We often read about heroines throwing punches, hurting the bad guys and generally kicking ass. Sometimes we get to read about their training — like all that running Rose Hathaway really hated in Vampire Academy. Today, I put myself in the shoes of an urban fantasy heroine and took my first Krav Maga class.

Krav Maga is a self defense system developed in Israel. It’s used by the Israeli Defense Force, and within the United States by the C.I.A., F.B.I. and Navy Seals. In other words, it’s real fighting with real purpose.

I talked a brave friend into attending the first class with me. Having her there was smart, as we walked in to a room full of big guys who looked like they knew what they were doing. As someone who had not thrown a punch since fourth grade, this was, as you may have gathered, a bit disconcerting.

Worrying was unnecessary, though, within ten minutes I was in a fighting stance and learning to use the heel of my palm to drive back attackers. It was incredibly fun, and may have included my friend saying, “Finish him!” in that voice from Mortal Kombat. See? Fun.

In addition to learning how to break someone’s nose and be sneaky in a fight, I discovered all our favorite heroines must have great upper body strength. Hours later, my triceps are burning, but I must admit, fighting like a urban fantasy heroine feels pretty fantastic. It doesn’t hurt to know I throw a mean right cross.

I’ll go back again, and slowly become a real-life UF heroine. Better a regular gym routine than 6 a.m. jogging in the cold a la Rose Hathaway.