Tempe Self Defense Gym Teaches Women the Confidence to Stay Safe

Tempe Self Defense Gym Teaches Women the Confidence to Stay Safe


            Tempe Israeli self defense gym reaches their six year anniversary as they continue to teach female students how to deter attackers and gain confidence.

            East Valley Krav Maga, located off of McClintock and Apache, teaches students the self defense system known as krav maga. Translating from Hebrew as contact combat, krav maga was created by the Israeli military for their soldiers.

            “All the main reasons why it made such a good system for the soldiers are the same reasons it makes a good system for us,” said EVKM owner Derrek Hofrichter.

            Along with combatives and fighting techniques, EVKM teaches students how to be confident and self aware of their surroundings.

            “It’s really the confidence that women receive from all the self defense training. It helps them avoid certain people, leave parties when they feel uncomfortable, and say no more forcefully in situations. All those extra benefits you get from self defense are so important for females,” said Hofrichter.

            According to a survey conducted by the Association of American Universities, 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted during their four years on campus. At Arizona State University, 3.1% of female students reported that they experienced a sexual assault event in the past year.


            “As a victim of sexual assault during my undergrad, it helped me understand that anything can happen,” Stephanie Schaffner, student and instructor at EVKM, said. “My main drive to learn krav maga was to exercise and make new friends while also learning how to protect myself in a realistic form. It wasn’t until I realized how much I was driven by the latter,” Schaffner added.

            At EVKM, female students learn various techniques such as how to handle being grabbed by an attacker. Hofrichter said that learning how to deal with someone who grabs a piece of clothing, backpack, and purse or throws you down to the ground is one of the best things for a female to learn.

            Sara Yee, an ASU student and EVKM instructor, dealt with a situation where she was grabbed by someone while studying abroad in Tanzania.

            “He was obviously intoxicated and started to follow me and my group of friends trying to sell us something. At first we tried to just get away but then he grabbed my arm so I had to use a wrist release technique and yell at him to get away,” Yee said. “If I wasn’t trained in krav maga I think it would have been a lot more difficult for me to have the confidence to stand up for myself,” Yee added.

            EVKM offers a free trial class to anyone that wishes to try out krav maga. Hofrichter also noted that they visit ASU’s campus very frequently and welcomes any sorority group to contact him for a free self defense seminar.

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