Krav Maga face masks

Get out of your comfort zone with Krav Maga training!

Krav Maga with Masks
Train Safely at Krav Maga Illinois

As the weather turns colder, Krav Maga Illinois is forced to go back to indoor training.  For some, this in an uncomfortable situation on many levels.  Not only are you heading into a small space, during a pandemic, but you are also working with others, while exerting yourself through intense physical activity, all while WEARING A MASK!  We know that this will only make you stronger, it has to.  You are working outside of your comfort zone! You don’t like it, its uncomfortable and for some there are more reasons to hate it.  The fact is, if you want to learn to defend yourself, if you want to be safe, this is the temporary norm now, in order to stay healthy, and prepared.

A self defense encounter is not comfortable, you will not feel at ease, your breathing will increase, you will have tunnel vision, you will start to shake, your fine motor skills will diminish.  In Krav Maga training, we purposely put you in uncomfortable situations, we purposely make you work from a disadvantage so that when that time comes, you are able to deal with it and go forward with your defense.  This is the reality of reality self defense training.  You are forced to work outside of your comfort zone.  If  you think of this, then wearing a mask during training is not so bad. You cannot dictate how your self defense encounter will go, maybe you will have limited breathing.  Use this mask as a tool in your training and be thankful that we are still able to train at all.   Yes, you can stay home and learn online without this discomfort, and for some that may be the only option.  But, if you are able train, then this is a good time to push yourself beyond your comfort zone to find out what’s on the other side.  What you will find is a strength and a will that you did not know you were capable of.  Our bodies can work so much harder than we think they can.  Turn your thinking around, while practicing safely and realistically.

Violence is not going away due to this pandemic.  We should not feel that we get a break from training for our lives.  We must go forward and find a way to adapt, and if wearing a mask and social distancing is the answer, than that is the way we should go.  Don’t allow in person self defense training to fall to the wayside, continue to practice, but practice safely.  Krav Maga training, it is a matter of Life!!


Krav Maga Illinois has been selected as Best Self Defense training by Chicago Magazine.

Founded in 2009 by Sue Garstki, a lifetime martial artist with over 40 years of martial arts and teaching experience.  Krav Maga Illinois has served thousands of students looking for realistic self defense and awareness training, confidence, empowerment, physical fitness, and mental toughness.  Our Krav Maga Training practitioners include moms, dads, students, professionals, military personnel, law enforcement, anyone interested in protecting and improving their quality of life.  Krav Maga Illinois is a proud licensee of Krav Maga Worldwide, and is on a nationwide curriculum with over 150 KMW training facilities all over the world.

Krav Maga Illinois Krav Maga Kid’s Program is for children 10 and up.  This is a program that focuses on reality self defense, anti-bullying, strength and confidence building.  It is a hands on program in a safe and supportive environment.  

All of our instructors are officially certified through Krav Maga Worldwide and USA Boxing.  They are  knowledgeable and recognized in their field of expertise. What we do is self defense, and that is clear through the level of instruction given by our talented instructors. Instructors can answer questions you may have by calling directly at 773/775-5201. You can also visit our website at

About Sue Garstki: Sue Garstki is a certified Expert Level Kravmaga Worldwide Instructor, 2nd Degree Black Belt in Okinawan Shorei Goju Karate.  She has been certified in Commando Krav Maga and the Haganah/F.I.G.H.T. system. She is also a Level 4 instructor in the Raven Method Close Quarter Defensive Tactics System, having had the honor of working with the Chicago Guardian Angels. Sue was nominated Female Reality Self Defense Instructor of the Year by the Global Network of Reality Based Self Defense Systems, and Civilian Close Quarter Combat Instructor of the Year. Sue has worked with the Chicago Police Department as well as schools and other organizations spreading awareness in Self Defense, Women’s Self Defense and Domestic Violence issues. In June 2013 Sue was inducted into the U.S.A. Martial Arts Hall of Fame, and again in 2015, where she was named Krav Maga Expert of the Year.  She is a certified personal trainer under NDEITA and was one of the first instructors be be certified to teach the National Association of Professional Martial Artist’s (NAPMA) Kardio Karate program.  She is the founder of the Women’s Martial Arts Alliance, member of the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation, and the American Women’s Self-Defense Association.  Sue can be reached at any time for more information or to answer any questions by calling 773/775-


The Krav Maga Illinois headquarters is at 5201 North Oketo, Chicago, Illinois 60656 773/775-5201



Training Hard for the Respectable Work Ethic

The old adage that “hard work never killed anybody” remains a fact today. Just like seeds need to be planted early in order to enjoy a timely harvest, children need to be taught the value of hard work very early on in life. Children today are constantly exposed to messages about doing things the easy way. Everything around them is nothing but a “get rich quick scheme.” With these sorts of ideas common in society, it has become more necessary than ever to introduce the benefits of hard work to the next generation.

Simple steps to make your kids work

  • It cannot be stressed enough that model behavior is one of the most effective methods for good child development. If you want your children to work hard, you need to show them how to work hard. Don’t whine and complain about your job when your children are around. Instead, tell them why you work hard and what benefits you get in return. Give them examples from your work life that show the benefits of hard work. Tell them how and why you got that extra bonus in your paycheck.
  • Stop complimenting your children for their inherent talents. Applauding them too often can make your children complacent and reluctant to give 100% in their tasks. If they perceive that your praise and appreciation is easy to get, they’ll stop challenging themselves. Praise them for their effort and not just their talent.
  • Teach your children to do their chores. Holding them to their responsibilities will prepare them to accept bigger ones in their adult life.
  • Teach them to learn from their failures and to never give up. Tell them that failures are just minor setbacks that force us to learn and try a different approach to stay on track toward our goals.

Teaching work ethics through karate

Karate is one of the most challenging, fun, and beneficial activities for children. The very philosophy of karate revolves around the concepts of discipline, goal setting, and most importantly, hard work. Karate is a complex art form that takes dedication and sincerity to master. Curricula for each rank and belt level help develop skills and physical and mental health incrementally. In karate, your children will learn to dedicate themselves to achieving their goals through hard work. As your child tries to successfully climb the ranks, he or she will learn to appreciate the values of hard work, focus, and perseverance. Karate will help your child adopt life-changing skills and qualities that they’ve never experienced before.

Teaching Children the Nature of Respect

In many ways it seems that we live in an ever-worsening culture of crude, rude, and vulgar speech and behavior. Respect now has the same status as a precious, limited resource like diamonds, oil, or clean water. Too often we hear ourselves complaining that “today’s children just have no respect for people or anything for that matter.” Why is this? Experts suggest that children usually mirror what they see and that means that they’ve learned a lot from us adults. The first step to teaching children about respect is to model it ourselves.

Respect your children

The first mistake that we as adults make is to assume that children are too young to understand what we say or do. On the contrary, psychologists state that children have highly impressionable minds that not only understand but “record” everything that adults do. So if you’re child just used foul language, there is a very high chance he or she picked it up from you. One of the biggest ironies is that adults disrespect children while trying to teach them respect. It is necessary to know that even children are human and they too have a desire for dignity, acceptance, and encouragement – not just scolding or correcting. The next time your child requires correction, try to a tack that’s less harsh on them – firm but gentle, praise- correct-praise.

As they say, good things have small beginnings and this is true for human behavior too. Start your children with small, basic manners such as saying ‘thank you’ and ‘please’. Encourage them to make polite requests rather than demands. If your child requests you to do or give something, ask him or her to state the reason and purpose. If the reason is valid, go ahead with the request. This teaches them that polite requests are much better than rude demands.

Teach your children to be polite and respectful to other people and explain to them as to why they need to be courteous. Explain the ‘golden rule’. Lectures usually aren’t enough to do the job. Witnessing and applying the rationale and results of living with respect for self and others will help them understand more personally.

Karate and respect

A good way to encourage your children to learn about respect through a year round, structured activity that is all about respect. Karate for kids is a martial arts form pretty much built on the values of discipline and respect. Karate classes are the perfect environment for physical, mental, social skills, and leadership training. Traditions and rules that your child will have to adhere to while learning karate make showing respect a natural habit through repetition. A series of ranks and belt colors help children understand where they stand, and that they have to put in, to achieve each new rank and belt. Karate teaches people to respect each other. For instance, the master is referred to as ‘Sensei’ or ‘Sah Boo Nim’ which means teacher, and he or she is most be shown respect through trained actions and responses. These are some of the methods that are proven to help children learn the value and adopt the practice and attitude of respect.

Teaching Children About Honor

“Honor” is a word that we hear today primarily in relation to the brave men and women of our armed forces, and perhaps occasionally in our personal lives. With notable exceptions, it’s far more common to observe “dishonor” from many politicians, business people, celebrities, and fellow citizens on a daily basis. Honor can either mean (1) respectability (e.g. “street cred”) that one has earned/won and deserves, or (2) the act of showing respect to those of high virtue or achievement. Both definitions of the word “honor” hold great value as a continual goal throughout our lives, as they are essential to having healthy self-image, self- confidence, and self-respect. Demonstrating and discussing honor with children is important, because the first step to earning honor is seeing it in action from the leaders closest to them. That’s why martial arts instructors are typically very fit and personable representatives of their schools and styles – they are terrific role models!

Practice what you preach

In order to teach our children about honor, we must learn to honor them first. Treat your children with dignity and respect so that they will reciprocate the same with you and with others. When you make your children feel important, they are motivated to do the same with you.

Tell your children that they are valuable to you. In a world filled with insecurity, children can sometimes feel lost. A little attention, genuine listening and engagement in their work and play, can do wonders for their self-worth. It inspires children to do the same with you. Teach your children to honor their commitments. Tell them to treat other people with respect and to not make false promises. Teach them to value other people and their time. Children learn from observing us, therefore, we must “practice what we preach” and behave honorably toward each other and everyone else. If you promised to play football with your son or basketball with your daughter on Saturday, make sure you honor them by keeping that promise. One day they will do the same for you.

Teach your children to do the right thing even in the face of criticism. Teach them to be strong and stand up for what they believe in. When they do this, they are honoring themselves, which is just as important as honoring others.

Karate is a sport of honor

Learning martial arts such as karate is a good way for your children to explore and adopt
the values of honor and respect. Honor was of tantamount importance in the cultures and philosophies of ancient societies in the Far East and Middle East where martial arts are believed to have originated. It is as relevant today as then, though far more rare a thing for kids to deliberately learn from their parents and other teachers. Karate teaches children and adults to have honor through discipline, patience, self-control, and mutual respect. One of the main philosophies of karate is to improve the individual’s character. This is exactly what students of all fitness levels experience in karate for kids.