Trying Out A Free Week Class

Four years at UBC and I’d never tried a UBC Recreation Free Week class. That all changed when I stepped into a Krav Maga self-defense class on a sunny Monday afternoon. Here’s how it went.

As I walked into the SRC at the end of my day, I didn’t know what I’d be getting myself into. I headed down the hall towards the dojo and joined the line-up. After reaching the front and signing a waiver, I headed in through the doors.

There were already 20 or so people mingling on the padded floors when I entered. I stuffed my bag on the shelf and took off my shoes before stepping up to join everyone. The room was buzzing with energy. By the time we started, the dojo was packed with around 40 people.


Heading into the dojo

The instructors, Louisa and James, began the class with some impressive demonstrations showing the full impact of some Krav Maga moves. They both have multiple black-belts and they clearly knew their stuff.

After a quick warm-up, we started with some basic jabbing and kneeing techniques before moving onto getting out of someone’s unwanted grip. We also got into getting out of a situation where someone was choking you from behind.

They were extremely thorough in breaking down the moves slowly before we paired up and tried the routines ourselves. While we were practicing, they were weaving through the crowd giving helpful tips and feedback.


Instructors Louisa Weizmann and James Chartier

The last thing we learned was to disarm someone who was holding a gun to our face. That was something I didn’t expect to be doing in the first class. Everything I learned in that short amount of time was extremely empowering.

After the class, I caught up with a fellow Free Week first-timer, Merri Tan, a third-year student. “That was so much fun! I didn’t think that was what it was going to be like at all”, she told me. We both agreed with how pleasantly surprised we were with how the class went and we chatted about which class to try next.


“I want to try Zumba next!” – Merri Tan

This was a great first Free Week experience. I met some new people, got my sweat on, and learned something new. If you’re nervous about going into a class alone like I was, don’t worry, you’re going to meet others like you there, and the jitters will go away once the class gets going.

UBC Recreation’s Free Week is on until September 17th, so if you have an hour or so to spare, I’d highly recommend trying something out. There’s another Krav Maga class on September 13th at 4:30 PM if you want to check it out for yourself. View the full Free Week schedule.


Post by Tiffany Zhong, 5th year Arts