Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Extreme Knife Defence Seminar

Krav Maga Midlands
Marcin Reszka, E2
Stratford upon Avon High School
Saturday 13th February 2016

by Lance Manley

Knife fighting and dealing with an armed aggressor.

Krav Maga Midlands' latest seminar was a shade different to what we'd done before, especially in the Armed Attackers workshop, 3 years ago to the day in the same venue. Unlike other seminars, this one would teach students how to fight WITH knives, not just how to disarm those who attack while holding them. The information stated that "Our aim is to maximize the chance of an effective defence against an armed, aggressive and determined attacker. By learning how to use a bladed weapon and use it while sparring it will give you a better understanding of more skilled knife attacks and teach you how to respond to them effectively. It is guaranteed to improve reflexes and footwork, something that will pay off in general fighting skills".

The instructor for this was Marcin Reszka, an Expert level 2 Krav Maga Global instructor from London's Krav Maga Tactics club in Kingston on Thames. What was interesting about this event though was the amount of instructors who had signed up to participate, including Krav Maga Midlands' Chief Instructor Bartosz (E2), along with KMM instructors Al Natrins (G2) and Russell (G5). Also there was Edmund Sobczak from Fit2Fight Back and Stuart Gould of Elite Midlands.

I spoke to Marcin just before things kicked off.

"The idea of what we're doing is to teach people how to use common objects in self defence. The focus will be on edged weapons. The training will also pay off in general awareness. People will learn how to deal with a more skilled attacker. We will be here for three hours. We've been doing this since 2012 when I gained extra knowledge on using the knives as well as defending. The difference between this and a usual armed attacker seminar is that here you are being taught how to use the knife as an extension of the hand. It's not taken from a totally different system, it's based on Krav Maga."

After an introduction from Bartosz, Marcin got the students got into things with one of the warm up exercises being one person with a stick trying to touch the other on the feet with it. Marcin stated that the unarmed person was not allowed to hit back but to "make him nervous, he might want to."

Everyone was sweating well by this point and the technical side of things was brought to the fore. Marcin showed various holds for a knife when attacking and pointed out that slashes are tricky when it comes to control of an assailant. Retaliation when using your own knife was demonstrated with movements to attack the clenched knife hand of the other person. Marcin stated that "you won't kill him, just disfigure his hand".

As the guys got into this it was clear that a focus of mind and accuracy of hand and footwork were paramount. Russell and Al Natrins were partnered in a group of three with Edmund. Watching them practice reminded me of the gladiatorial drills from TV show Spartacus: Blood on the Sand.

In between showing techniques, Marcin pointed out on several occasions that the purpose of retaliating with another blade (or any weapon to hand) was to disable the opponent, NOT to kill or severely injure them. One move he pointed out was knocking the knife hand away with your knife hand, then slashing the back of their fist and then the leg.

True to the principles of Krav Maga, Marcin also showed the practitioners how to utilise everyday object to protect themselves and disable an opponent and focussing on redirection of attack. Marcin emphasised the importance of accuracy and control, pointing out that to be aggressive on certain targets is more important than trying to stab. He also said that things shouldn't be "overcomplicated" and that trying, for example, to trap the hand of a someone attempting to slash you will probably result in getting cut.

When the guys moved into the sparring at the end of the seminar, it was made clear that ALL disciplines could be used for knife defence, not only Krav Maga. Watching the various pairs going at it, it appeared everyone was having a great time, albeit showing obvious signs that they'd had a good workout.

Afterwards I spoke to Solihull KMM student Golshen Bano who said: 
"Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Love it! So much more on the techniques that you pick up in class and training with people who are not your grade and sparring with P3 and 4s".

I then asked Russell what he thought.
"I really enjoyed it. Something that has the root of Krav in it but also something that's new for everyone. A lot of it was new for the students but the instructors had a lot of new stuff in there too. It was interesting to see it from a slightly different angle."

Very informative and instructive seminar and it was a first seeing 3 KMM instructor training together. 


Lance Manley is a member of Krav Maga Midlands and author of the book

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