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Woodbury police receive street-fighting training W/VIDEO

Instructor Michael Rozin teaches Woodbury police officers one of the Krav Maga moves at a training session last week. Bulletin photo by Riham Feshir2 / 3
Woodbury police officers learn how to fight using Krav Maga techniques. Bulletin photo by Riham Feshir3 / 3

A self-defense system originated on the streets of Europe and used by the Israeli Defense Forces came to Woodbury last week.

Woodbury police officers were trained in "Krav Maga" Tuesday, July 31, where instructor Michael Rozin showed them the intense training mechanism that was once used to fight the Nazis.

Krav Maga, the Hebrew word for contact combat, was developed by martial artist Imi Lichtenfeld in the 1930s and 40s.

The man who was born in Hungary and raised in a Jewish family, engaged in a number of altercations with the Nazis in Eastern Europe, according to the Krav Maga Federation.

Lichtenfeld and other young Jewish men attempted to protect their community from the attacks, which then led to the development of Krav Maga.

"As a Jewish kid, he had to learn how to fight on the streets," Rozin said.

Krav Maga is a holistic, complete self-defense system that's used by a number of law enforcement agencies across the country, he said.

Anyone can do it, regardless of size, strength or fitness, Rozin added.

"It's very simple, easy to retain and apply under stress on the field," he said.

The official self-defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces is used by members of the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service and the United States military, as well as a number of other law enforcement agencies around the world.

Dave Brennan, defensive tactics coordinator for the Woodbury Public Safety Department, said when local officers tried out the training at one of the classes, they thought it would be beneficial to bring it to the rest of the team.

Andy Welch, who took one of the classes prior to last week's session, said Krav Maga eliminates the technical things out of self-defense training.

"There is no magic move or anything that you need to do," he said.

But the students and instructor all emphasized that it's still effective.

"It's not theoretical or hypothetical, it's field-tested," Rozin said.

When it comes to law enforcement training, Krav Maga teaches officers how to deal with assaults, handgun threats, chokes, attacks with weapons, knives and sticks.

The uniqueness of the system, Rozin said, comes from the ability to use one defense tactic against multiple attacks.

Like in the "360 degree defense" he showed Woodbury officers last week.

It's when a series of steps are performed quickly by the upper as well as the lower body to prevent an attacker from causing more harm.

"One movement, you learn how to defend yourself against punches, kicks, knives, sticks," Rozin said.

He trained two different groups of officers last week and will be in Woodbury again Tuesday, Aug. 14 to conduct more training.

After the four-hour class, the officers participated in a drill where they got to use their training to fight criminals on the streets.

In a video of the training above, Michael Rozin demonstrate the importance of yelling while fighting to help avoid running out of breath and collapsing, as well as maintain the level of intensity.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.