Club has ‘Bourne’ identity

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No special equipment is required, and participants don’t compete for trophy cups or shields - or earn the right to wear a special kind of belt.

But Krav-Maga is nevertheless steadily gaining a following in Scotland, more as a practical life skill than as any kind of sport.

It was reputedly developed by Jews as as self defence technique in 1930’s Bratislava at a time when anti-Semitic attacks were rife.

Cumbernauld is now one of a small number of locations north of the border able to boast a fully-fledged club dedicated to this fascinating pursuit, and that is a very recent development.

Local man Chris Lewis, a serving police officer, says he hopes the current membership of around 20 (all ages, both sexes) will steadily grow as more people find out about Krav-Maga and what it can offer.

“I have no problem with, say, karate or any of the martial arts,” he says, “but Krav-Maga is purely a self-defence system – it is 100 per cent not a martial art.”

He adds: “It does have a grading system, but some of the most experienced people sometimes choose not to be graded – the competitive sport element isn’t what it’s all about.”

As a discipline in its own right Krav-Maga is initially about how to defuse confrontation situations and solve problems.

But ultimately it is a self defence system which uses natural reactions as a way to resolve conflict.

“It teaches people how to react appropriately to ‘stranger danger’,” says Chris, “and while the ideal is to avoid confrontation if that isn’t possible it teaches effective response.”

Krav-Maga is a great aid to fitness too, he adds, and can be followed by anyone from childhood through to old age – anyone who is reasonably fit can gain from it.

“More than just learning how to do something well as an individual there’s also the companionship you get with a group of like-minded friends,” said Chris.

“It is sociable and stimulating but also very practical.

“Sometimes in life you come across problems you cannot avoid, and that is where its usefulness really comes into play.”

The Cumbernauld club meets and trains locally, and there is more information about how to join and what Krav-Maga is about on www.skma.kravmaga.com