50 Shades of Pain – After the dust has settled
On Sunday the 3rd of January I taught my very first Masterclass.
I’d like to thank everybody who came along to train and improve, it was also great to see KMG Instructors Gemma Hards from Scotland and Lee Douglas from Preston attending. Both travelled an exceptionally long way to be there and seeing others Instructors take the time to come along and train is always inspiring.
The MasterClass was a huge step for me as an Instructor, teaching 100+ people was an amazing experience and it was good to see everyone willing to adapt to new ideas and get involved in more intense training over a sustained period of time, which made the training long yet fun!
In my initial blog about the MasterClass, I outlined the subjects that I’d be teaching and now I would like to recap some of the points I made at the MasterClass in the hope it will help you to continue to improve your training.
The MasterClass started with you working on the technical aspects of moving and positioning yourself to your advantage.
These are the basics of every class and my MasterClass was never going to begin in a different way, as the basics matter!
My goal was to make sure you were moving as smoothly as possible from the beginning to the end and that meant continuous repetition, otherwise how else do you improve on something without doing it a lot!
Basics can be boring, yet your footwork needs to be as instinctive as walking and breathing if you’re going to be able to survive a confrontation. There is absolutely no value in practicing your striking skills if you are struggling with shifting your weight to generate power or understanding about the range between you and your assailant.
It is important to remember that in Krav Maga, you are always considering the ‘2nd attacker’, you always ‘presume’ that there may be other people who also want to confront you and that means you having the ability to move and turn to face the 2nd attacker or… move out the way! Understanding this way of thinking about conflict is paramount to your success.
The first part of the MasterClass concluded with Shadow Boxing so you could see how a simple activity of moving and striking ‘in the air’ can become a sandbox, where you can easily build new skills and practice you existing ones. Shadow Boxing is about preparation, it gives you the chance to practice almost anything in a relatively calm manner ready for more intense training.
You then moved onto training with a partner focusing on moving your body to increase the chance of defending yourself. If you have trained with me before, then you know that I prefer to focus on taking ‘action’ rather than relying on ‘reaction’ as taking action is always quicker! Improving your body movement can give you much more opportunities to take that initial action.
Having the ability to move out of range rather than just relying on your ability to ‘block’ an attack, is of course a valuable tool to have in your box. Moving out of range can also give you opportunities and show you ‘openings’ in your attackers defence that can be exploited.
If your attacker ‘knows’ that each time they attempt to attack you, they miss and receive a serious of counter-attackers from you, it will break their self-confidence, possibly making them unwilling to continue trying.
Remember the main aim of Krav Maga:
“To make an attacker(s) unwilling or unable to continue”
You focused on ‘slipping and weaving’ our of the way when faced with punches that come in a circular motion or straight motion towards you, as well as how to use a simple switching of your foot position to deal with circular kicks to your legs.
After you have completed all of this, about an hour had passed – it had been relatively calm – now it was time for the storm!
Sparring is one of my favorite activities. There are many different types of sparring that can involved your opponent being armed or un-armed, standing up, on the ground, against one attacker or against many.
At the Masterclass the focus was on you defending against an unarmed opponent or opponents.
You will remember that I said that many people associate sparring with winning. This is not the case, especially in Krav Maga.
In Krav Maga, winning for us is, primarily not being in the confrontation, having had the awareness and skills to move away from the conflict to a place of safety. Winning in Krav Maga can also be having the sense to search for an object to defend yourself with if the situation dictates that it is reasonable to do so.
Sparring whilst wearing gloves and a gum shield does remove some important aspects of Krav Maga training, as you are unable to use techniques to vulnerable parts of the body due to the restrictions of wearing the gloves.
Also in sparring you have to govern yourself by the golden rule of not hurting your partner, meaning you cannot fully practice certain techniques.
It is simply an exercise to help you gradually become inoculated against stress and to get you used to getting hit, so you don’t live in a dream world whereby you learn self defence and the outcome is always that you are successful and never have to deal with a less than ideal outcome and even more importantly getting used to actually having to make physical contact with someone else. Of course you add all that together with the fact is very hard work and increases your fitness level and your understanding of the specific type of fitness required for dealing with conflict.
Sparring is something that we integrate into regular classes, and do so more and more as you progress. This was about doing it for an extended period of time.
The MasterClass could not have finished without some determination drills. They are a lot of fun as you get to test your ability to continue despite exhaustion, giving you the ability to push on when it really matters.
You all finished the day happy, sweaty (very) and with a new found respect for all of your training colleagues.
Now I’m told there are rumours I ‘may’ be allowed to run another Masterclass next year, so keep your focus on your training this year, and let’s see how many of your are up for ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ in 2014.
In the meantime, I’ll see you all for MasterClass 02/2013 ‘Reality in Regents Park’ where you’ll be training in your everyday/outdoor closing! Keep an eye on your email for full details.
Thanks again everyone, Sam.