Day 1: Welcome to Netanya
OK – so the idea is to keep a diary of what’s going on over here in Israel for the Krav Maga Global Graduate Camp. Apologies in advance for any poor grammar, uninteligable Essex slang or general ranting. Hopefully, time permitting, I’ll post an update on this page every night, giving you some highlights of that day’s activities
First impressions. It’s hot. Really hot. We arrived at the hotel in Netanya at 5.30 this afternoon, and it was still over 30 degrees. I’m wearing skinny jeans. Poor choice.
Secondly, the view from the hotel is stunning – the coastline and beach are beautiful.
The hotel is full of KMG instructors, graduate level students and global team members. Plenty of hands to be shaken, and stories of past camps and courses to be relived. Joe is in his element. There isn’t anybody in this entire city he doesn’t seem to know, and they all know him. He is also wearing a very smart striped shirt. I think it’s made of nylon. Again, like the skinny jeans. In this heat, poor choice.
Hung out in the hotel lobby for a bit, shook a few hands myself. Good to see some of the guys over from the US. Met Xris Omotesa from Krav Maga Memphis. Last time I saw him, he was at the receiving end of one of Magda’s famous groin kicks. Google him to see how big he is, to see why that’s funny. Magda – he still remembers you by the way…
Headed out to dinner with a few old friends, and a few new ones. Met up with KMG UK Instructors Allan ‘grasshopper’ Dennis and Aaron Moore, and legendary meat and coffee addict, Global Team Expert Instructor Tommy Blom. I had 4 large meatballs for dinner and a small espresso. Tommy had 10 large meatballs and 2 large americanos. When he ordered, the waitress seemed shocked. When I ordered shortly afterwards, she made an “awww” sound, and laughed. Like she’d just seen a puppy or something.
Went to get some water, and returned to the hotel. The place is really filling up now – I think in total, there will be 65+ participants from overseas, plus the same again from Israel. It’s going to be massive. We’re meeting tomorrow morning for a briefing, then afterwards it’s on to the first day of training. Everyone is buzzing – you can tell.
Anyway, that’s all there is to tell at the moment. I’ll hopefully have some more updates for you tomorrow. Wifi permitting, I’ll try and upload some pics and videos. If I can’t post them here, I’ll post them to Facebook. Can’t wait to see what Eyal’s got in store…
See you tomorrow. Stay safe. Dave,
Apologies in advance, but this is the second time I’ve written this – my fried brain forgot to save the changes first time round. trust me, it was hilarious. This time there may be more facts and less humour. Such is life.
Anyway – the first proper day of training. And what a day…
We started the morning with a presentation from Eyal and David Gorin, KMGs general manager. There’s 65 of us here from all over the world. There’s some really cool people here, and some ‘proper hard geezers’ as we say in Essex…
Then onto Netanya beach for kick defences and knife work. Training on the beach is such a shock, as to begin with, you substitute the relative comfort of a gym, for uneven ground and hidden obstacles. Technique is quite hard to get right to begin with, but it makes you think. Should you ever be unfortunate enough to have to use this, you’re probably going to come up against unsure footing, and many distractions. Good reality training. Also, trying to control a knife when you and your partner are both sweating out factor 50 is not easy! Today i was training with Institute student Lionel Cohen G2. Those of you who have met either of us will vouch for the fact our arms are both quite boney. Got some awesome bruises. Also, my shorts split in 2 after the first high side-kick. Good times. Some great demos by Eyal and Tommy. Those guys are fast!
We stopped quickly for lunch, and then took the coach to the famous Wingate Centre for Physical Education and Sport. Here began a 6 hour session of… Wait for it… Rolls, takedowns and groundwork!!! In the hottest building ever invented by man. Oh yeah, we started with the heavy stuff, and guess what? It was awesome.
Tommy warmed everybody up with some Primal Move incorporating exercises for back flexibility and rolls. I’ve always been a bit ‘aprehensive’ about rolls. I can do them, but for me it’s always been one of the weaker subjects. After this Primal Move workout however, I was performing rolls and stretches in a way I’d never really had the confidence to do before. I recommend everybody try it. To walk out of that session knowing that there is such a fun and intuitive way to teach rolls is a real eye opener.
Also, some excellent ground work demos by Global Team member Tal Kvores. He took down the biggest guy in the room ( and I mean huge ) like it was nothing.
Another real eye opener, is the fact that all the Global team are actually in there training with us – not teaching. Tal, Ilya, Merav, and a couple of the Hungarian expert level guys sparring and wrestling with each other.
We covered a lot of the G4 groundwork syllabus today, and by the end of 6 hours ( did I mention it was 6 hours?!) everybody is starting to feel it. It was a great session.
So, back to the hotel. Lift didn’t work. Crawled up 5 floors in agony. Pretended it wasn’t an issue, as I was surrounded by the Russian dudes! Those guys train hard – really great to watch, and they inspire you to do the same.
Tomorrow it’s back to Wingate for an 9 am start. Finish at 6. More groundwork apparently, according to the itinery, plus loads of pistol and long-barrel weapon work. It’s going to be intense, and the buzz over dinner suggests it’s going to be another amazing day. I can’t describe how fast Eyal is…
Must go to bed now. It’s 11pm Israeli time, and my brain has stopped working…
See you tomorrow. Stay safe, Dave.
Today has been quite an intense day, training-wise. Maybe not as physically demanding as yesterday, but 9 hours of techniques, repetition, technical checkpoints and fine-tuning.
We started, as yesterday, with a Primal Move warm-up by Tommy. I think I’m sold on this – I think it’s a great way to get ready for class – it encourages spacial awareness, co-ordination, and works your entire body, but in a fun way, and in a way that has a lot of relevance to Krav Maga techniques. It’s a combination of stretching, power drills and light cardio all rolled into one. I’ve found myself really looking forward to the next warm up. Bet you wouldn’t hear me say that JB!!!
A bit of slow fighting followed, then onto continuation of the knife drills from yesterday. We concentrated a lot on kicks against knife, and bailing out. It’s amazing how once Eyal explains the simplest of body defences and foot placement, it becomes so much more effective – and devastating.
After knife came pistol work. Again, great demos from the Global Team – very fast and very precise.
This was pretty much the way the morning went. Lots of variations and repetition. You can visibly see people’s technique improving all the time – that’s the beauty of this camp. There’s no pressure to perform, so in a perverse way, people actually perform a lot better. The hall we were in was a lot cooler that yesterday’s judo hall.
Lunch arrived, courtesy of David Gorin and Joe. We hadn’t seen Joe properly for a couple of days – we think he might be undertaking a 1-man tour of Israel on his fold-up bike! That Brompton has covered some miles already… Good to see his smiling face when you’re a bit knackered – always manages to cheer us up. I don’t know exactly why he is smiling all the time, as the Expert Camp is just around the corner… Surely he knows what to expect?!
Bought a KMG dri-fit training shirt today. It’s the first day I haven’t had to wring out 3 t-shirts at the end of the day… Did I mention it was hot? Possibly. Moving on…
Back to our old friend The Judo Hall in the afternoon, for revision of graduate material. There’s quite a leap in the G4 syllabus. Loads of new techniques to learn. Most of them involve takedowns. More specifically, most of them involve me being slammed to the floor. A lot. We had about 10 expert level guys in the room giving us feedback and fine tuning our techniques. Really great lesson.
Eyal then took us through some long-barrelled weapon defences. An entire room of 65 guys smiling like little kids when he did his demos! What he does is so precise, and so dynamic and technically very difficult, but he makes it seem effortless. I think he was working at about 70% speed for our learning benefit. I imagine 100% would be terrifying!! Note to self: Always be polite to Eyal.
Then, something different. Some Mental Training techniques. Visualising scenarios, and visualising the outcome before it has happened. Breathing techniques for high stress situations, and a great lecture on the Moral Aspects of Krav Maga. How to make the correct decision under stress, and how to convey to students the pure motives of Krav Maga…
After that, of course, more groundwork. Taking head locks to the ground using rolls as a defence. I think at this point everybody is quite tired. And by everybody, I mean everybody but the Russian and Polish guys. They are hard as nails. Fact. They also train fast and hard, but don’t seem to sweat… They are great fighters, and being around them is also improving us. This is what is so great about this experience; They move exactly the same way as you, the students, do. Their techniques are the same as yours. In fact from all over the world, the consistency of techniques is amazing. At the Institute of Krav Maga, you are getting taught exactly what the rest of of the world is getting taught. It’s a real high standard, and it comes directly from Israel through the Instructor Team.
Back home by 7.30, then off for a bite to eat. Went out with KMG instructors Alan Dennis, James Hobson and the guys from Institute of Krav Maga Scotland. Top guys – looking forward to training with them some more after this has finished.
Apologies for lack of pictures, but the Internet is quite slow at this hotel. An artist’s impression via carrier pigeon might reach you quicker – but I will persevere.
Days 4 + 5 (day 9?)
Hello once again. Apologies for the radio silence yesterday, but it was a very long day, we did a lot of travelling, and didn’t return to the hotel until 12.30am (00.30 hours for you military types…) As we had an early start this morning, I took the executive decision to pass out on my bed. Please forgive me. I was not neglecting you.
So, yesterday we travelled to En Afek Nature Reserve to train under the trees in the beautiful sunshine. It is an exceptionally beautiful part of the world. It took approximately 1 and a half hours to get there. Although he had not travelled with us in the coach, Joe was there already – and so was the infamous fold up bike. I have my doubts, but I’d like to think he cycled all the way. If however, it is just a fashion accessory – surely he could have chosen something a little lighter… Like a watch maybe? Anyway, i digress…
We started with some jogging and power drills, then into some great slow fighting drills. I think everybody has relaxed into the rhythm of things now – there’s a lot of smiling, and a lot of fun being had. You can still train hard with a smile on your face. This is a fact. Again, Eyal and Tommy are leading proceedings, and we have Merav, Ilya, Shahar and others correcting us. We divide into grades and cover a lot of material. Alan Dennis and I work on stone defences using, well, real stones. Why not. I think Tommy found it amusing that I kept going to find the same stone after being disarmed, rather than picking up another one. There were a few around. I liked this one.
Lots of long barrelled weapon work and some stick defences followed. Gradually however, a great smell started to waft over us… BBQ time!
65 hungry people, sat in a nature reserve eating fresh barbecued chicken and lamb with ice cold bottled water in the sunshine. Pretty perfect. How was the Jubilee by the way? I heard it rained…
We then went to Hof Dor, which is a contender for ‘best beach in Israel’ according to the brochure. It’s leagues ahead of Walton-on-the-naze, trust me.
We spent the afternoon, training in the sea. First resistance work, training kicks and defences, then knife work, then chokes. Then chokes under water… Chokes under water… Thought I’d say that twice. Just so you get the picture. A lot of the guys started to get pretty cold towards the end as the afternoon got late… Not the English or Scottish guys however. When the North Sea is the best you have, Hof Dor is like a jacuzzi. Really unusual training at a really special place. I’ll remember it for the rest of my life. When you stop to take it all in – this camp really is quite amazing, and it’s a privilege to be here. I recommend you try it at least once in your life, if you can.
We then got changed and went to a pub and had some food and maybe a cheeky half of Gold Star lager… Got a chance to talk nonsense with a lot of the other guys here. It’s a really good crowd, in and out of the training environment.
Then to bed after a long journey home.
Today was training in a health spa in Haifa – lots of revision of techniques and some free work with the knife. We also did some scenario training – got loads of fresh, exciting ideas to take back to classes at home. We’re not just here to better ourselves, but to better the way we teach, and the knowledge we pass on.
After lunch, we did free work within our specific grades – which for me meant takedowns, rolls and ground work and some long-barrelled weapon work. We moved outside to do rolls down a steep hill, which was hilarious. Lionel has some videos of this, so I’m sure I can persuade him to pass them on. A really great day again. Back to Wingate tomorrow for some more fun and games.
I’ve just got back to the hotel to find the maid has left a ‘Hello Kitty’ beach ball in my room. I don’t understand the significance of this. She must know the entire hotel is booked with KM practitioners. A surreal end to another brilliant day.
I’m going to try and upload a couple of pics now. The quality won’t be great, as the bandwidth isn’t too fast, but fingers crossed… You’ll get to see a couple of locations, Joe’s mean machine, and him and Eyal discussing BBQ sauce recipes. Possibly.
Until tomorrow, Kida and stay safe. Dave
Hello. Welcome to the day 6 update. The penultimate day of the G Camp…
I’m going to keep it short and sweet tonight – it has been a very physical day today; 6 hours non-stop at Wingate again, followed by mental training in the afternoon sun. Actually a very perfect day. If you love KM as much as I do, some days will stick in your mind. This was one of them.
We have a half day tomorrow, and then the course is over. I thought I’d use the remaining time I’m here to recap over everything we’ve done, and give you a more detailed blog then. I’m quite tired now, and i need my beauty sleep.
I’m staying in Israel until Friday. KMG UK Director Jon Bullock, and Institute instructor ‘Smiling Andy Conroy’ will both be here by Thursday, so it’ll be good to see them both. None of those long sleeved t-shirts out here Andy, it’s hot and getting hotter!
We’ve all made many new friends out here, and it’s great to see the KMG family growing. You’re all part of something very special, and the quality of the Krav Maga is second to none – I have no doubt of that. If this blog, or the feedback from any other instructors out here you may know, has whetted your appetite to do this next year, I honestly suggest you follow it up. If you can get out here, you’ll not regret it.
So anyway, see you tomorrow. I’ll have more for you then.
P.s. Joe was training with us today. Looks like all that cycling has paid off… I reckon he’ll smash the E3. Just like he smashed Alan Dennis’ today in sparring!!! Sorry Alan, couldn’t resist!
Day 7: Final Day