Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Cracking the Krav

A post I had published on my Krav Maga club's website last week.

Krav Maga Training by Lance Manley- P1

Krav Maga Midlands Leamington class.

I’ve been doing Krav Maga for about 2 years now. I initially trained in Italy at Krav Maga Rome with Daniele Stazi and then joined Bartosz’s club after I returned to the UK in 2011.

The wonderful thing with Krav for me is the ability to deal calmly and/ or efficiently with situations that are aggressive, dangerous or potentially lethal.

I’m a former English police officer (both Special and Regular Constabulary) and UK cops in my era (2004) if faced with an aggressive person, were taught to push to the chest with both hands, shout “GET BACK!!!” and then reach for their baton or pepper spray. They were specifically told to NOT aim for the face or head when fighting a violent suspect.

This basically means it takes up to 6 cops to arrest one guy who’s physically reluctant to spend the night in a cell.

Krav is pure common sense. Bartosz once said to us “if a guy comes at you with a knife, what should you do?”

We thought about this for  a few seconds, then he said, “Run, if you can. But if you can’t…well, this may help you!”

Krav Maga does not say you will be able to whup anyone’s ass. But it does say “here’s more tools than you had before. Choose which one will help you!”

I had a problem with bullying in earlier life and had issues around physical confrontation as a result. Krav Maga is the ultimate aversion therapy as it puts you right in the thick of situations that you may have to face if attacked on the street. In movies if 5 guys come at the hero, he beats the snot out of them in a lovingly choreographed fighting ballet. In Bartosz and Russell’s Advanced Combat class we face 5 guys BUT the most you can do is try and keep them away from you until the 2 minute timer is up. While this doesn’t transform you into a Ninja, it does mean you are much less likely to freeze up if attacked in real life. First time I did this I was physically shaking after. Now it’s something that is still scary, but I am more able to deal with. While being punched in the head is never pleasant, once you realize you’re not made of glass it gives you the confidence to stand your ground and enjoy Krav as both a sport and a self defence martial art.

Krav works on techniques that are adaptable and open to anybody with the self confidence to stick up for themselves. In my class we have a 62 year old guy and two 16 year old girls with a lot of ages spread between them.

My first grading was October 2012 and I was supremely nervous from about a week before. Knowing the assessor was an Expert Level 4 (14th grade) who had been flown in especially from Norway to grade us, didn’t help the stress factor. However, while knackering, the grading was a lot of fun and the assessor was a true gent, both reassuring and precise in his judgment, even though there were about 50 of us being graded simultaneously.

I also have a problem with authority (one reason my police career stuttered and stopped) but don’t have a problem with taking instruction at Krav, as this recent exchange illustrates:

Bartosz: “Lance, do 10 push ups!”

Me: “Why?”

Bartosz: “Do them, then I tell you why!”

(Ten push ups later)

Bartosz: “You forgot to scan!”

Me: “Oh…sorry!”

I really love this sport and can’t recommend it highly enough.

Lance Manley

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