Krav Maga gets defensive to support troops

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published September 26, 2012

More than 50 men and women put their money in their fists on Sept. 11 for the chance to get special training in hand-to-hand combat in support of the men and women who serve in the U.S. armed forces.

The event was held Sept. 11 at Krav Maga Detroit, on Maple Road in Troy, to commemorate the tragedy of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and to raise awareness of the needs of the families of soldiers while they are deployed.

Participants donated $25 each to participate in a knife-training seminar led by Krav Maga Detroit lead trainer and owner Pawel Cichowlas. All proceeds benefited Operation Homefront, which provides emergency financial help and other assistance to wounded soldiers and the families of service members.

Cichowlas explained that the Israeli Army developed the Krav Maga fitness and self-defense tactics.

“It doesn’t matter how big you are, these techniques will work,” he said.

Cichowlas immigrated to the U.S. from Poland and decided to found Krav Maga Detroit in Troy after 9/11.

“Nine/11 lead me to Krav Maga. I didn’t want to be helpless,” he said.

He became involved with Operation Homefront because he was impressed that the organization helps families of deployed soldiers.

“I know the money goes directly where needed,” he added.

Most — 99 percent — of the families Operation Homefront serves are of junior and mid-grade enlisted servicemen and women who are deployed. Financial assistance is provided in the form of grants, not loans.

Commerce Township resident Lt. Col. Dave Holmden, who retired from the U.S. Army after 28 years, volunteers for Operation Homefront. He was an engineering officer and served during the first Desert Storm.

“As a commander, I saw a lot of problems in troops deployed,” he said. He pointed out that those served by Operation Homefront do not have to reimburse the organization, as other programs offered to troops require.

He talks to troops before they are deployed and explains how Operation Homefront can help their families with things like emergency home repairs, vehicle repairs, baby items, and rent and mortgage assistance.

He thanked the participants in the Krav Maga seminar for their support.

“It takes a soldier out of focus when there’s trouble back home,” he said.

For information or to donate to Operation Homefront, call (800) 722-6098 or visit www.operationhome