Krav Maga Training with Eyal Yanilov – By Dan Chappell
I arrived in Harlow at about 11:45pm after a treacherous four hour drive from Chorley. After checking in it was straight to bed with a mixture of excitement, fear and trepidation about what would lie ahead.
I met most of the other West Coast Krav Maga guys (and ladies) at breakfast in our Harlow Hotel and we all headed over to the Leisure center in good time for registration. Jon Bullock the UK director of Krav Maga took to the stage and had a brief word about what would be expected of us and what we could expect during the next three days. Then it was straight into the Ground Force Method warm up lead by Rick Baker, I’d recommend you look this up on Facebook as we were told they would be putting a lot of material up early next year and it was an excellent warm up, probably 30 – 40 minutes long which ensured we were all stretched out and ready to train.
For the first hour of training, Eyal Yanilov was teaching us some outside stabbing defences from the P3 syllabus, this is the first time I had seen Eyal in the flesh and he was as impressive as you would imagine. Very articulate and clear in his teaching and he threw in the odd humorous one liner or anecdote about his learning’s from Imi, which were both insightful and enjoyable. Then after quick water break it was time for the P & G groups to be split and a curtain to be drawn between the two. Emmanuel Ayache then took us through some inside defenses for an hour, he then handed over to Moran Laskov to go through some defences from roundhouse kicks up until lunchtime when it was time for a well-earned break!
After lunch it was straight back into it with a quick warm up to get us moving again, we went through defenses from take downs with Emmanuel for an hour, then it was releases from bear hugs with Moran for a further hour. For me personally I have a strategy of making sure I don’t sit too close to the front at these type of demonstrations, call me a wimp if you like but I take greater enjoyment seeing these perfectly executed techniques being practiced on others than being a crash test dummy myself! Instead I volunteered Dhiren from our club! To finish off the first day we did an hours training on our own syllabus, then half an hours sparring, switching partners regularly, this was heavy going at the end of the first day but it was finally time to lie back and go through our warm down with Abi Mills Yoga. I’ll be honest here, during some of these stretches I must have looked a sorry state, there were certainly some noises (Carl!) and creaking bodies all around the room by that time but it really did help and we all managed to walk out in one piece, albeit knackered! For those of you who have graded before think of that feeling, but more tired! After a quick change and shower we all went off to dinner at Frankie and Bennies, this was a great opportunity for us to socialize for a few hours and wind down before a relatively early night.
Ground Force Method warm up again and then the P& G camps split by a large curtain down the middle of the hall. Eyal started with an exercise to straighten our knuckles out, basically a plank and pushing your two most protruding knuckles into the floor, that stung a bit! Next it was methods to improve punching power from hooks and straight punches before we moved onto some ground work with Emmanuel. Moran then took over with some chokes on the ground and variations of techniques dependent on where the body weight of the attacker was. The rest of the day after lunch was a series of drills and practicing our own syllabus under the watchful eye of the GIT (Global Instructor Team) and UK based instructors. One drill that sticks in the mind is half the room would be doing sit ups with eyes closed whilst the other half would run around and put any type of choke on, from the side, mounted, between the legs etc. Truly knackering! We finished off with Yoga and we were all looking forward to a good nights sleep. Frankie and Bennies again for dinner and a few drinks while those of us grading were thinking about what we could look forward to the next day.
D-Day for some of us! We had quite a few people from West Coast Krav Maga grading today, no less than four going for the G grading’s (an all day beasting!) and quite a few more of us trying to climb the P ladder, myself included, after just missing out on P3 in October. The rest who were not grading were in for another days training.
The day began with the GFM warm up lead by Rick, then Eyal gave us a talk on the relevance of testing and why passing a grade at this point wasn’t the be all and end all. He asked us to visualize both ends of the spectrum, the fear and demoralization you may feel with a fail and the elation and joy a pass would bring. I’ll be honest, I was only focusing on the latter. I had experienced the feeling of failure in October and I really wanted to push that completely out of my mind. We said our good lucks to each other and then it was time…
The team of UK Instructors were given a grade each to focus on P2 – P5 and it was all overseen by Emmanuel. We were told that we would all go through P1 together and then we would separate according to our grades and drop off slowly, the P5’s being last to finish on our side. P2’s finished first and they looked knackered but were all still smiling, then us going for P3 were done after a very reasonable 4.5 hours or so, then P4’s and P5’s shortly after. Then it was time for our feedback as a group and individuals. The time had come for me and my grading partner Mark to find out if we had got over the line this time…. I am pleased to say we both had and by a considerable margin compared to our last attempt. Then we met up with the rest of the group and the good news kept on coming. Everyone from West Coast who had gone for a grading or mock had passed. A brilliant result for us individually and collectively as a club.
All in all it was a fantastic weekend, I feel it has accelerated my learning a huge amount and complemented the already fantastic coaching we are lucky to receive in our own club. There were also some great stories and laughs along the way.
My advice to anyone thinking about doing it next year would be to go for it, if I could book now I would!