This is great! I have a Martial Mate... a Fighting Friend... Bushido Buddy?
The class starts with a warm-up: the usual stretches and exercises before moving straight on to pad work, and combination punches. Roger explains the mechanism of the punch, striking area and torque well and spends time with each pair making sure they have understood the distance and force required. After basic punches we move onto adding an exit to the strike. This is where KM really seperates from all of the sport Martial Arts. The techniques are short, fast and always end with an escape, so it really is much more self-defence oriented than many Arts purport to be. Once we've mastered two strikes and out, we move on to adding a counter-strike on the exit to debilitate the attacker.
Roger also briefly covers the psychology of using anger appropriately and encourages us to work up our aggression in the moment. This is one area that I felt I needed to understand more about and hope it's covered in more detail in future classes. As well as hand-to-hand combat, the syllabus also covers weapons and there is a grading system based loosely on belts although belts are not worn (I believe there are 5 or 6 grades to Instructor level)
There's no real etiquette in the dojo, students go off to take a break, drink water or even answer their phones throughout the class, but Roger commands a healthy respect and everyone is polite and friendly. For those of us who enjoy the artistic side of the Arts, or who want a little Kata and competition this isn't for you. But if your motivation for going to class is to learn practical self-defence skills then I would heartily recommend KM over Karate, TKD or Kung Fu and it's also a good workout for your upper body too.
Tom was impressed enough to want to sign up for more classes, and I think Krav Maga will appeal to people who want techniques that work, and none of the slightly effected methods that some Martial Arts can develop.
I do know that after a few more classes I'll think twice before tapping Tom on the shoulder in the street!