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Jewish Journal

If You Had Her Moves

by Keren Engelberg

June 27, 2002 | 8:00 pm

Gouging out eyeballs and hitting people with chairs are just some of the actions taught by Wade Allen. For Allen, the director of Krav Maga Worldwide's Hollywood division, it's all in the name of self-defense.

Krav Maga, (pronounced krahv muh-GAH), was originally developed for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), but this martial art looks nothing like the moves you saw in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." In typical Israeli fashion, Krav Maga is all about efficiency, which means down-and-dirty, kick-'em-in-the-groin fighting -- whatever it takes to win.

This combat style also claims to put women on an equal footing with their male counterparts, an essential consideration for the IDF, in which both men and women serve. This factor made Krav Maga ideal for Jennifer Lopez's latest film, "Enough," in which she plays a battered wife who fights back against her bigger, stronger husband.

To look believable in her big showdown at the film's climax, Lopez trained with Allen for two months, taking the abuse Allen dished out -- and then some.

"She got bruised and battered around a little bit," Allen says, "but she's a tough lady. There's a swagger in her walk that isn't something that you're taught. She definitely has that in her."

And it seems that others are following Lopez's example. "There's definitely been an upward swing in our student attendance," says Allen, "Sept. 11 and Jennifer's movie did a lot to get women in."

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