Monday, 23 January 2017

Ruck & Roll- Master Class 2017


Eyal Yanilov, Master Class

January 22nd 2017- Sydney, Australia

Photo courtesy of Sven Midri.

I have been in Australia for just shy of 12 weeks and have to leave by February 2nd in order to keep my visa active (9 months in a year, but individual stays of  no longer than 3 months). Next on my agenda is a visit to New Zealand and I was going to book a flight out on the 19th of January. 

But then some rather splendid news happened. Eyal Yanilov, head of Krav Maga Global was going to be in Sydney on the 22nd January for not one but two seminars. Defending The Knife and 3rd Party Protection.

Not wanting to let such a golden opportunity pass by, I postponed leaving and booked both seminars.

I’ve met Eyal a few times before and to see him teach is a genuine privilege. He is regarded very highly by other instructors, and also the national directors of KMG. Both Jon Bullock (UK) and Adam White (Australia & New Zealand) had nothing but praise for Eyal and my instructor back in England, Bartosz Zukowski of Krav Maga Midlands used to refer to Eyal as “my master”.

The venue was Sydney University Sports & Aquatic Centre, just up the road from where I was staying with a friend. I set off early by bicycle to make certain I got there in plenty of time. A guy named Andy from SGS Krav Maga, who I had trained with during my time in Oz, was already there. As we sat and had a coffee, other practitioners began arriving. By about nine forty five the queue to register was going right back up the stairs and I had a quick chat with Sven Midri, an E2 instructor who owns the club Krav Maga Self Defence and was organising the seminars that day. He said there were about 75 people booked in, mainly from the Sydney clubs and surrounding area. 

Once Eyal arrived we got into a large huddle around him on the basketball court where Sven introduced him and said we were now learning from “your instructors’ instructor”. Eyal then gave us a quick talk on the way this seminar was going to go, with the emphasis on defending knife attacks and evasion. He stressed that one option in Krav Maga is always to flee if possible, something I’ve heard other instructors mention before. He then talked about how those who would resort to using knives will regard a potential victim as nothing more than a “walking wallet” and a process called “othering” will take place during such interactions. This basically means that they regard the person they are robbing or attacking as something ‘other’ than what they are and this objectification results in it being easier to treat them badly and/ or hurt them.

We then moved into a warm up, with some leg and arm movements requiring concentration and co-ordination (legs go in different patterns to the arms) and then we split into pairs for blocking movements. The first was an inside defence, using the forearm to block a knife thrust. The other was an outside or ‘scooping’ defence. We practiced these several times before Eyal stopped us to give us further words of advice. He pointed out that in the short time he had to teach us (just under two hours) he couldn’t show us to the level of even P1 or P2 but instead could “open the door a little” to allow us some experience. 

He then called up one of the local instructors to demonstrate on, and showed us keeping someone at a reasonable distance, using whatever means necessary (including an eye poke). He also said that in some situations it is better to apologise and try to resolve a situation through verbal skills. The scenario he chose to illustrate this was where he imagined that an aggressor had accused him of looking at his girlfriend and he apologised while walking away, yet keeping his hands up and his body at a position where striking would be possible if necessary. 

We moved to defending against knife attacks while lying on the ground with Eyal describing the feet and legs as ‘turrets’ to be used to kick or push an attacker away. This was fun to do, although the ‘getting up’ part requires concentration as you have to keep attacking, even while you raise yourself off the floor.

After this seminar wrapped up, the few who weren’t staying for part two then collected their certificates and left while the rest of us moved to the canteen for a break. 

At just after 1pm we shifted to another sports hall for the 3rd party seminar. Eyal again gave a brief introduction to what we were going to be doing and talked about how it is sometimes necessary to put yourself in the path of another person to defend them from harm. Another warm up to shake off our post-lunch lethargy, this time with someone hanging on to our shoulders while we had to keep moving, imagining that we were giving them a piggy back. and we got into the training. In groups of three, one person held a strike shield while another blocked the third person from attacking it. This was a lot of fun, albeit tiring and we all took turns in the various roles. Moving on to pre-emptive defence (i.e. you see the attack coming and block it before it happens) and then dealing with an attack that is actually occurring. We did this initially with strangle holds and then with knives. 

Something that Eyal pointed out was that it is very important to remove the person you are trying to protect, from the sight of the danger or threat. This could be something as simple as taking their arm and leading them away to grabbing them bodily to make them move. Having worked as a cop in England I can testify that in violent or aggressive situations a lot of people ‘contribute’ by simply yelling and screaming at one or all of the parties involved. So removing them from the scene can be the best of all options. 

At the end we tried a drill where the person with the strike shield then had to point it at one of the other two, while the third person would then join in by ‘attacking the attacker’. 

Photo courtesy of Sven Midri

At around 3pm we wrapped things up, with Eyal giving us a final summary of what we’d covered and saying that he hoped we’d found the day useful and that we took the skills we’d covered with us into training and daily life.

After the certificates of attendance were awarded we moved off and I managed to get a few words with Eyal.

He said:

“ It went very well. I gave all the things I wanted to give, in a short time. Four hours together, two and two. I managed to give an overall view of some of the sections of the system.There was a lot of people here, we are getting bigger in Australia, improving ourselves. In the beginning, at the seminars we had very small numbers of people attending. Especially England where I met you, it was very much like this. Giving seminars to five or ten people. Know we have about 100 instructors there so things have changed. Over 60 countries now have Krav Maga with KMG.”

I also managed to get a few words with Sven who said:

“It was pretty good of Eyal to come up here today as he’s right in the middle of a Combat Fighters instructors course in Melbourne. We managed to snatch him up for the day. Today went good. The timing’s always difficult due to admin and people lining up. If you’re not 15 minutes early you’re late. We had over 75 people. We run this when we’re lucky enough to have him. Which is why it’s imperative that we get our students and instructors out here. Like I said in the introduction. He’s the instructor of everyone else’s instructors. You have to make it. He likes coming here but it’s a long way.”

A good day and a privilege to not only train in Sydney but also catch Eyal before I left. 

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