Monday, 18 February 2013

Armed Attacker Seminar

Armed Attacker Seminar
Saturday, 16th February 2013
Lance Manley- P1 

             Saturday 16th of February was the Armed Attacker seminar. UK Krav is not predominantly based on guns, due to the lack of them in general street crime. As a result we focus mainly on knife attacks in classes. After all, the average Chav mugger has free and easy access to his mother’s cutlery drawer, but finds it harder to get hold of something that fires bullets.

             Knowing this seminar had sold out a week or two in advance (with Bartosz booking “the other half of the sports hall” to allow for extra people) I was keen to attend and try a different side of Krav Maga.

First of all, it was great to see people from other clubs. I chatted to a couple of guys who had come from the south of England, one from London and the other Bristol. I also got to meet members of the other Krav Maga Midlands groups, which was cool as we rarely interact apart from the occasional social event or when people borrow another group, either due to missing their regular session or taking Option 2 on the payments scheme (the right to attend any and all classes that KMG Midlands holds in a week).

Have to say that the warm-up brought the kid out in me. So much fun chasing some bloke around a huge sports hall along with 50 other people, playing Tig. After that brief burst of cardio, we cracked straight on with knife attacks.

           This was something we’d covered in classes but it was good as it put some shine on the rust and meant we slid straight into it. The much larger space to train in was appreciated. While Krav teaches you to fight and defend in ANY space, be it confined or vast, it’s good to know you won’t be smacking the back of your head into the pair training behind you (although I’ve no doubt that would be blamed on me neglecting to scan after attacking!)

            After that we moved to 4 feet-long sticks. Thankfully the wooden sticks we used had foam sheathing but still gave a whack if you got them across the head or forearms. This was my favourite part of the seminar, as there is something immensely satisfying about taking a big stick off someone. My partner was annoyed that I wouldn’t let the stick go unless he actually made me and mimed kicking my knee cap, saying “if I kicked you there, you’d let it go! I replied “yes, but you’re NOT kicking me there. Adapt!”

           The best one of this whole section of training was the move that meant you forced your assailant’s arm up behind his back by twisting the stick, and put him on his knees. It is quite fiddly to do properly, but brutally effective if done right.

           Finally we did gun disarm training. Personally I’m hesitant about this, as I believe you have to be VERY calm and sure of your abilities to even dream of thinking about taking a pistol off someone, let alone one being pointed in your face. However, Bartosz partially covered some of this, saying that some guy pointing a gun at you in the street is probably assuming you will do what he wants just because he is holding the pistol and won’t expect an unarmed “victim” to attack.

           My other phobia on this one was the fact that the dummy guns were pistols with slides on the top. The disarm move taught us to grab the top of the gun and twist it away while stepping clear. I had evocative images of a real pistol in a real situation, accidentally firing in the struggle and breaking at least one of my fingers as the slide activated. Bartosz again covered this aspect, without anyone asking him, by saying that if you grip the top of the gun and the trigger is pulled, then the gun will jam and then have to be cleared and reloaded before it can be used.

            Nicest part of the whole thing was finding out that if you take a pistol off someone properly, there’s a fair chance you will break their index finger as it’s going to be trapped in the guard.

Needless to say we threatened each other with fingers WELL clear of the dummy pistol’s trigger guard.

To round up, we had a pressure drill of one guy attacking a punch bag held by another student….while 3 or 4 guys came at him with a gun, a knife, a stick or a bottle (as the bottle moves are the same as for sticks or knives). I was in a group of 6 where me and a couple of other guys made a point of throwing the weapons away from us once we got them off the attacker. Made me smile when one or two people handed them back politely, then carried on punching the bag waiting for the next attack.

            One thing I didn’t expect was the attendance certificates being awarded one at a time. We lined up against the wall and the names were called out with guys walking up and getting a round of applause from us, and a handshake off Bartosz and Russell. A nice touch and the perfect way to end this.

Really good day and the best fun I’ve had at Krav apart from my P1 grading. Just wish my forearms didn’t look like someone’s been at them with a steak tenderiser.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Testing and Grading by Eyal Yanilov

During the month of June we set a new personal record for grading events for Graduate and Expert levels. Around 80 people were tested, about 20% of them will need to take extra periods for repetitions and then get re-tested on part or the whole material (all depends on the results). Simply put – they failed to reach the needed level (the demand is a high score of 80%).

Failing is a punch to the ego. It hurts ones self-esteem. One does not like to fail, whether it’s a test, demand or mission. There are many businessmen, owners of successful companies and great entrepreneurs who failed several times, but eventually managed to succeed. What is the main difference between a successful person and a non-successful one? A successful person gets up after taking a falling down. This person tried again and again until success was reached. The non-successful person either did not try at all or gave up after the failing. Most people either don’t try at all or give up after the first failure.

After the Expert level test on the 16th of June, when we had several people who did not manage to pass the levels of Expert 1, 2 or 3, I gave a short speech before delivering the results and brought the example of one of the examinees, Lasse from Finland. Lasse did not manage to pass the Expert test in his own country. What he did afterward definitely deserves our attention. He did his best to get better. He did not feel sorry for himself (and if he did it was not seen or talked aboutJ). Lasse came to the expert level training in Hungary when we held an E-camp. He got there not feeling well and participated partially.He then arrived to Israel for the E-camp and I am sure he trained in Finland too. His level improved significantly. He passed the test in Israel. This is definitely an achievement.

Are you going for a test? All you can do is your best. Do the best preparation and best test you can. Take this mission seriously, but don’t take yourself seriously. You have no control over what the examiner is thinking. You can’t see things through the eyes of the examiner. You can’t control his mind, so you have only one thing to do – your best. This is the way to influence the results and outcome. Others (the examiners) will make the decision whether you pass or fail. You must not be influenced mentally by this. Be firm and indifferent. Focus on the doing so stress will not arise and will not influence your performances. Occupy yourself with the action, with the practice.

How is the examiner expected to behave during the test? The examiner should function as a doctor during an operation on a patient. For a high level doctor it doesn’t matter if the patient is old or young, male or female, ugly or beautiful. The doctor shouldn’t care if the patient is an old friend or a complete stranger. There should be no emotional influence or impact on the examiner, except for the fact that the trainee in front of him deserves the maximum attention and respect. Remember that this is a person that needs evaluation for his or her abilities, that this person has got an instructor who was teaching him/her for a certain period of time. The instructor of the trainee should have done, within his/her limitations and power, the best to prepare the trainee for the grading. Even if the instructor didn’t do that (regardless of what may have caused this), still the respect should be there. Naturally the instructor and the trainee should get feedback about the levels and mistakes, the outcomes and means of improvement.

If the trainee passed the test, what does itmean? It only says that the trainee got a sufficient mark to pass the test. It does not mean that there were no mistakes. Naturally there is always room for improvement. Remember – when we check a specific technique, let’s say a strike or a defense against a knife attack, the P1 trainee will be able to pass after exhibiting a certain level. However, if a G1 or an E1 trainee shows the same level as a P1, that trainee will probably fail. The “name of the game” is training, getting better, excelling.
If you (trainee going through the grading) pass the test, should you be happy? Perhaps, but this is surely not recommended, as it often leads to the negligence of the duties and the serious approach to training. Sometimes people stop training after reaching a certain grade, sometimes even after passing a P1 test. After the test, definitely one should look for any remarks from the examiner, feedback and mistakes that need to be improved.
At KMG we try to take a segment of the grading closer to reality. But the grading is not reality and will never be. The test shows the level at what the test is checking. There’s no 100% correlation between a test and reality. Some people may be good in getting tested but may find it harder to function under real “street” conditions; some people will be the opposite. It is like certain types of athletes who are good at training but will usually fail in competition.

And what if you failed a test? What should you do then? Should you complain and put the blame and responsibility on the examiner (whom you can’t control and whom should have acted like the doctor during an operation)? Should you say that the examiner liked your partner and dislikes you because you were better than others? Maybe you should lie down and stomp with your feet on the ground? That may have worked on your parents when you were 4 years old and helped you get the toy you desired. Surely the fact that your parents surrendered to your childish behaving made it harder for you to handle failure and cope with disappointments.
What should you do? There is only one way. Understand and accept that the examiner thought you were not good enough, that you need more training, more experience, more monitoring by a qualified instructor. Use this opportunity to get tools and capabilities to deal with failure and disappointment. Start spending time and put more effort to get better, to clear and clean your mistakes. This may need an effort of 2 hours per week for couple of months or 10 times more than that if you have deeper gaps in knowledge and abilities. Accept the fact that you may not be who you thought you were and still you are a unique person, someone who is able to reach great heights, perform excellently and do great deeds. All you need is to continue, because if you stop now you will never make it.
AND you should be thankful for the examiner who put that hurdle, that step, that barrier in front of you – for this is the opportunity to improve and excel. That examiner was merely a mirror that was placed in-front of you and showed you who and where you are (in the world of KMG) and then sent you to improve “your looks”.

Train well and get better.

All the best and be safe,

Krav Maga Training by Lance Manley

From Lance Manley- P1

Krav Maga Midlands Leamington class.

I’ve been doing Krav Maga for about 2 years now. I initially trained in Italy at Krav Maga Rome with Daniele Stazi and then joined Bartosz’s club after I returned to the UK in 2011.

The wonderful thing with Krav for me is the ability to deal calmly and/ or efficiently with situations that are aggressive, dangerous or potentially lethal.

I’m a former English police officer (both Special and Regular Constabulary) and UK cops in my era (2004) if faced with an aggressive person, were taught to push to the chest with both hands, shout “GET BACK!!!” and then reach for their baton or pepper spray. They were specifically told to NOT aim for the face or head when fighting a violent suspect.

This basically means it takes up to 6 cops to arrest one guy who’s physically reluctant to spend the night in a cell.

Krav is pure common sense. Bartosz once said to us “if a guy comes at you with a knife, what should you do?”

We thought about this for  a few seconds, then he said, “Run, if you can. But if you can’t…well, this may help you!”

Krav Maga does not say you will be able to whup anyone’s ass. But it does say “here’s more tools than you had before. Choose which one will help you!”

I had a problem with bullying in earlier life and had issues around physical confrontation as a result. Krav Maga is the ultimate aversion therapy as it puts you right in the thick of situations that you may have to face if attacked on the street. In movies if 5 guys come at the hero, he beats the snot out of them in a lovingly choreographed fighting ballet. In Bartosz and Russell’s Advanced Combat class we face 5 guys BUT the most you can do is try and keep them away from you until the 2 minute timer is up. While this doesn’t transform you into a Ninja, it does mean you are much less likely to freeze up if attacked in real life. First time I did this I was physically shaking after. Now it’s something that is still scary, but I am more able to deal with. While being punched in the head is never pleasant, once you realize you’re not made of glass it gives you the confidence to stand your ground and enjoy Krav as both a sport and a self defence martial art.

Krav works on techniques that are adaptable and open to anybody with the self confidence to stick up for themselves. In my class we have a 62 year old guy and two 16 year old girls with a lot of ages spread between them.

My first grading was October 2012 and I was supremely nervous from about a week before. Knowing the assessor was an Expert Level 4 (14th grade) who had been flown in especially from Norway to grade us, didn’t help the stress factor. However, while knackering, the grading was a lot of fun and the assessor was a true gent, both reassuring and precise in his judgment, even though there were about 50 of us being graded simultaneously.

I also have a problem with authority (one reason my police career stuttered and stopped) but don’t have a problem with taking instruction at Krav, as this recent exchange illustrates:

Bartosz: “Lance, do 10 push ups!”

Me: “Why?”

Bartosz: “Do them, then I tell you why!”

(Ten push ups later)

Bartosz: “You forgot to scan!”

Me: “Oh…sorry!”

I really love this sport and can’t recommend it highly enough.

Lance Manley