Well, I have been roped in to continuing on from Dave Slade’s excellent blog about the G Camp to keep you all updated about what is going on this week during the Expert Camp, although be warned – I am not known for my humour…!
Landing in Israel was a surreal experience, which began with being greeted by a beaming Joe Ambrosino at the airport sporting a new ‘No 1’ haircut! It was then I found out that our mode of transport to Netanya was ‘somebody else’s’ car that Joe was driving/borrowing… without satnav! I’d like to say that I took in the atmosphere of Israel however I spent most of the journey with my eyes closed hoping we’d actually make it to the hotel!
This is my first Expert Camp and this morning I was feeling excited, but apprehensive.
I sat in the conference room listening to an introduction to the Camp by Eyal Yanilov and KMG Manager David Gorin. Looking around the room I was surrounded by the ‘who’s who’ of Krav Maga around the globe. Anyone I have ever ‘googled’ or ‘you tube’d’ or who has taught me or graded me in the past was sitting on chairs around me!
The first training session saw us heading to the beach! During the introduction we were told about the heat and to be aware about our health in the sun… although I didn’t quite realise how hot it was, and walking on the sand was a challenge, let alone beginning to train.
As soon as the training began, the apprehension went away I realised nobody was here to judge me and it was all exactly about what Eyal said it was, gaining the knowledge and the experience.
Eyal began to teach us, but rather than going technique by technique, we covered the principle of using ‘double control’ when dealing with weapons. I thought this was an excellent approach to training as we were simply applying a principle to a variety of problems… I couldn’t help thinking about what would happen on a beach in England if a group of 60 people were seen attacking each other with plastic guns, knives and sticks…even the Police here stopped to watch us and said how good it looked!!!
The afternoon saw us head to the infamous Wingate Institute, I have heard about this place so many times over the past few years it was fantastic to actually train there. Dave was right – it’s pretty hot in there! We focused on some higher-level techniques centered on hostage situations, which was interesting as I have never done this before.
I am a ‘people watcher’ and what was quite evident was the attention span of everybody. Quite often during training you seen some peoples ‘eyes’ wandering’ during long explanations of techniques however, this didn’t happen! Eyal kept everyone engaged and commanded the room and I didn’t see one person lose focus.
A 7pm finish saw us back on the bus towards Netanya… how did I feel? Tired but looking forward to tomorrow! – Andy Conroy.
The second day began down at the beach, which means only one thing… sand! Sand everywhere! A groin guard with sand it, not pleasant!
Tommy warmed us up with some Primal Move on the beach. I am a Primal Move Instructor myself and it was great to do this in a completely different environment, working on the sand added another dimension to the movements. Great instruction as always by Tommy!
Eyal then started to teach us ‘Fighting Tactics’ from the system, various ways in which to use faking movements in a fighting situation. It was great to train purely in pro-active fighting skills thinking about ‘attacking the attacker’ and taking the initiative in a situation.
After the beach we are told to meet again in 30 minutes outside the hotel to travel to Wingate. Now, there are two ways up to the road from the beach, to walk further along the beach and up the steps like normal people. Or to ‘ascend’ a steep sandy slope near to where we were training, which takes about 10 minutes off the time to get to the hotel, and when you only have 30 minutes to get back, changed and showered… the sandy slope ‘seems’ to be the best option… let’s just say the sand is hot, there are stones underneath, you have a bag on your shoulder and another 60 instructors all going up the slope… it seems a good idea at the time! I can only think this is the Israeli version of a ‘cool down’!
At Wingate we trained on Dave Slade’s favorite… rolls, break-falls, throws and takedowns!! I haven’t mentioned the size of some of these guys here either yet, let’s just say there are some ‘big units’ out here and I am sure some enjoyed the throws more than others!
For the final part of the day we divided into groups based on the on the next grade we are going for. I won’t be grading this year as I recently passed my G5 and now have to wait for a year to take my Expert Level 1 grade, so this year is all about preparation and to see what the Expert test involves….
I looked across the room to see Joe Ambrosino and Jon Bullock practicing taking someone to the ground who was holding a hand grenades… I am sure there is some bizarre ‘MasterClass’ plan going to come out of that type of training! By the way, one of the pictures attached to this blog is Jon Bullock practicing his ‘flying’ ready for Expert 3 in a couple of years!
Looking around the training hall today, it is really good to see people from over 25 countries from around the world represented here all speaking one common language, KM. Watching the people training around the room you see very little variation in techniques and the knowledge is coming straight from the source so you can be assured at the Institute of Krav Maga UK we are bringing back the accurate knowledge to pass on to you all.
If you haven’t done so already, I would strongly recommend visiting Israel, either to the G Camp (if you are a P5 or G Grade) or to Touring & Training. The instruction is first class!
So I am now in my room posting this blog, although finding a WIFI signal requires me to stand with 1 arm pointing east, 1 leg pointing North West while doing a headstand, somewhere around the balcony area…
Off to the forest tomorrow for more training, so sleep time beckons!
See you all soon.
A full day of outdoor training today in a Nature Reserve. As Dave Slade mentioned in his blog, the area is fantastic. We trained under the shade of the trees however you could still really feel the heat!
Training began with working on various different defences against attacks with a knife. Eyal took us through the various options to ‘control the knife’ and disarming when necessary.
The most interesting thing about training in the Forest was that the surface was covered with pine leaves, rocks and stones, so you had to concentrate on keeping your balance at all times and not lose your footing… it added even more of the element of realism! This was especially the case when using kicks to defend against the knife, accurate foot positioning was the key!
Lunch was prepared by KMG General Manager David Gorin in the form of a barbecue which looked lovely – but I’m a vegetarian!!
I had told David about this and he assured me there would be a ‘vegetarian option’, which turned out to consist of leaves with rice in the middle! This probably doesn’t sound all that if you’re a carnivore, however it was surprisingly nice!
A coach journey home and then a down to the beach for some water training which sounds great – but I can’t actually swim! Nevertheless, I persevered and the water training involved using the water as resistance for training your punching and kicking.
When then ventured onto the beach and by now it was early evening so we started to train in the ‘low light conditions’. This was reality based training at it’s best. We learnt about how our eyes adjust to the darker conditions and how defending a knife in the dark is purely based on reaction to the change in silhouette of the attacker as trust me… you don’t actually see the knife!
The beach training finished with us slow fighting with each other in the dark, one with a knife who could use it at any time! I ended up fighting with Jon Bullock who proceeded to kick sand into my face and said it was a ‘tactical distraction’ to stop me using the knife. Payback will happen when he least expects it.
I was looking for Joe at the end of the beach training and couldn’t see him. I then saw a figure emerge from the darkness covered head to toe in sand all over his body and face… it turns out that ground fighting on the beach with Alex from Holland wasn’t the best idea!!
Another trip out tomorrow for some CQB training so I’ll let you know how that goes. Hope everybody back in the UK is enjoying the training break and looking forward to getting back to class on the 18th June 2012.
Andy ‘Non-Swimming Vegetarian’ Conroy
A late night last night saw me falling/crawling out of bed this morning ready for the day’s training.
Apologies that this is a short blog, but it’s been a long day and tomorrow looks to be even longer! I know you are all playing violins in sympathy! Especially Rick Baker!!
We headed to an outdoor training facility in Ceasaria just outside Netanya, which is used by various Tactical Training companies for shooting, driving and other ‘James Bond’ type activities.
The aim of the morning session was to apply our Krav Maga training in confined spaces such as against a wall, in a corner or walking through a door way. Eyal took us through the tactical aspects of using Krav Maga in these environments and how we need to adapt our skills accordingly. We dealt with ‘high risk’ situations involving knives and guns…. a really interesting session that gets you thinking more and more about how the environment affects your ability to react.
The afternoon we moved to a space which was apparently a training hall. Let’s just say that I don’t think it is used that often. Apparently it also doubled as a birds nest…
The afternoon training focused on fighting tactics and reaction drills. Eyal showed us some excellent drills to improve our focus, decision making and determination with some impressive demonstrations by him and Tal. I am planning on developing these drills and integrating them into our G Level training as I think it will be very beneficial to a lot of you.
We then broke into groups and started to work on the relevant material for our next grade.
Dinner tonight saw 20 of us descend on a restaurant with 16 people ordering the same thing. Tommy Blom’s diet of 2 burgers with 2 eggs and salad seems to be the preferred ‘dish of the week’ – so tonight Tommy decided he needed to have 4 burgers and 4 eggs…I don’t think the increase is going catch on somehow if people are hoping to take a grading at the end of the week! ☺
That’s all for today, tomorrow is another long day at the Wingate Institute so I will ‘report’ tomorrow evening.
See you all soon!
P.S I am trying to beat Dave’s 281 LIKES for his blog on the Facebook link. So if you are reading it and haven’t clicked the LIKE button below, could you do me a favour and click it? Mainly just to annoy him.
I am trying to think of the appropriate words to explain how my body felt this morning… but all I can come up with is words to the effect of ‘extremely tired’. Those of you who know me better, will understand that I shouldn’t actually write the words I really want to use!
This morning started with a lecture from a psychologist from the Israeli Defence Forces. She spoke to us about the effects of stress that humans can suffer from and how that affects performance. The whole lecture was extremely interesting and included group exercises about the way in which you communicate with someone, based on a task they have to achieve, can drastically affect the results – the lecture was a great addition to the training and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it!
We then all dragged ourselves on the bus and headed to the Wingate Institute for a day of training.
Yesterday saw the arrival of Peter Lakatos. Peter is the KMG Director for Hungary (Expert 2), a Master RKC Kettebell Instructor and the creator of Primal Move – in other words, a double-hard bloke!!! Peter took us through some more Primal Move, which again, was a great addition to our training!
We then began training….
As Friday (grading day!) is getting nearer and nearer, we are focusing on more about the techniques for the test, breaking into groups dependent on the level everyone is grading for. Our group (grading for Expert 1) covered a lot of jumping kicks and fighting tactics.
Institute of KM Instructor Joe Ambrosino is preparing for his Expert 3 test this week, so has been covering all of the syllabus… P1 to E3 – that’s quite a lot of remember!
I heard Jon Bullock say he would support Joe on the day and get him off to a good start by setting up a full drum kit outside of his room on Friday morning and begin to beat the drums in a manner not unlike the build up to a boxing match/UFC Match or Action Adventure movie trailer. I’m not quite sure how Jon’s mind works!!
Tomorrow we are heading up to Haifa (North Israel) to train at a country club followed by – wait for it – 2 hours of rest and recouperation in the swimming pool and Jacuzzis, although I am not going to believe this until it actually happens!
All in all a good day. So much knowledge gained and I can’t wait to get back to class to start putting some of this experience into practice.!
See you all soon!
Today saw us travelling to Haifa in the North of Israel….the first bonus is that it’s a 50 minute drive so 50 minutes more sleep!!! ☺
We headed to a Leisure Centre called ‘Space’ which had indoor and outdoor swimming pools and a gym. We trained in – wait for it – an air conditioned studio. Now that’s more like it!
Quite a relaxing day with some more training on fighting tactics and then a couple of hours to sit around the pool, eat and relax.
We then carried on with some more training before heading back to Netanya.
Tomorrow is the day that some of the guys/girl take their grades for either Expert 1, 2 or 3, so as I sit here in the hotel some ‘last minute’ preparation is going on with the sticks, knives and AK47s (rubber ones of course!) laying around lobby!
Joe is taking his Expert 3 tomorrow (you have to wait 3 years between Expert 2 and Expert 3) although most of you know Joe as someone who jokes around, has a laugh – generally a ‘people person’ – tonight he is focused, reviewing the syllabus and preparing himself to do as well as he can. This is one serious test so please wish him all the best!
Tomorrow we start with some light training on the beach and then we head to Wingate to start the tests!
Apologies this is a short blog, but today really has been quite relaxed compared to the previous few days, which has been a welcome change.
We won’t know the results of the grading until Saturday but I’ll post a blog tomorrow night to let you know how it went!
Today was testing day! It started with some optional mental training on the beach followed by heading to Wingate.
Everyone who was testing was broken down into groups depending on the level they were testing for.The test began at 11.00 and didn’t finish until 7pm!!!! Each group had 2 Global Team members assessing them with Eyal overseeing the whole event.
Respect has to be shown for everyone who participated, a grading/testing at this level is both physically and mentally challenging and to just step onto the mat is a success in itself!
Watching the test from the outside gave me a good in-sight of what is expected of me next year and the training I will have to do to prepare for it… remember, these guys have just completed 7 days of training in Israel prior to the test, and that in itself takes its toll on you.
Seeing the test has completely focused me for the next 12 months of training, and my goal of Expert 1 has now been set!
The results of the test plus feedback and corrections are tomorrow. (corrections – when the Global Team run through techniques that were seen to have common errors across a few people, which means the teaching process of the technique needs to be repeated and refined).
As soon as the day has finished, I’ll post the results on here with a few pictures!
2 more nights in Israel – it’s been emotional!
Final day of E Camp today which focused on feedback, corrections and… the results from the test!
Eyal took a few skills from the higher levels of the Expert syllabus which he felt needed some general improvement. Techniques included close range threats with a knife, hostage situations with a handgun and disarming someone with a hand grenade – the normal stuff I need on a day to day basis living near Southend, Essex!!!
Eyal then gave a speech about performance under pressure during grading, what was expected and the reasons why some people can often be more successful than others during structured assessments.
Each grading group was then sent to their respective examiners and were given accurate feedback on their performance.
I am pleased to report that Institute UK Instructor and Co-founder of the club Joe Ambrosino passed his Expert Level 3 exam. This was a technical, tactical and focused test and he did extremely well. Joe is now the only Expert Level 3 in the UK and we are extremely proud of him – A fantastic achievement!
Jon Bullock wants me to mention that Joe was seen at the end of the test throwing up in the corner of the room… I think this shows how hard he was working (maybe too hard!) Jon’s assessment was– ‘Big Sissy’… (this section has been edited to keep the peace – Dave!)
The day then ended with certificate presentation and photos with everyone (see below!)
I have had a fantastic time here in Israel, I have learnt a lot and it has pushed my knowledge and experience to a new level. Thanks to Jon and Joe for offering to send me to Israel – at the Institute we are given so many opportunities that are unheard of at other Martial Arts clubs and I am very grateful for that!
Next year will see Sam, Tibor and myself all coming here to train and take our Expert 1 exams. My training starts now – 12 months of focused preparation.
I am looking forward to returning the UK, getting back to class and continuing to push the standard in our club.
Training in Krav Maga gives me life skills, ambition, and the chance to be involved in something amazing.
The Institute and KMG UK are growing at fantastic rate, more opportunities will be offered to you all in the next few months and into next year – so stay focused and get the most from your training!
I hope you have enjoyed this blog, see you all soon in class or at one of the Institute MasterClasses soon.