NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — At one fitness studio in Manhattan, students are training for more than their health — they’re also being taught how to get out of an active shooter situation alive.
As CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, the sound of gunshots rang through the room as instructors rushed in with fake weapons. The approach is aggressive, yet effective.
“We need to react as fast as we can,” one student said.
The training could be life saving. The unique workshop at Krav Maga Experts in Union Square takes students through an active shooter and hostage situation and teaches them how to survive. Their motto — defend, attack, live.
“You are not waiting for anybody, you are going to be leaving that room first,” an instructor explains.
Students crawl on the ground to safety, carry wounded victims, wrestle weapons from attackers, escape being held hostage, and learn to fight back in life or death situations.
“Obviously we prefer to wait for intervention teams, but if the threat is immediate or you have a chance then we teach people what to do. If this is my last chance, my last second of living, I better do something, than nothing,” Tsahi Shemesh explained.
The instructors are all former members of the Israeli Defense Forces. They use physical, audio, and visial demonstrations to make training as real as possible.
The intense two-hour class is based on a real active shooter at a cafe in Israel, just days before the deadly shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
With the ever present threat of a terror attack, students feel the need for this type of training.
“Everybody expects in a bad situation for the other person to do something. You want to be that other person,” Steven Weiss said.
For someone like Jenna Siladie, it’s personal.
“I was standing, waiting for the subway just like any other day. It was noon, it wasn’t even late at night, and somebody came up behind me and sucker punched me in the back of the head. So I wanted to make sure I was never a victim again,” she said.
There’s no guarantee of that, but everyone who leaves the course is more prepared than when they walked in.
“Last resort or your life is on the line, or you are protecting someone you care about. I would go for it with what I learned today,” Katy Eng said.
So far, Krav Maga Experts has offered the class four times. They said it’s so popular the class fills up within an hour after a new date is announced.
Police stressed that in most situations you should never fight back against an attacker. The NYPD said to remember the ABCs – avoid, barricade, confront.
The class is designed to give students the knowledge to confront if they are ever in that situation.