Born in a small Danish village to the large and busy The Hague. We speak with Michael Lund Nielsen about his past as a police officer and the combination of Krav Maga instructor and coach.

Michael welcomes us to a small gym where he gives classes every Saturday and Sunday Krav Maga. The room is empty and we sit down on a wooden bench against the wall.

From a small Danish village to the large Dutch city

In 2000 Michael came to the Netherlands when he came through the newspaper found a room in The Hague. He has never left the city, he is not homesick and he loves the Hague mentality. “Speaking with your heart on your tongue, I love that”. Michael has been married to Brenda for many years now and they have two children, son Mischa and daughter Nina.

“Ever since I was a little Danish Viking I have always had an interest in martial arts and self-defense” Michael begins when we ask him about Krav Maga.

Krav Maga is not a sport but a defense art with origins in Israel. In Hebrew it means ‘contact combat’. Unlike martial arts

such as karate and kickboxing, Krav Maga has no rules, competition or style elements.

We got up from the couch and Michael shows us some Krav Maga moves.

Photo: Milene van Arendonk / Indebuurt

Krav Maga has what Jiu-Jitsu does not have

“In my youth I did a lot of Jiu-Jitsu, boxing and kickboxing. I’ve even done Kung-Fu and MMA, but I was always missing something. In 2008 I took my first Krav Maga class and knew right away”. The simplicity, effectiveness and philosophy behind the art was what Michael had been missing. According to him, it is contemporary, easy to learn and, above all, super effective.

The exercises we do with Michael consist of a series of quick and fluid attacks on vulnerable body parts such as head, neck and abdomen. The flowing movements remind us of martial arts. The realistic scenarios from which training takes place provide a standard response. “If someone hits you, what do you do?” Based on that response, we must repel the attack. These are tough exercises, so we settle down on the couch again for a drink of water and talk to Michael about his work as a police officer.

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A big change because of PTSD

years he worked in the police, from daycare to juvenile detention, he did it all. Through his work he often had to deal with victims of various violent crimes. Hearing the horrific stories, he often thought that even a little knowledge of self-defense could have spelled another end to the event. “This motivated me to 1024 to follow the Krav Maga Instructor training that I have in 2021 with good results”.

Krav Maga is taught worldwide to armed forces, special forces, police, security guards and civilians. The primary goals of Krav Maga are to prevent physical injury, neutralize danger and enable a quick safe exit.

As a police officer Michael went through a lot and due to the many violent incidents he developed PTSD. He could no longer continue his police work and ended up in a deep valley. During this period, he talked a lot with a coach, who pulled him out of the valley through the way of talking and hands-on mentality. “It gave me a lot of strength and the way he did this really appealed to me” Michael says as he takes another sip.

Photo: Milene van Arendonk / Indebuurt

Coaching with lesson in self-defense

Michael has now linked coaching to Krav Maga. “Krav Maga, or self-defense in its entirety, means being able to say no”. Yet he often sees in his lessons that students who have had a bad experience, do not say no. Some of them experience exactly what happened to them before with the drill, afterwards the students say that they found it very difficult to participate. “But, so as not to be thought crazy or weird by the others, they did it anyway. Reluctantly. That is a moment for me to act as a coach.”

According to Michael Krav Maga is more than teaching tricks and as an instructor you have to address all aspects of resilience. “Mental resilience is of course also part of that,” he says. For Michael that is the best thing about his profession as a Krav Maga instructor and coach. “Seeing that students develop more self-confidence and become more resilient is why I do what I do”.

To be able to help even more people with both coaching and Krav Maga classes, he would like to have his own space to combine this. A coaching practice with a Krav Maga space. “I am also developing a training in which Krav Maga, coaching and mindfulness come together. I want to offer this training to people with PTSD. I know what it is and hope to get others out of that deep valley.”

We do some more exercises and even though it is serious business, Michael also knows how to make it a very nice training.

We’re ready!

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