Sunday, 15 January 2017

Nomadic Kravver- Back & White

I recently trained & graded with SGS Krav Maga in Sydney, Australia. Top notch club and had a great albeit sweaty time practicing Krav and revisiting P5 with them. The head of KMG Australia & New Zealand is a bloke named Adam White, an E3 instructor who has a day job as a high school sports teacher. SGS’s instructors had mentioned his name a few times and I assumed, with Australia being so utterly, mind bogglingly vast, that Adam resided somewhere like Darwin or Cairns.

After a trip to Broken Hill to visit the Mad Max 2 museum out there (yep, there’s a museum JUST for the second movie) I came back to the east coast to couch surf in the town of Newcastle and my host plus a couple of German guests staying same time as me, expressed an interest in learning some Krav Maga.

I looked up local clubs and…lo and behold, Adam White runs a club in Newcastle. I took a trip out there just to say Hi in between sightseeing (ever been to a place called Bogey Hole? It’s an experience) and he was in the middle of some renovation. Had a chat about a few things and arranged the next night to take the German couple along for the beginners’ class (my host bailed).

We got there and a guy named Tommy was on reception. The class seemed pretty popular, with about 20 people plus the guys I’d brought along, waiting to join in. Adam was patient in his introductions to the class. Most were on their very first lesson and he gave a brief history of what Krav is and how it came to be, mentioning the founder Imi Lichtenfeld and why Krav Maga is so effective. 

A few questions were asked about reasonable force and Adam pointed out that as most women are, by nature’s design, weaker physically than men, a woman who subdues an attacker violently would be allowed more leeway on the definition of ‘reasonable’ than a man using the same level of violence. 

They then moved into the warm up and Adam took breaks every so often to explain what was going on and usually back this up with an anecdote. I initially wondered how the lesson would go, with a lot of talking from Adam taking place. It turned out that the lesson was the right balance of instruction and verbal reassurance plus tuition, and made it clear that Adam knew exactly how long to speak, teach and let the students practice for.

When the students split into pairs there was one group of three so I volunteered to help out. The students were working with striking, kneeing and scanning. This meant hitting a strike shield and then simulating a groin strike before breaking off to ‘scan’ (check the area around you is clear of further threat.

When they then moved to miming actual knee strikes on each other, I grabbed the groin guard I’d packed just in case (hey, go prepared I say) and Adam saw it, saying to my partner “That is now a licence to kick him hard there!”

My partner was exhibiting a classic case of Nice Person Syndrome, i.e. it is NOT natural to boot someone in the crotch. I invited her to have a free shot and after a couple of attempts and a blustered “Sorry!” she finally got into it. I’ve been there myself and it takes a leap of faith to believe that the groin guard really will withstand a hefty kick.

We then moved to choke releases and I let my partner carry on instead of switching. Adam had demonstrated the necessity of sudden, explosive movement when escaping the front choke with the primary focus being release of the pressure on your neck.

At the end there were groups of three with one person standing still with their eyes closed and a partner with a strike shield moving around them. The third person would randomly ‘choke’ the central figure, who then had to do the release before deciding whether to attack or bail out, when they saw where the strike shield was. This was simulating an attack by more than one person.

I was flattered when Adam then invited me to walk around the mats, checking that the groups were doing their techniques correctly, along with him and Tommy.

At the end after a final summary of what they’d covered the group did the final bow and began to move out. The nervous faces had been replaced by a mixture of sweat and smiles. My friends said they’d enjoyed it and found the instruction useful, especially as they are backpacking around the world right now.

Great to meet the head of KMG Oz & NZ like this and I’m now looking forward to the seminars with Eyal Yanilov in Sydney on the 22nd January.

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