Kick Butt, Take Names


Courtesy of Koa Tactical Training

Self-defense class in progress

Walking into KOA Tactical Solutions in Kapolei, I had a great expectation to learn how to kick butt and take names, judging by the air soft guns on the walls, foam floor mats, and bootcamp style exterior, I was charged up and ready to go. But I quickly realized, I was a fish out of water and had no idea what I was doing, let alone how to stand.

The most self-defense many women receive when they are younger, and carry into adulthood, is kick a man in his groin and run away, or just scream and run away. After realizing I had no way of defending myself and had zero self-defense training in my life, outside of learning how to shoot a 9mm handgun in the Navy, I was a bit concerned. Naturally, concerned for my safety and concerned at how little I knew about self-defense.

“I saw the need that civilians, people who have never served, us living in Hawaii, people get into this mindset that we live in this paradise, the things that happen in the mainland won’t happen here,” said Michael “Havoc” Thomas, instructor and director of Training Operations for KOA Tractical Solutions.

KOA Tactical Training, a subset under KOA Tactical Solutions, offers a wide range of defense training and courses. The self-defense course I took was the Women’s All Scenario Protection (WASP) offered at eight-week intervals  for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Based on the Krav Maga fighting discipline, according to KOA Tactical Training, WASP is designed to give every participant confidence in being able to handle herself in any situation.

I walked in with confidence until my 5-foot-2 frame was flipped on to my back in a matter of seconds … by a fifth grader.

“I’m not teaching you how to hit back,” Thomas, who has 13 years of combative experience, said. “People need the confidence to know [how to survive an encounter]. … We teach knife self-defense, and if someone’s holding you at gunpoint and giving you the opportunity to take the gun then in Krav Maga, we’ll teach how to take the gun away from them.” 

With encouragement from Thomas and the other people in my class, slowly but surely I began to see that it’s not about my size or my strength, it’s about my technique and doing the moves correctly. With great instruction and the little understanding I had of the fighting discipline, Krav Maga, I felt empowered. And after a few practice rounds I got my fifth-grade “attacker” on her back and a “good job” from Thomas.

“You are not in a helpless situation and that’s what I love about Krav Maga,” Thomas said. “It is very offensive even though you are using it for self-defense.”

I left the class feeling a little more confident but also with the realization of why this course, not just a class here and there, is so important. Self-preservation is key. We talk about fitness, eating healthy, and connection with our friends and family, but rarely do you hear people talk about self-defense. Women should learn how to defend themselves, it could be the difference in surviving an encounter or not.

KOA Tactical Training offers a wide range of defense training and courses to include Home Invasion Defense, Krav Maga Combatives Course, and of course WASP. The WASP eight-week course is located in Kapolei.

According to KOA Tactical Training’s Facebook page , ladies who bring three friends will get half off their class. If your friend brings 3 friends, her class will be 50% off and if you bring 5 friends, then your class is free. The class is capped at 10 but accommodations for larger groups can be made.

For more information visit Koa Tactical Training and Koa Tactical Solutions at their facebook page @KoaTacticalTraining and @KoaTacticalSolutions.