SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — A new martial arts program is helping veterans assimilate back into civilian and family life. At Krav Maga Southington, participants learn self-defense while building confidence through a martial art with Israeli roots.
“I was in the United States Army. I joined in 2000,” says owner Rob Rand who witnessed combat when he stationed in Iraq for 14 months. It didn’t necessarily change my life but it made me start to look at things a little differently – you start to appreciate things back home and have a different outlook on things back here…It made me realize honestly, how short life is.”
Rand left the military in 2015 – thrilled to be back at home with his wife and two sons. But assimilating back into civilian life was a culture shock. “You get used to a routine, the day to day lifestyle then you’re thrown back into normal society and it’s hard to adjust to that,” explains Rand. “I missed that brotherhood from the military and that what lead me into Krav Maga.” He found a positive stress release and a renewed sense of brotherhood. He realized Krav Maga could help other veterans, even those with post traumatic stress syndrome. “A lot of vets including myself – a lot of us don’t want to seek out help even if there’s an issue there,” he says.
In January, Rand created Fighting Chance CQC, a program that’s served about 15 veterans, many of them parents: “I’ve heard a few people say, ‘Why didn’t you think of doing this sooner?'” He hopes it helps participants handle the rigors of home and work with ease. “I want somebody to come in the doors even when they’re having a bad day and leave with a smile on their face,” he says.
Rand hopes “Fighting Chance” continues to grow. It takes place every week on Friday evenings.