6th October 2014
Urban Sports Fitness,
Heathcote Industrial Estate
Russell Brotherston, a G4 Krav Maga instructor with Krav Maga Midlands, runs JSKM on Mondays in
Royal Leamington Spa and Fridays in upon Stratford Avon. It's for children aged 6 and up and the Monday class
is with little ones aged 6 to about 10.
I have been a couple of times before as an observer and it always looked like a lot of fun. The kids seemed to really enjoy it, Russell was clearly having the time of his life and the various KMM Krav students that were assisting him were obviously having a great time .
Russell asked me to help out last Monday and I was more than up for it as I've worked with children on and off since about 1995 teaching English and on summer camps.
The format is VERY different to adult Krav, right from the first Kida! (Kneel, pound the mat as hard as you can with your fists and shout at the top of your lungs). The main emphasis is on evasion techniques and using fast force to dodge, evade or strike a stronger, bigger attacker (i.e. an adult).
When I got there a couple of the girls were running about playing Tig and wanted me to join in. This quickly degenerated into something not dissimilar to Calvinball from the cartoon strip CALVIN AND HOBBES (i.e. "the only rule is that there are no rules"). The children seemed to have the same energy as a nuclear reactor and I quickly worked up a good sweat on the mats.
At about 5pm we got sorted, Russell introduced me to the kids and had them playing a continuation of Tig but where, when I tapped them, they had to stand still and he would walk up to them and grab their arm. They had to perform the appropriate technique to get out of that and then he'd let them go.
It's been a few years since I was a pre-teen, and I'd forgotten just how competitive children can be. It was endearing to see just how fast they pelted about the room to avoid getting caught.
We then moved on to a game where their punching skills came into play and in teams of they had to run up to me or Russell and punch a strike mitt 10 times, then run to the end of the room and perform a grab release, before running back so the next person could have a go. This inevitably led to lots of shouting and encouragement and both teams declaring themselves the winners at the end.
We then moved on to a game where me and Russell chased them and would then grab either their T-shirts or their wrists and not let go until they performed a decent release move. Russell demonstrated the knuckle rap release (or "knocking on the barn door") which hurts like hell if done properly, even if a little kid is doing it. To negate any pain issues, we both put MMA gloves on and then got to work. Again, this was a lot of fun and I couldn't help laughing when one 6 year old (the smallest girl in the class) simply booted me in the crotch, grinned broadly and then ran off again when I took her arm (God bless the inventor of the groin guard).
While I grabbed a quick sip of water and wiped the sweat from my brow, they were still jumping up and down ready for the next game. Idea this time was that I had two soft strike pads and would throw them at the kids who had to try and dodge them and, if hit, stand still. Russell would walk up behind them and either bear hug them or put them in a headlock and they had to once again perform the appropriate release.
First time (and probably last) that I would ever get to impersonate Rinzler from Tron Legacy. Great time hurling the pads at the indignant students, a couple of which were very nimble and one in particular proved hardest to catch, sometimes simply jumping over the pad as I threw it at him. Picking them up again was playing havoc with my back and I vowed silently to get into some Yoga in the very near future.
Final game had me and Russell sitting on a full sized strike shield each, and each team (about 5 kids per group) had to try and take it off us and drag it to the back of the room. I thought this would be easy but it seems that nothing is more determined than a gang of children whose combined ages comes to about 26. Within about a minute they'd managed to wrench it off me and were leaping around celebrating victory.
By the end the kids were still red faced but loving it and with a few disappointed groans they lined up for the final Kida! Every session Russell chooses two children to come and kneel next to him at the end, meaning they have shown the most determination or shone in other ways throughout the session. He chose one child and asked me to pick another. I selected a lad who was only on his 2nd session but had got stuck in with a big grin on his face the whole way through. I told his mum after, that his spectacles seemed like Indiana Jones's hat, as he never lost them no matter what happened.
A lot of fun had by all and a great way to educate kids to basic self defence and team work.
If interested call Russell on 07545 959241 or go to www.juniorsafe-kravmaga.com