She’s recognizable across Chicago—she plays the foil to cohost Eric Ferguson on WTMX-FM 101.9’s Eric and Kathy morning show, and her face is plastered across billboards. Yet not many people know what energizes Kathy Hart when she’s off the air. For seven years, Hart has practiced Krav Maga, the Israel Defense Forces’ training in hand-to-hand combat that Hart loves despite teasing from coworkers. “I really enjoy the sparring aspect and nitty-gritty of self-defense,” she says.
A karate black belt, Hart became interested in Krav Maga long before it became the latest fitness craze: Her husband started teaching it nearly ten years ago and has been Hart’s martial-arts instructor for 14 years (he also works with celebs such as John Mayer). “I actually started in tae kwon do, and I learned a lot,” she says. “But then [I became] a little more interested in the self-defense aspect.” Hart sticks with it because it’s exhilarating, challenging and applicable to everyday life (if someone were to snatch her shopping bags, she knows to dish out elbow blows and groin hits).
Hart admits it’s her perfect workout because she hates the gym. “I need someone in my face screaming at me and pushing me,” she says. Even if that someone is her husband. “Ever since I started dating him, he’s been harder on me [in training],” Hart laments. “He won’t let me slide with anything.”