Krav Maga Midlands
Night Outdoor Park/ 3rd Party Protection seminar
Friday 19th July 2013
RSC Park, Stratford-upon-Avon
Having attended the Armed Attacker Seminar last February I was hyped up for attending this one too. Bartosz had promised 3 hours of training in how to protect “loved ones” (or in my case “some girl I might pull in a bar one night”) from attack in open spaces such as parks or woodland.
I arrived about 6.30pm and found a lot of guys already there, chatting near the river while Bartosz waited at the gate to shepherd people over. It was mainly club members, with one or two “civilians” thrown in, brought as the hypothetical 3rd parties in need of protection. In all there were about 40 of us.
At around 7pm Bartosz and Russell l got us warmed up and then we split into pairs for the initial “protection” training. This consisted of numbering ourselves 1 or 2, then jogging around the lawn. Bartosz would intermittently bellow “ONE!” or “TWO!” and whoever’s number was called had to find their significant other, and run to stand as a shield in front of them.
Then we had the always enjoyable “slap other people on the head” addition. This meant that while jogging around you could hit anyone within reach. A couple of the civvies didn’t seem to like this too much but it broke the ice and meant we were nicely warmed up for the main session.
After some stretching we split into groups of 3 and worked on protecting someone from perceived or actual attack from ne’er do wells. My partners were a fairly muscley guy and a very small woman. While she was totally gung ho with regard to getting stuck in, her technique needed a little work as she was unable to push either me or the other guy out the way.
Eventually she cracked it and we had a lovely time shoving each other around. The Educational Block is something I’d forgotten about but a quick reminder session had me coughing and spluttering. It consists of pushing someone away with the palm of your hand and then pushing your fingers into the soft bit just above the top of their rib cage. Not nice!
Later on we had some amusing themes to work with, one of which was shoving your VIP out the way of an oncoming cyclist or skateboarder careening towards you. Very Indiana Jones.
Then it was “protect the VIP” from actual attack. We had to take it in turns to be Attacker, VIP or Defender. Punishment for letting the Attacker actually reach the VIP was 5 push ups. We couldn’t stop until Bartosz shouted, “Switch!” so a lot of grunting, shoving and headlocks were on display as people tired each other out on the grass.
An interesting variant on this was the “VIP Acting Like An Idiot” scenario. In real life, those who are attacked will usually run or stand still but some get lippy and either try to fight as well, shout and scream or wander around like a headless chicken. The most difficult situation was dealing with the oncoming Attacker while simultaneously trying to keep a protective eye on your VIP who was now strolling round like a loose cannon.
Stranglehold techniques were gone through, which aren’t as hard to break as I’d imagined, albeit somewhat complicated with regard to what arm goes where. Imagine a Chinese puzzle but with human limbs instead of wood or string.
After a 5 minute break we then moved on to knife and gun attacks and how to disarm an attacker. Golden rule of training for pistol disarm is NEVER put your finger in the trigger guard…unless you want it broken when your partner twists it out of your hand. Funniest thing was that 4 police officers wandered through the park just as Bartosz was demonstrating by pointing the fake gun at Russell l. Luckily it’s bright yellow (as are 90% of the training pistols) so they didn’t take cover behind trees and push the panic alarms on their Airwave radios for an Armed Response unit to attend.
We then had another quick break and got stuck in to VIP protection against knife, gun or strangling techniques on a pressure drill. This was hard as you had to walk to the left of your partner and attempt to disarm or avoid anyone who was “armed” coming at you. As all 40 of us were in one small area it was very intense but a lot of fun.
As we were getting ready a drunken Chav with a rather flabby belly wandered up and stood near to me watching what was going on. His breath reeked of beer and I was starting to get drunk off the passives when Bartosz asked him, “You OK?” He smiled and went, “Yeah, just interested that’s all” which was fine until he picked up a fake knife and swung it around saying, “So what would you do if I attacked you with this?” Bartosz snatched the knife off him and shoved him away growling, “Just stay away, go!!!” He mooched away with his tail between his legs looking very embarrassed.
It was very dark by this point and hard to see. As I set off I saw Charlie Hale come bursting out of the bush to my left, I was about to kick him when he shouted, “Alright mate! You got the time?” I relaxed a little, realising this was the Red Herring and said, “Sorry mate no. You gave me a fright jumping out like that!”
Then a female student came at me with a fake knife. I booted her in the groin and took the knife off her, spinning round to find someone crouching in the bushes. I was about to give a pre-emptive kick when I realised it was Bartosz’s girlfriend Iwona, who was taking photos. Two more lads then came hurtling towards me shouting threats and swearing. I kicked one of them and pushed the other away, warning them with the fake knife I still had and yelled, “JUST FUCK OFF OK!!!”
Bartosz said to back away but that I’d done well and to return to the main group round the other side.
As other guys went through one at a time a group of four elderly people wandered up to see what we were doing. They all had baseball caps on with “STREET PASTOR” printed across the front and were working for the local church, offering spiritual advice to people. To my utter delight they came up just as a student went through the “tunnel” who misunderstood Charlie Hale’s role in the scenario. It went a bit like this:
Street Pastor: “So what are you doing here then?”
Me: “We’re with Krav Maga Midlands, we’re learning about how to protect against attacks in the dark. The guys over there are…”
Charlie: “Excuse me mate, you got the time?”
Student: “F**K OFF YOU C**T!!!”
(GRUNTING. STRUGGLING. SOUNDS OF PUNCHES & KICKS. SOMEONE FALLING DOWN. SWEARING. etc.)
The Street Pastors looked horrified until I reassured them that this was just a scenario and Bartosz was walking behind the student to make sure no one got hurt. It then turned out that one of them was a guy I work with (hey, it was dark!) and we shook hands and had a laugh. I’ll no doubt be ribbed remorselessly over this on Monday morning.**
Then I had a go as a “bad guy” in the bushes and Bartosz said, “Just abuse and push them.”
First guy through was OK, pushing me back and then facing my neighbour who simply stood in his way being a nuisance. The third lad through was a big, Indian bloke and when I shouted, “Think you’re f**king hard do you?!! Come on then!!!” and shoved him, he dropped me with a push kick that sent me on my arse into the bushes.
The last-but-one bloke is a former kickboxer and wanted to have a stand up fight with everyone who tried to “mug” him. This isn’t the principle of Krav Maga but was fun to see as he wouldn’t back down no matter what was thrown at him.
Finally everyone was done and we gathered with the “civilians” and Russell . Bartosz decided to give one last piece of advice and pulled Charlie Hale over and put a fake knife in his hand. He then said:
“A lot of you are trying to take the knife when you see it. If it is only being held, you should do this instead.”
He then slapped Charlie’s knife hand away and booted him in the crotch. Charlie immediately groaned in pain and fell to his knees. Turned out he’d already taken his groin guard off. Bartosz was very apologetic and said, “Sorry I thought you were still wearing it!” while Charlie staggered to one side to recover.
A brilliant night’s training and I really hope to do this again soon.
**(Addendum: I later found out that Ron Ball, Warwickshire county's Police & Crime Commissioner was with them. Christ knows what he thought of it all).