Lea A. at Performance Turnersville
Russ: Lea, the last time we practiced the 360 defense you bruised my wrists to the point my wife asked me what happened in class. I gather you’ve had some training before.
Lea: Not in a long time. I’m originally from Vineland, and I took Karate before and during my teen years. I loved it but gave it up to get a job. I’ve always wanted to get back into the martial arts, and now here I am!
Russ: What made you select Krav Maga?
Lea: I looked at the different styles. For me, it’s about how best to use my body as a weapon, especially when the other person has a weapon and I don’t. Krav appealed to me from that standpoint. I felt it was a style that suited me because I’m not exactly the tallest person, but I am always the fiercest. When I saw that Performance was opening in Turnersville, I was right there – sign me up.
Russ: What do you like most about the Performance brand?
Lea: One word jumps out – it’s “family.” We are very much a family – different in that we beat on each other, bruise each other, and toss each other around a bit, but it’s different than anything I’ve ever experienced before. We are all trying to make each other better. There’s never a negative word, always encouragement, and no matter what one’s belt level, we are all equals.
Russ: What would you say to other women contemplating Krav?
Lea: What are you waiting for? This is an equalizer. I love the physicality of it and fully plan on pursuing through to black belt and beyond. This is a perfect style for women.
Russ: Rumor has it you’re a runner outside of Krav.
Lea: Absolutely. I started out in 2006 with 10k’s and half marathons, but I’m a full marathoner now. I have a goal of running a marathon in all 50 States. To date, I’ve run sixteen marathons in fifteen States. Last week I ran the Green Mountains in Vermont – a killer. Next two on my radar are Connecticut and Arkansas.
Russ: What prompted that goal?
Lea: I teach Middle School Special Ed. I work with kids that are cognitive moderate, meaning pretty severe, and that led me to a group “I Run 4 Michael” on Facebook that matches runners with special needs children. I’ve run for a child since he was three that can’t run for himself. Among many issues, he has cerebral palsy and is tube fed, but he understands when you talk to him, and he loves to smile. When I run, I earn two medals – one for him and one for me. I’ve had the opportunity to have him cross the finish line with me once before, and it will be happening again soon. There’s no greater privilege.
Russ: What did you do before you teaching special ed?
Lea: I taught inner city Philadelphia kids. It’s kind of like Krav, but without the ability to tap out.
Russ: Last question – what’s your favorite food?
Lea: Any kind of seafood – crab legs, scallops, flounder, shrimp, and lobster. I keep seeing posts of Brent buying dinner and dessert for students. I’m waiting for my turn!