After being mugged for the second time in her life, Alexis Levinson didn’t take up martial arts. She spent a weekend at Kelly McCann‘s civilian training course in Frederickburg, Va., for “Kembativz.” It’s an intensive self defense program that specializes in “pounding the fuck out of people,” in the words of the McCann, the main trainer.
Levinson, a reporter for The Daily Caller, wrote about her experience at great length in a Tuesday story headlined “A weekend at Kelly McCann’s Kembativz civilian training center.” The course is three days long and Levinson did it twice– once in January and again this past weekend. She took the course after being mugged in November in the Eastern Market area. She was ambushed, thrown to the ground and kicked while her stuff was taken.
Asked if she feels like she could adequately kick someone’s ass the next time an attempted mugging occurs, she said maybe.
“There are some things that just hurt whether you’re 6 feet tall or weigh under 100 pounds,” Levinson told FishbowlDC. “That was actually the whole point of the course — it wasn’t about being able to beat someone up, but rather about being able to do enough damage to the attacker that they are no longer a threat to you. At which point you run.”
Of the things that “just hurt,” Levinson singled out getting hit in the neck. “Getting hit in the neck really, really hurts,” she said. “Like, I never really thought about that as place to hit someone, but it’s really painful.”
Levinson writes in her story that finding her inner anger was one of the more difficult points of her training. She’s apparently more of a lover than a fighter at heart. Until she was paired up with the exotically named Kaja… She writes:
On the second day Kelly tries to give me a reason to get angry. He pairs me with Kaja, a college student from the area who has been training with him in Muay Thai for several years. We’re practicing a combination we worked on the day before that ends with a slashing elbow to the back of the neck, followed by a full body weight stomp on any available body part after the person flops to the ground. When we learned the combination the day before, I would politely drop into a push up position when I felt pressure on my back and obligingly extend my ankle to be (fake) stomped on.
But when Kaja’s elbow comes down on my back, I just drop. Limbs splay where they land, and I lie on the mat momentarily stunned that I’ve ended up here.
She goes on to say that in that moment she realized she could fight back, which she called an “incredibly liberating” feeling. “In fact, I was supposed to hit Kaja. And if I could hit Kaja, well, then if anyone ever tried to hit me again, I could hit him or her too.”
McCann, Levinson’s trainer and a friend of her editor Tucker Carlson, is a man with a colorful lexicon. He says things like “trickfucker” and “I wish we could all go around dressed in saran wrap and smoke dope.” Trickfucker refers to a person who tries doing sneaky attacks in McCann’s gym (“His point was that if you try to do something fancy and prove you’re tougher than the instructors, it probably won’t go well,” Levinson explains). As for his saran wrap-dope smoking wish, that’s a metaphor for the unwitting victim of a mugging. (“He was talking about the need to be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times, and not walk around as though nothing bad could happen to you.”)
Levinson said she plans on returning for another session at McCann’s in June.