Institute student Maria Horn kept a diary of her time at the recent Institute of Krav Maga Scotland‘s Krav Island 2012 weekend.

I have been asked to blog about my Krav Island experience – as I haven’t blogged before please bear with me…

Back in June I noticed an advert for Krav Island, took a look, thought it sounded awesome so booked my ticket. The idea of training in different environments appealed to me and it sounded fun, although people I mentioned it to in class thought I was crazy! Before I knew it, it was August 24 and I’m sitting in Heathrow Airport waiting with nervous anticipation for the flight, wondering what on earth I have let myself in for and knowing there was no turning back now – hmm maybe the others were right!

John Miller, Director of The Scottish Institute and instructor Bartosz met us at Glasgow station to take us to Loch Lomond. There were 6 other London members who had also travelled up and it was good to see familiar faces. We all piled into the minibus and our Krav Island adventure had begun….

We arrived to a very wet, rainy but beautiful Loch Lomond, there were lots of people and it was a friendly atmosphere. Allocated my accommodation, I set off with the other girls to find it, we were in the Balmaha House Bunk House, the room was cosy – 6 girls in three bunk beds!

It was soon time for the first session with Instructor Alan Clark, which was a bit ‘deja vu’ as the content was similar to the MasterClass we had attended the weekend before. The major difference this time being that we were training on muddy, waterlogged ground, so it was an altogether even more challenging experience. As the session went on, the ground became wetter and muddier and we had to practise techniques whilst trying not to slide and fall. There was also the joy of break-falling and defending from the ground with sand getting into places where it shouldn’t and stones scratching your back!

After dinner it was time for night training, we were led to a car park and first practised various techniques in low lighting, including knife defence, chokes, bear-hugs and finishing with multiple attackers. The next exercise was The Gauntlet, which involved running up an unlit path and dealing with various situations along the way. The group was split into two and I was in the group of attackers, we were taken up the path and randomly stationed in groups. Some people were given knives, some held Melons and it was up to us to decide whether we wanted to attack or simply be a passerby asking directions.

It was soon time to change roles, as I started to run up the path it soon became evident how tough this exercise was, it was so dark that you couldn’t even see the path in front of you, so seeing attackers was difficult. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, Halloween’s Mike Myers appeared from the shadows clutching a machete, my reaction was certainly flight as I didn’t stop running until I’d reached the end of the gauntlet. Although the experience completely freaked me out, being tested in that environment, at that stress level and completely out of my comfort zone was the best training exercise I have ever completed, and one I would want to repeat in order to improve my reactions.

The next morning we took a boat across to Inchcaillock Island, where we hiked over to the shore and began training on the sand for the first session, the sand makes training much more challenging and tiring. We covered some third party protection drills before moving on to training in time-line and prevention. After lunch it was time to get wet and cold, it was the final session of the weekend and it was taking place in the lake. To begin with we warmed up on the beach and then in we went, the water was freezing and using it as a weapon meant there was a lot of splashing and head dunking going on. It was a fantastic way to end a brilliant weekend but it was over far too quickly, as we were soon heading back across the island and it was time to head off and catch my flight home.

There is so much more I could write about this weekend but this blog would then become a book! It was an unforgettable experience, it took me out of my comfort zone on numerous occasions and training was taken to a whole new level which you can’t experience in a gym. The team of instructors were fantastic and although over 100 people took part in Krav Island, there were always instructors near by correcting and offering advice throughout. We covered lots of different techniques within the two days in very challenging environments, with several bur-pee and push up drills thrown in for good measure. I met lots of great new people both from Scotland and other institutes even as far as the Netherlands. I have absolutely no regrets in signing up and I’ve already booked my ticket for next year and look forward to seeing you there…

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