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      Krav Maga hits the Lowcountry

      Matt Robinson Demonstrates a Krav Maga takedown on Jon Bruce.

      By Jon Brucejbruce@abcnews4.com

      CHARLESTON, S.C (WCIV) -- From the deserts of the Middle East, to the octagon of ultimate fighting, Krav Maga is now one of the leading techniques when it comes to self-defense - and now it has a home in the Lowcountry.

      Tenacity, training, and technique -- all what it takes to be a fighter -- attributes Matt Robinson, owner and instructor at Charleston Krav Maga knows all too well from his time in the cage.

      "When I used to compete, I would feel like a different person," Robinson said.

      And these days he is a different person, using his 20 plus years of experience in martial arts and self-defense to teach others how to protect themselves.

      His method of choice -- Krav Maga, a self-defense technique invented by the Israeli military that focuses on real world situations and how to make it out alive -- situations like having a gun pointed in your face or an assault from multiple attackers. Over and over again, Robinson and his students practice punches, grips and takedowns.

      "Krav Maga is very easy to learn." Robinson said. {}"That's the beauty of the system. It's not one of those things that takes 10-20 years to get proficient at, you can become proficient in a couple of months."

      And students are flocking to his West Ashley gym eager to learn.

      Robinson says with crime and the types of crime escalating nationally and in the Lowcountry, more and more people want to be ready.

      "Nowadays, these attacks have become more and more violent, and you have to meet that with maximum aggression and desire to defeat your enemy, so to speak, and go home safe," he said.

      James Dessassure has been taking Krav Maga classes for the past four months.

      As a pizza delivery driver, Desassure's job can take him to some pretty frightening places.

      "It's scary," he said. It's dark, and people are sitting outside. You have to hope that they aren't going to do anything, and if they do, you have to be prepared for it."

      Earlier this year, another delivery driver, 20-year-old Maraleius Birdsong, was shot and killed in North Charleston.

      Dessassure doesn't want to be a victim.

      And while the workouts are intense, Robinson says his classes are for everyone, from experienced fighters to beginners. {}

      "It's not a place where you are going to get punched in the face and go home with bruises and black eyes. We don't' do that here," he said.

      What they do is instruct and inspire.

      "I've had a couple of other people write me letters and saying they had been attacked before taking the class. Now, with taking our classes, they know they will no longer be a victim again," Robinson said. {}"They know that they can do something now to protect themselves, and they will never be a victim again."

      Robinson says he's trained several law enforcement agencies, members of the Air Force and even a few celebrities.

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