Corporate attorney Tamara Kurtzman, 35, doesn’t throw punches at opponents in the courtroom. But her classes in the Israeli martial art of Krav Maga are another matter.

“You’re punching at full strength, kicking at full strength,” she said. “Your mission is to disable this person entirely. To some extent, that’s how I approach law, too.”

Kurtzman launched Beverly Hills-based TMK Attorneys in 2009 after feeling frustrated as a small cog in a big downtown firm. Charting a solo path as a young attorney didn’t worry her; Kurtzman said she has always done things a little differently.

As a kid, she studied fencing and played the bagpipes – hobbies that she still pursues, even if it means blasting her neighbors with high-volume bursts of music. Kurtzman stumbled upon Krav Maga a couple of years ago, and the intense sport appealed to her as an alternative to gym workouts and a way to get off the “legal clock” for a few hours a week.

She has since advanced to the second skill level, a yellow belt. Tackling 60-year-old female classmates was the hardest move to master.

“At first I felt awkward, like hitting my mother. Not a good thing. But everybody takes it so well,” Kurtzman said. “You get to really know people because you sit there for an hour trying to beat them up.”

Peak Interest

When Coby King, chief executive of downtown L.A. PR firm High Point Strategies, went hiking 30 years ago, he didn’t expect the trip would turn into a lifelong passion.

“I was blown away by how beautiful those places are,” he said about his first trip to the San Gabriel Mountains. “With just a little effort, you could get to the most incredible places.”

King, who is now 55, can’t go a week without hiking, rock climbing, or backpacking. His latest goal is to visit the highest points in each of California’s 58 counties.

“The list forces you to go to new places and it’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “The more places you hike, the better you get at it.”

The highest peak he has reached so far is Mount Whitney, with an elevation of 14,505 feet, in Sierra Nevada. King is planning to climb the peak this month for the third time.

“For me, getting outdoors and spending time around nature is a spiritual experience,” he said. “It teaches you so much.”

Staff reporters Daina Beth Solomon and Olga Grigoryants contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Jonathan Diamond. He can be reached at

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