Let me introduce myself, my name is Lionel Cohen, I have been training with the Institute of Krav Maga since they began teaching Krav Maga in 2006,
I have just had a fantastic Krav Maga experience and I though i would be good to share it with you.
A few months ago, my friend and long-time training colleague in Krav Maga, Luigi Bartone decide we’d go out on a limb and attend the Graduate Training Weekend in Prague, Czech Republic. Luigi was going just to train but I had made the decision to grade for my next grade, Graduate Level 4.
The Graduate Weekend is an intensive weekend of training with the KMG Chief Instructor, Eyal Yanilov. 3 days of advanced Krav Maga training with the man himself!
In hindsight, at the time of booking I didn’t really consider the fact that we’d be going just after the Christmas period, which generally involves less training and far too much food!
Christmas and the New Year passed and suddenly we found ourselves boarding the EasyJet flight (we like to travel in style!)…and 1 hour and 30 minutes later we land in Prague…it is now too late to back out!
(I have to say if you haven’t been to Prague, then go…it’s a stunning city to visit)
Day 1 of the weekend begins and we quickly register that we have actually turned up…and Eyal begins to explain what will happen during the weekend and the fact it’s the first one they have organised!
Of course it is then time to meet the other people on the weekend who have come from other countries…and what better way to meet them than to ‘slow’ fight with them…the idea of the exercise was to have a full on conversation with your partner, whilst fighting them…with the aim of keeping a good rhythm and controlling your breathing, not an easy thing to do!
The first day saw us training for a total of 7 hours, which surprisingly seemed to pass very quickly. Eyal put us through our paces with various drills and some different exercises to show how the Krav Maga system has continued to develop since it was founded by his Instructor, Imi Lichtenfeld
Day 2 began with a very valid point from Eyal…‘you have much more chance of hurting yourself through falling than from fighting’…so naturally, we practiced some break-falls and rolls.
Now, at this point I decided to share with the group my experience of falling of my scooter twice last year but managing to somehow fall correctly and not get injured.
Eyal was naturally impressed so rewarded me by asking me to do several ‘long jumping’ rolls which was aided by his foot catapulting me further…let’s just say it was a ‘bumpy landing!’ 🙂
The ‘treat’ of the weekend was a very well organised dinner for everyone attend the training, which allowed everyone to chill out (without a groin guard on) and let of steam…before the BIG day…grading day!
So…the BIG day arrives…you are feel the level of adrenaline in the room is high as everyone prepares themselves mentally for what is expected to be a long grading.
The training began with…wait for it…a 3-hour warm up!!!!
After the ‘extended’ warm up…at 12 o’clock the show begins!
We are separated into groups, I am grading for my Graduate 4, it’s big deal for me and it makes me one of the 2 highest graded members of the Institute of Krav Maga UK. In my group there are two other guys grading with me, one from the Czech Republic and one from Germany.
The first hour and a half we went through so many techniques, I wasn’t sure if the grading was actually going to be quite short…I wish!
5 hours later and we are still grading and everyone still going ‘full on’!
After this amount of time ‘showing what you know’ I started to feel the lack of sugar in my body and when we were giving a break, I had nothing left to eat…schoolboy error, which is ironic as I run two restaurants!!
The techniques came to the end and there was just abit of sparring left to do.
Now, there were two mistakes in my thought process…the words ‘Just’ and ‘Abit’…
We went through 20 long minutes of sparring with the added bonus of burpees, push-ups!
I can honestly say that was the toughest fighting experience of my whole Krav Maga career.
The grading comes to an end… we are then given extensive feedback about how we performed… I am extremely pleased to say I am now a Graduate 4, which makes me one of the highest graded Krav Maga members in the UK… very proud!
Safely back on UK soil…I reflect on the weekend! It was fast, furious, fantastically organised, with exceptional teaching, an amazing experience and one, which has pushed my capabilities even further.
I heard that there is going to be a G-Weekend in November in the UK. If you are Graduate Level in Krav Maga, or hope to be by November… think about attending the G-Weekend, you’ll get so much out of it, I certainly did!
And as we say in France… What a Vav-vav-voom weekend! 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this blog, take care everyone and see you soon!
Lionel Cohen (G4)