Thursday, 26 April 2018


In the UK, if you wish to ride a motorcycle, you must receive a day’s instruction with an approved school on the finer nuances of controlling a bike. This is NOT the test for the licence, no, no. This is training on how to learn.

To explain.

Years ago, those wanting to buzz around on a Yamaha would simply buy a 125cc model, bung L plates on it, strap on a helmet and off they went. Problem was that, without a rudimentary knowledge of how the bike worked, a lot of accidents (many fatal) occurred. 

So…to solve the issue of motorcyclist pizzas littering the highways of the country, the government introduced a thing called CBT or Compulsory Basic Training.

It’s a course of about 6 to 7 hours, with approved motorcycle instructors, learning how to brake, use the gears, apply the clutch and ride with a basic level of proficiency when on the roads. It reduces your chances of making stupid mistakes and teaches you the fundamental things and the more subtle ones such as a “lifesaver glance” or “counter steering”.

I did this course in August 2016 with a school based at a civilian airfield near Stratford-upon-Avon. The 60-something instructor named Bob was top notch, reassuring and friendly and took us through the day with basics, a theory test and finally a trip out with him to Stratford for a couple of hours. We had radios with earpieces and every so often you’d hear Bob say “Lance, turn your indicator off” or “Gerry, move away from the white lines please”.

Despite having what are known as Grandfather Rights on my car licence, meaning I can drive a bike up to 50cc without CBT or a test AND I can drive a shit load of vehicles that you now have to be tested separately for, I thought the day’s training was fully worthwhile and took away a LOT of my nervousness about using a motorbike when I went backpacking a short time later.

The certificate is valid for 2 years, meaning that in August of this year I will need to retest if I want to ride a bike again. But…and this is the crucial point once more. This only allows me to ride with Learner plates on the machine. I would still need to, at some point within the 2 year window, take both a theory test and a practical one, to prove that I am road worthy and competent using motorcycles from 125 to 600+ cc.

Only then would I be granted the coveted ‘A’ licence for a motorcycle, meaning I could ride Harley’s, Honda’s, and Yamaha’s to my heart’s content.

Which brings me to…

I haven’t touched any training with KMG since I failed the final test for the General Instructors’s Course last July in Melbourne. This isn’t out of a desire to sulk or say “fuck you”, but only down to the fact that I live 16 miles from the nearest club, in an area with limited public transport and I only have a bicycle to get around on. I still fully intend to graduate and gain the black, instructor’s T-shirt but for the time being I am not involved in that world. It’s been recommended to me by a national KMG chief instructor that I repeat at least part 2 (or 2 and 3 depending on location) again before retrying for the final assessment, even though the form I signed after failing had “no retest or resit required” which meant that I had, in theory, only to retake my G1 grading again. Skill fade will be a serious issue, especially with 9 months living a life bereft of Krav. The only way I can train is to watch the videos of P1 to G1 techniques with Eyal Yanilov that break down the various moves required for the techniques. This will give me some knowledge as a foundation for when I go back. It does not however help my teaching skills (but I’m an English teacher as a main job so my daily work will help with that). I recently asked an E5 level instructor what he thought about me using the videos as a basic tool to try and keep my skills fresh. He replied that while it would help, it wouldn’t be enough and I needed to get back into training before trying for the GIC again

What I realised after this conversation is that at this level (wannabe instructor) I need to not only learn, but have a basic knowledge to enable me to learn, a CBT of Krav Maga to build upon. It won’t be enough to learn how to perform a forwards roll or a overhead stick defence, I will also have to be able to teach those moves. The CBT would be watching the videos and copying them so that, when I finally return for the 12 days of GIC 2, I will be able to build upon what I know, and be able to break them down so I can instruct others on how to do them.

CBT for motorcyclists was designed to give a basic proficiency so that the core skills could then flourish under a learning process. The same thing exists with Krav Maga. I want, very much, to become in instructor but I need to keep a foundation at all times of the rudimentary knowledge so that I can come back and learn again on the higher aspects. 

Learning how to learn. Or in this case, learning to learn to teach.

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