Krav maga student Kim Tilley tries to get loose during the dog pile exercise, where multiple people try to keep the person on the bottom from escaping.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Krav maga student Kim Tilley tries to get loose during the dog pile exercise, where multiple people try to keep the person on the bottom from escaping.

Police detective teaches krav maga self-defense

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Krav maga student Bill Blackwell strikes a bag during an exercise.

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High Altitude Krav Maga instructor Holly Wilde demonstrates a move on owner Nick Bosick.

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High Altitude KRAV MAGA owner Nick Bosick encourages student Jorge Chino.

If you go

What: High Altitude Krav Maga

When: Adult classes Monday through Thursday evenings, teen classes Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

Where: 2851 Riverside Plaza, Suite 140

Cost: $10 per class; month, six-month, year memberships available

Call: Nick Bosick at 819-4862

Info on krav maga: www.kravmaga.com/...

— By the time she's a teenager, Nicole Bosick may be an expert at the fighting style used by the Israeli Defense Forces.

The 10-year-old has been taking krav maga classes from her dad, Nick, a 10-year veteran in the Steamboat Springs Police Department. Nick Bosick, a detective, is in charge of training the department in defensive tactics. He discovered krav maga through a Broomfield man about three years ago.

Bosick trained to become an instructor and started teaching officers krav maga. But that wasn't enough.

"I believe every man, woman and child should go through this," he said.

In August, he opened High Altitude Krav Maga in Riverside Plaza. Classes at High Altitude train teens and adults in the fighting style, and those who attend run through a rigorous workout courtesy of Bosick or his fellow instructor, Holly Wilde.

Origin and method

An Eastern European Jew, Imi Lichtenfeld, invented the self-defense and hand-to-hand combat method in the mid-1900s. He taught it to the Israeli Defense Forces after Israel was founded and later adapted krav maga for civilians. Krav maga means "contact combat" in Hebrew, Bosick said.

On a recent Wednesday, Wilde led about 15 men and women in a class that included exercises, fighting moves and self-defense techniques. Although krav maga has the feel of boxing and martial arts, it's different, Wilde said.

"It's not meant to be pretty," Wilde said. "It's meant to keep you safe."

She started doing krav maga seven years ago in Los Angeles.

"I lived by myself, and I didn't have gated parking," Wilde said. "I thought, 'This is dumb' and that I had to learn self-defense."

When she hit her first introductory course, she realized she wanted to teach. She's been an instructor for three and a half years and moved to Steamboat Springs in December. Wilde contacted local martial arts studios when she arrived. They connected her with Bosick.

"I've been blessed that she decided to move to Steamboat," Bosick said. "She's been a huge asset for me."

Bosick teaches Tuesday and Thursday, and Wilde teaches Monday and Wednesday classes. She hollered at students on a recent Wednesday, urging each participant to give 100 percent.

The class requires people to push themselves, Bosick said.

"There's a huge physical fitness component," he said. "We make people sweat, but at the same time, they're learning."

Kim Tilley, who lives near Oak Creek, attends a couple of classes a week. The slight but muscle-wrapped woman said she found out about krav maga during a boxing class.

"All I knew is it was a fighting class, and it was going to kick my (butt)," Tilley said. "And it did."

She said she loves it now.

"I like the workout, and I like that I'm learning something I can use," Tilley said.

The class ended with a dog pile, where several people squashed onto one person, pressing down with pads. The person underneath had to wriggle out. Everyone, large and small, succeeded. That's what krav maga is all about, Wilde said.

"What we believe is that the person who has the heart to keep fighting is the person who will win the fight," she said.

Fighting with purpose

Krav maga isn't just about knowing how to deliver a blow - it's about knowing how to take one, Wilde said. That's why participants hold pads and strike each other.

"You don't know what you will do" when you get hit in the real world, Wilde said. "You might freeze. You might cry."

That's partly why Bosick has some of his children taking the teen classes offered.

He and his wife, Jody, home-school their five children, ages 3 to 16. Several little ones were running around the studio on the backside of Riverside Plaza as Bosick discussed his labors. He put together the studio during the summer, doing much of the drywall and painting on his own.

Bosick's class was pretty full Wednesday, though he said he hasn't advertised.

"I kind of wanted to start slow, just so I could feel everything out," he said. "I've never really started a business on my own. : It's been a huge learning experience."

High Altitude might eventually lend its space to other martial arts or fighting classes if other instructors are interested, Bosick said.

"We'd like to have this be a fight school, sort of," he said.

Bosick also has talked with leaders at Advocates Against Battering and Abuse about doing self-defense training, and he might put together safety courses to offer around town. As of now, he schedules general adult classes Monday through Thursday, with teen classes Tuesday and Thursday. The first class is free.

"Every class that we teach, we do something different, though each class builds upon itself," Bosick said. "Everybody who walks in the door and has never done it, they can start right there."

His daughter, Nicole, can handle it, he said. As she hung out after class that Wednesday, Nicole said she liked all of the moves she was learning.

"She's our next instructor," Jody Bosick joked.

The couple left the building to sounds of their children bickering and jostling in a truck. A wail went up as Nick Bosick headed over to restore order.

"Hey, no fighting," he called, without a shred of irony.

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