doing just enough to save your own life. While the techniques and attacks may be vicious in nature, aiming and exploiting the weak points like the groin and joints of an attacker, Peng says that the system is not based on a doctrine of aggression or violence. He says that it always looks to provide “soft solutions” to escape the situation. “We are teaching people how to de-escalate a situation and prevent a violent confrontation,” he adds.


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However, in times when compliance with an attacker does not work, Peng also teaches “defence principles” capable of solving a variety of problems.

Peng explains that building Krav Maga on top of natural human responses to attacks makes it easy to learn and eventually master its use at the time of need. “If you understand your natural response to being attacked, we can enhance that into a technique.” The natural response of moving away from a knife jab can be enhanced into a deflection technique, a counter attack technique or even a disarming technique. And once students have mastered the core principles, he says that with slight modifications, they can be applied to different situations, be it facing a knife, pistol, or blunt instrument.

With his military background, Peng also says that he has had great success in instilling confidence and discipline in his younger students. “I think the parents actually love it more!” he says with a proud smile. While he allows for a more relaxed and friendly atmosphere during adult classes, Peng adopts a strict and regimental approach when teaching teenagers. “They see a huge change in the child being more disciplined, punctual, respecting other people. That’s the feedback we get from the parents.”

Peng insists that you never know when you might find yourself in a tricky situation. While Krav Maga may not strictly be a form of martial art or combat sport, Peng says it can definitely become a competition. “It is the competition of going home alive.” A competition you cannot afford to lose.

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