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More Phoenix-area women learning Israeli self-defense system Krav Maga

PHOENIX — Krav Maga, a self-defense system used by armed forces in Israel, is starting to become very popular among women in the Phoenix area.

Krav Maga (pronounced “KROV muh-GAH”) means “contact combat” in Hebrew.

“In the military in Israel, men and women have to serve,” Derrek Hofrichter, the owner and chief instructor at East Valley Krav Maga, said.

“(Krav Maga) was a system that was created from the ground up with females in mind.”

Students at Hofrichter’s business near near Apache Boulevard and McClintock Drive in Tempe are taught how to use their bodies to disable attackers long enough to get away.

East Valley Krav Maga conducts about 50 classes a week for about 500 students. Most of the students at his Tempe studio, Hofrichter said, are women and a growing number attend nearby Arizona State University.

“We’ve been getting a lot of requests at Arizona State University, to come over and do seminars,” he said. “A lot of the sororities have reached out to us.”

A study from the National Council for Home Safety and Security ranked ASU’s Tempe campus as one of the worst in the nation for personal and property security.

It ranked 187 out of 200 colleges surveyed, according to the latest data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting and the U.S. Department of Education’s Campus Safety Security Survey.

Hofrichter said the growing interest in Krav Maga also reflected a bigger societal trend.

“There is just this growing movement that self-defense training is as important as going to the gym, eating healthy,” he said. “It all kind of goes into a balanced way to be healthy, and to protect yourself.”

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