MANILA, Philippines – It seems that American pop star Jennifer Lopez and Kapamilya actress Judy Ann Santos now have something in common.
Like Lopez, Santos is now learning Krav Maga, a practical and tactical system developed in Israel that teaches how to prevent, deal with, and overcome different types of attacks. She started training last Monday, June 10, under Dindo de Jesus, the country director and chief instructor of International Krav Maga Federation Philippines.
According to de Jesus, Santos initially just wanted to prepare for her upcoming soap on ABS-CBN, but the actress is now considering being a regular Krav Maga student.
In “Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala,” which will premiere on Monday, June 17, Santos plays the role of a wife who learns how to fight back against her abusive husband, portrayed by Sam Milby.
“Na-hook na siya. She wants to be one of our regular students,” de Jesus told ABS-CBNnews.com in a phone interview. “Sabi niya, ‘eto na ang gusto ko.’”
“Gusto niya talagang matutunan ‘yung techniques,” he said of the actress, who is also into boxing. “Ayaw niya ‘yung ituturo lang ‘yung kung ano ‘yung kailangan sa scene.”
Santos dedicates one-and-a-half to two hours per session, which is held both inside the IKMF Philippines gym and outdoors, said de Jesus, who praised the actress’ willingness to learn.
“Nag-outdoor drills kami, nag-burpees, gumulong sa sahig at sa putik, lahat ginawa niya,” he said. “Wala siyang special treatment. She really goes through our rough regular training.”
“Hindi siya umaangal talaga, especially considering her celebrity status,” he added. “Sumusuntok siya talaga, malakas.”
On her first day, Santos was taught how to do basic Krav Maga stances, as well as how to strike, punch and kick. The following day, the actress trained in hand-to-hand combat and learned how to defend herself against a straight punch.
“Personal, one-on-one kami ngayon sa training because of her hectic schedule,” de Jesus said. “But eventually, she may be joining the rest of our students.”
General principles of Krav Maga include counterattacking, targeting a person’s most vulnerable points such as the eyes and throat, and neutralizing an opponent as quickly as possible.
Its techniques have been used in a number of movies, such in as Lopez’ “Enough” and in the “Taken” series starring Liam Neeson.
Here in the country, de Jesus and instructors of IKMF Philippines hold training sessions not only for regular students, but also for bodyguards and law enforcement units.
The group also regularly holds seminars to teach civilians how to defend themselves against rape, carjacking and attacks inside buses and trains, among others.