Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Pick ‘n’ Mix

My Krav club have several venues. Through trying them out I’ve now find a bespoke fitting for my own comfort zone around both training and combat.

Never much liked combat. Love the technical side of Krav but really couldn’t get into the swing of taking a swing at someone on a cold blooded basis once a week.

This is simply something I needed to deal with and I’ve tried several options. Forcing myself to go. Picking the biggest bloke present as a partner. Picking the highest qualified bloke as a partner**. Getting up and coming back when knocked down. And professional help outside of Krav.

Really didn’t change my view of it all and in fact the state of “not liking it much” simply persisted.

I love Krav Maga as it keeps me fit and the skills are unsurpassable as tools for life in a physically confrontational situation. KMM have 3 instructors spread over 6 venues, Monday to Friday. I’ve been trying out the various locations for a month or so and have finally hit upon a recipe that works for me.

My grade is P4, but to be honest my fighting ability is pretty low. I lack the skills and while I’ll stand my ground I tend very often to get a hefty boot in the groin or drop my guard long enough to get a right hook in the head. At my home club the guys who opt for combat are either long stayers or high grades (we currently have five P5s and they semi-regularly attend this class) or both. The class isn’t enjoyable for me solely because I’m not able to keep up. Some believe that if you fight much better and experienced guys then you improve. This is true, but you need to start somewhere and if, like me, you are simply uncomfortable with it then another solution must be sought.

On Monday I go to one class where there are loads of people who stay for Combat and they are in the majority relatively new. There are a mixture of abilities so I can relax a little and work on my footwork, dodging and strikes. I stayed last night and thoroughly enjoyed the class, and was partnered mainly with a guy from Leamington Spa who’d come with me and is a great fighter. Taking it as a learning curve I predict that a month of so of this group and I’ll feel confident enough to try one of the more experienced Combat classes in another KMM venue.

On Thursday I attend the Leamington Spa class with the Chief Instructor like I’ve done for over 2 years and as usual it’s a lot of fun and hard work. By tailoring the lessons around what works for me, I feel a lot less anxious about what I’m doing and believe therefore that when I gear up for my next grading in 6 months or a year, I’ll be a lot more into it than if I’d simply ploughed ahead without trying different things out.

This reluctance and discomfort around the fighting side of Krav has bugged me for months, but now I’ve found a way to deal with it gradually and get up to speed. If shock and immersion therapy don’t work…then it’s time to look for another way of getting from A to B.


** In one venue it's the same guy. 6 feet 11 inches tall and P5. 

Friday, 25 April 2014

Short Story Inspired by Krav Maga Car Jacking Seminar

I wrote this last October for my other blog Lance Cowboy. It's a fictional story about an infant girl and her father.

Idea came after reading about a Krav Maga car jacking seminar. Got me thinking.

The ending's satisfying.

Hannah and Daddy

Hannah was scared. She’d seen Daddy shouting at the man who’d put his head in their car. She was crying too. In her chair in the back of Daddy’s car she wanted to help Daddy but she couldn’t as she was strapped in. Daddy had opened the door of the car and the man had been knocked down. The man had a gun like her brother Dominic. This one had made a nasty bang though as the man had been knocked down and Hannah’s ears hurt and it had made her jump. Daddy had then got out and he had hit the man many times. Hannah didn’t like the man, he’d frightened her and upset her Daddy. She loved Daddy. Her and Daddy had been shopping and Daddy had let her ride on his shoulders and he’d bought her some candy floss and thrown her up in the air and they’d laughed and laughed and Hannah was so happy. Then they’d got back in the car and Daddy had put her in her seat and had smiled and ruffled her hair and she was so happy because she’d had such a lovely day with Daddy and then the man had appeared.

He smelled horrid and he had hair on his face like Daddy did some mornings but worse and he’d shouted some things and pointed his gun like Dominic’s at Daddy and then at Hannah. Hannah had wanted to shout at the man to go away and leave her and Daddy alone but the man kept shouting. She couldn’t see Daddy and the man now, they were shouting though, she could hear them. Daddy was using bad words like he smacked Dominic for saying and some other words that Hannah didn’t know. Daddy and the man were shouting. There was another loud bang and Hannah screamed, crying more than before. She struggled in her seat and the straps hurt her arms.

They were in the big car park that Hannah liked as they got to drive up and up and up. She got Daddy to drive them right to the top and she could see for such a long, long way across the big town.

“Daddy!” she screamed, “DADDY!”

Daddy stood up, he was breathing funny and he had blood on his face, on his chin. Hannah screamed in fright and Daddy smiled at her. He was holding the nasty man’s gun, like Dominic’s.

“Hi baby. It’s ok,” Daddy said smiling again.

Hannah was so pleased that Daddy was OK. She couldn’t see the man but she heard him say something and Daddy turned around, his face becoming angry and he kicked out. She heard the man shout and then he was quiet. Daddy put his head in the car and smiled at her again.

“Are you ok Daddy?” Hannah said, still crying. She hoped Daddy was OK and the nasty man hadn’t hurt him.

“I’m fine baby,” Daddy said giving her a kiss and putting the gun on the seat where Mummy sat when they went out with Dominic too.

“Who’s that man Daddy?” Hannah asked, her tears drying as she saw Daddy was ok.

“He’s just a silly man baby. Listen Hannah, I need you to be a brave girl and do something for me ok?”

Hannah paused, her tears stopping and she nodded, “OK Daddy.”

Daddy looked down at where the man was and he looked angry again for a moment, then he turned back to her and smiled. “I need you to close your eyes and sing a song for me ok? Remember that nursery rhyme we sang about Jack Be Nimble? Can you sing that for me now baby? But you must close your eyes!”

Hannah nodded and Daddy leaned in again to kiss her forehead. “There’s a good girl,” he said. “Now please sing it Hannah, close your eyes and don’t open them until Daddy says so OK.”

Hannah nodded again and closed her eyes tightly. She began to sing unsteadily,“Jack be nimble, jack be quick, jack….jump…err…over the candle stick.”

“Brilliant baby. Just keep singing it as loud as you can and keep your eyes closed ok?”

Hannah kept her eyes shut tight and kept singing the song Daddy had sung to her at bedtime a few days ago. While she was singing she could still hear Daddy start shouting at the man again.


“No please I’m sorry. NO!”

Hannah heard the man shout again then his voice faded away. After a few seconds there was a loud crash, like when Dominic had fallen over the dustbins in the back garden.

She opened her eyes and saw Daddy looking over the wall in front of the car, the one that looked out so very high over the big town. Daddy turned and saw she’d opened her eyes. She thought he’d be cross but he smiled at her again and walked to the car. He took the gun like Dominic’s off the seat, wiped it with his sleeve (why did he do that?) and threw it over the wall. Then he came back to the car. “There’s a good girl, bit of silly behaviour from that man eh? Nothing to worry about.”

“Where’s the man gone Daddy?” Hannah asked looking around, the straps in her child seat stopping her from seeing behind her.

Daddy sat in the seat and closed the door. He started the engine of the car and made it go backwards. “He ran away baby. He ran away.”

They drove home singing again, Daddy forgot the words a few times but Hannah remembered them all.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Interview for KMM, 2013

My excerpt from interviews chief instructor Bartosz put together with Practitioners at Krav Maga Midlands.

I was gearing up for P3 around this time, having got through the 2nd grading.

Hopefully I pronounced Imi's name right.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Pump Room Action

Krav Maga Midlands
Pump Room Action

Night Parks Training
Tuesday 8th April 2014

Due to a double booking at Krav Maga Midlands’ usual Tuesday training ground in Trinity school, Leamington Spa, Bartosz decided to improvise and take us all out on a little trip to get back to nature.

Royal Leamington Spa has some gorgeous parks and now Spring is finally in the air, the Pump Room gardens next to the town library were utilised for the welcome return of the Night Park Scenarios training that we last attempted in Stratford-upon-Avon in Autumn 2013.

After meeting up near the river bridge we took to the elevated walkway next to York Road at the back of the old library near Station Approach. The whole thing seemed a little surreal with me and the other practitioners warming up while people walking dogs, joggers, and cyclists all made their way past us with confused looks on their faces. Some even took a detour to avoid us.

After some ever-necessary stretching and loosening up we started on 3rd party protection. This was what it says on the tin, where you have to protect your “mate” from a frontal attack by a roving scallywag (or in this case, another practitioner). One technique which is fundamental in this type of thing, is that you MUST remember to extricate your 3rd Party from the situation as soon as you have neutralised or reduced the attack.


In real life people try to get involved or are panicking or just plain pissed off to have someone try and take a swing at them. Ever tried to defend a drunken yet outspoken girlfriend on a night out? My own experiences of witnessing this are that she will at least want to “have words” with the other party. The removal technique was to spin them round, grab their right arm with your right hand and grab their neck with your left (or vice versa) then push them in the direction you want them to go until you are both clear of danger.

The next technique involved if you are holding hands and someone tries to give you trouble, as your defence technique needs to adapt accordingly. Cue much laughter as some of the butchest blokes in the club were required to walk along with fingers entwined as if they were on a moonlit stroll along Brighton beachfront.

Later we moved to choke holds and then knife defences. The latter proved tricky as we were on hard ground but it’s always satisfying to get a bigger opponent onto the floor, just by applying the correct leverage to their wrist.

A few times we had members of the public wander through the group including a father with two wide eyed toddlers, several joggers, and a woman leading a dog on a length of old rope. She looked at us in bewilderment for a few seconds and asked, “Is this a fight or are you pretending to fight?” She then added that the dog was a stray she’d found and wondered if any of us would like to take it off her.

We all politely declined.

After the main techniques had been gone through, the daylight had faded and the park lamps had sprung into life. Bartosz then said, “Number yourselves from 1.” I got in first and then the remaining numbers were argued over. Bartosz told me to wait and took the other lads to where the path runs from the bridge, around the back of where we’d been training before it rejoins the trail. After some whispering and muttered instructions he came to fetch me and said grinning, “OK Lance, just walk from one end to the other.”

Even though I’d done this before and even though these were all my club mates and EVEN THOUGH it was a training scenario…there is something very creepy about seeing about 12 guys in black clothing, loitering silently around a dark alleyway in staggered formation, grinning and clearly planning mischief.

First guy simply wanted to ask the time, a red herring I’ve seen before so I politely declined and moved on. The second tried to grab me and I managed to kick him away before I reached the joys of the middle bit where I got attacked with knives by two guys at once and then jumped by three blokes pretending to mug me. I got through relatively unscathed and was pleased before swapping places with number 2. Each guy went through and Bartosz changed the roles of each “attacker” every time so that no one could predict what they would have to face. Funniest variation was a fairly big lad who was told to grab the person as if he was a drunken mate just wanting a hug. It didn’t take long before someone’s adrenalin got the better of them and they booted the guy asking the time straight in the groin rather than seeing it as a benign request.

Finally we’d all got through and we regrouped up the top for the final “Kida” and made our way home.

I thoroughly enjoyed tonight’s training. Mainly as it worked on techniques that are incredibly useful if out with friends or on a date,  but also because moving through the Tunnel of Fun in semi darkness and taking on loads of people is just such F.U.N.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Unique Practitioners Part IV: Lewis Turpin- P1

Randolph Adolphus Turpin was born in Leamington Spa in 1928 and grew up in the neighbouring town of Warwick. He became the World Middleweight Boxing champion in 1951 when he defeated Sugar Ray Robinson. He is considered by many to be the best middleweight boxer of the 1940s and 1950s. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2001.

A bronze statue of him was unveiled by Sir Henry Cooper in the Market Square in the centre of Warwick in 2001.

Randolph's grand nephew Lewis Turpin is now a Krav Maga practitioner with Krav Maga Midlands.

So, introduce yourself.

I’m Lewis Turpin, 29, from Leamington Spa. I’ve been doing Krav since October so about 6 months now. Took a grading recently, smashed the P1. All good.

What do you know about your uncle Randolph?

One of the best pound for pound fighters of his time. He was one of three brothers. There was Randolph, Jackie and Dick. Dick was my granddad. He was the eldest of the three and actually taught Randy boxing to start off with. Their father, Fitzbert was the first black person to live in Warwick. He died when they were all quite young so they had to look after themselves. They used to do bare knuckle fighting up Warwick market when the gypsies used to come to town My granddad challenged  the black barrier for England so that coloured people could fight in championship bouts. He was the British & Commonwealth champion. He was the first black person to win a British boxing title but Randy went all the way. He was the one that won the world championship.

Was your father, Dick’s son, a boxer too?

I think he dabbled, he did a bit. I know he stopped boxing when mum was pregnant with me. He stopped and then that was it. Apparently he was pretty good.

Did he ever take a title?

No, he didn’t climb that high. None of the family has really bothered with it, that sort of thing. I mean I wish I’d done something when I was younger. I used to go boxing when I was 8 or 9. I used to really enjoy it. Used to go on the weekends but I got a bit bored in the end. I wasn’t doing anything, wasn’t going anywhere. They said “you have to be 12 or 13 to fight.” My mind just slipped. You get bored when you’re a kid, just doing the same things over and over again. I just lost interest really. Uncle Jackie had a gym and I was training there.

What do you remember of your granddad and uncles?

I never met Randy, he died in like the 60s. I barely remember my granddad Dick. He died when I was quite young. Jackie I obviously knew as he died not so long ago.

What attracted you to Krav Maga as opposed to carrying on with boxing?

I won’t lie, if I could go back in time I’d do boxing but I’ve always wanted to do something that involves a bit of everything. I was going to do MMA but then I looked on the Internet and Krav came up. Never even heard of it before. Seen the website and was thinking ‘better try this out’. It was only up the road from me. I Googled it to check it all out to see what it was like and I was like ‘Wow! This is definitely something I want to do.’ Also it’s realism based. Being 29, if I wanted to be a boxer, most boxers retire in their early 30s. Too many punches to the head. No point starting boxing at that age if you know what I mean. I’m so glad I found it to be fair.

What level would you like to get to in Krav?

As far as  I can go.

Expert 5?

Could do yeah. Would be hard for me but I wouldn’t mind pushing it as far as I can go. 29 now so still got plenty of time.

Do any other members of your family, brothers, sisters or cousins do boxing or martial arts?

No. No one. I’m flying the flag. I wish I had carried the family name. Now I’m doing Krav and some type of contact sport I actually think like, well wish I’d done something years ago instead of going out on the piss. That’s pretty much all I ever did when I was younger. It was at the back of my mind ‘why don’t you do boxing?’ but the party lifestyle sort of took over. Never really thought of it. Only when I started hitting nearly 30 I thought ‘right, gotta knuckle down and get fit!’ Gym was one thing but I’ve always wanted to do something physical. Since I started Krav I haven’t looked back.

What would your motto for life be?

It is what it is. Deal with it.