On the weekend of 15/16 February 2014, we were honoured to co-host the UK’s first official ICCS Krav Maga seminar, with the ICCS US Managing Director – Tony Harwood – instructing for 10 hours.
The sessions kicked off with a “Light Warm-up”, which saw most participants begin to wonder what they had let themselves in for! However, this soon eased off into some more technical and less physically demanding practicing of techniques and continuous repetition of the mantras: Aggression, Mindset & Principles, Base, Burst, and finally… always move forwards!!! This part of the session covered some very nice and (when done aggressively) very simple escapes from bear-hug-style attacks.
Tony then followed this (in his preferred teaching pattern of technical -> stress test/physical – technical -> stress test/physical…) with 60 seconds of full speed running with an immediate onslaught of attacks before gaining breath back. This was by far one of the toughest things I have ever done!! However, the reason for this being the scenario of running to get to a friend or loved one, and then having to fight to defend them, made perfect sense. The question in my mind now is… why do we not see this type of training more is other systems?
After working on some knife fighting drills, the day ended with a “Warrior Drill”, which can only really be likened to running the gauntlet. Anyone who watched the gauntlet event in the 1980’s Gladiator shows will have a rough idea of what this is like…. I say rough…. multiply this in difficulty by 500 and you will be somewhere close!
Everyone was bruised, yet eager to catch up again on the Sunday and despite little injuries, everyone was on time and ready for action. Sunday’s training was a little less physical (i.e. we did not do the 400 press-ups and sit-ups that we had on the previous day), but we covered an immense number of scenarios, including choke holds, knife attacks, knife threats, handgun threats and baseball bat attacks…. along with frequent recapping of the scenarios already covered.
Despite the more technical nature of the day, the two “Warrior Drills” that were used made the gauntlet look like a walk in the park as they involved remembering and performing all of the techniques that had been covered over the weekend.
My thanks go out to Tony, he is a truly exceptional instructor who not only kept everyone in check, under control and safe, but also used his sense of humour and personality to keep everyone fully engaged for the whole 10 hours. Even more than that, there were still questions and conversations going on in the break times, the lunch time and in the pub afterwards! It is rare to see 100% of participants of a course leave with nothing but praise and gratitude, this is testament to both Tony and the ICCS organisation that he represents.
This review would not be complete without also passing my thanks to Tracey Phipps and her group from TSKU (www.tsku.co.uk). You were all not only eager to train and help everyone, but also showed kindness and friendship to our group. In no way did I ever feel that there were differences in the room, in fact we all felt like we had trained together for years! This is a reflection on your own good characters and on the standard of your dojo and instructors, a great group that I would welcome the chance to work with again and again in the future.
Lastly, I have to say a big well done and thank you to all those who took part from BMAA. Despite the fact that some of you have been training for more than 20 years and some for less than 6 months, you all took part and gave it your all. The standard was fantastic and seeing how you all bought into what you were being taught and asked to do really showed what you could do. Some of you were just different people when the stress kicked in and action was required. You all deserve your certificates and should keep them somewhere very safe as reward for an amazing weekend, you should be as proud of yourselves as I am of you all.
written by: Kevin Archibald