Sunday, 9 July 2017

The GIC Hump



The reality of day 7 of the Krav Maga General Instructors Course (2nd phase).

6am. Wake up and find you have absolutely no desire to go to training. Eat a 4 egg omelette, a big bowl of muesli (with soy milk) and 2 very strong filter coffees. Get your shit together and traipse off to the train station with your legs hurting from the previous 6 days of training, grizzling to yourself that the weather has the temerity to be 2 degrees above freezing.

8.15am. Get to training and realise you absolutely do not want to be there. Decide to get changed anyway and wonder how long it is till lunch time, knowing full well that it's at least 4 hours away.

8.30am to 1pm. Spend your time doing bear hug releases, throws and knife attacks. Your body is protesting at the abuse you've put it through for the last week for 7+ hours a day, every day. You find that you can't remember things that you absolutely should know by this point and wing it when you are asked "Do you know this technique?" Your knees feel like they are full of sulfuric acid and every time you make a mistake you feel like the whole world hates you. It is taking most of your stamina to stay in the room and you secretly entertain the idea that getting injured would enable you to be invalided off the course without being perceived as a quitter. You then spend 30 minutes feeling guilty for thinking that. You take 2 Ibuprofen and 1 Paracetomol and a sachet of glucose sport gel.

A surprise lesson is then sprung on you where you have 2 minutes to plan and teach any technique from that morning. You silently curse the unfairness of life while frantically scribbling on your notepad.

You feel like having a little cry in the corner but summon reserves of energy that you didn't know you had. You forget the names of about 4 people in the room and want nothing more than to go home and go back to bed.
As you break for lunch you feel that your body is completely wrecked and that life cannot get any worse.

1.30pm The double shot espresso that you just drank, plus a huge tuna salad and the painkillers and the glucose gel have all combined to give you a lift of energy. Your self pity has evaporated and you have a pleasant lunch with 2 of your fellow trainees where you even laugh a couple of times. You head back to the training centre looking forward to the afternoon session.

2.30pm. You start a workshop on some rather crafty fighting tactics involving some rather painful takedowns and throws. You thoroughly enjoy yourself and make a note to use the "Grab The Leg, Kick The Groin" roundhouse kick defence at the earliest opportunity.


5pm. You wrap up the day's training feeling tired but exhilarated, realising that you learned a great deal. You confide in an existing instructor that you felt like quitting today and she says with a grin "That's called the hump. You've just got over it. Mine was on day 5".

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Schrodinger's Pussy




Yesterday, as a struggled to cope with a rather horrid case of jet lag achieved by flying from London to Melbourne, my host was talking to me and some other guests about his ability to “read” people. He was hailed as being spot on in his assessments by the people present so I asked him if he could give me one sentence about me that didn’t come from something I’d already told him.

After a few seconds he said:

“I think you’re scared”.

I nodded in agreement and replied that I had indeed been scared for about the last week, specifically about coming back to Australia to finish GIC part 2 for Krav Maga.

After a pause he then added, “I don’t mean just that, I mean about everything.”

I asked him to elaborate and he said that I live my life like Schrodinger’s Cat. When I required further clarification he told me:

“You are scared so, like Schrodinger’s cat, you don’t know what a situation will bring so you guess. But instead of finding out what the result would have been by opening the box you go with that guess as if it’s the final answer”.

And….he was right.

I’ve kind of known this for a long time but to have someone else see it is scary. I’ve lived most of my life scared of something or other and my paranoia and insecurity have reigned over huge chunks of my existence in the last few decades.

To put it in perspective.

In April of this year I successfully completed part 1 of the General Instructor’s Course for Krav Maga Global. This is the backbone of any and all Krav teaching for the organisation I belong to, with the exception of the KIC/ Kids Instructor Course, which I already hold.

Part 1 was very hard and I was physically and mentally drained by the end of it. We broke up for nearly 3 months before part 2 was to begin and in that time I was in England and Greece, keeping fit and trying to retain some Kravvyness and not just let all that awesome training fade away.

For the last week I’ve spent most of that time SERIOUSLY contemplating not coming back to complete part 2. I had a multitude of reasons to justify this feeling.

1. It’s expensive and I’m almost at the end of my savings now.

2. It’s a 28 hour journey door to door and my jet lag will undoubtedly be horrendous **

3. If I lose my passport my insurance will pay not only for that but also for the return flight of £682 that I can’t claim back or cancel through conventional means.

4. I can do GIC 2 anywhere in the world so if part 3 happens then I can use that money to take it somewhere like London or Rome which are slightly nearer than Melbourne.

I fretted and fussed and stressed and bit my nails over this for days, locking the cat in the box and was 90% certain I WASN’T going to go back when a friend in England said, “This is just self doubt”.

And she was 100% right.

I have spent most of my adult life locking the cat in the box with the canister of poisoned gas, but only guessing at to whether it was still alive or not. I didn’t want to be proved one way or the other and by just guessing as to the outcome of a situation, I could forever live in a blissful state of calm ignorance, unhampered by the nasty intrusion of reality.

As THIS STORY shows. My reluctance to not only open the box but to even acknowledge its presence made me a bit of a Schrodinger’s pussy. And with that story, the outcome, when I did finally open the box by getting back in touch with the woman involved….nearly 9 years later...was that the cat was not only alive but very pleased to hear from me again.

GIC 1 cured my fear of sparring, an irrational fear that I’ve had ever since I was 4 years old. I know what created this fear but I was unable to move past it until Rune Lind of KMG Global Team made me and the other 14 guys fight for what seemed forever*** on day 11 of a 12 day course.

I never considered myself a coward in the conventional sense of the word. I would stand my ground and even get a kicking to prove I wasn’t scared (retrospectively not a sensible or clever stance to take). However the things that REALLY mattered to me were the ones I shied away from and just guessed the outcome of. Never knowing if the gas had killed the cat or not.

I couldn’t tell the woman I loved (and still love) that I loved her, because I was afraid of the result of doing so. I locked the cat in the box and never opened it. Believing it was better to never find out than to discover that the cat had died. Once I finally opened it with trembling fingers 8+ years later the results were beyond what my dreams were made of. The cat was far from dead. The cat leapt out and wanted to play, bearing no grudges at its 8 years long isolation from my life.

When I told the woman from this story that it was better to never have known how she felt than to discover she hated me or had forgotten me she shook her head, smiled and went “You’re silly”.

Similarly with Krav Maga I have returned to a world that is going to be 12 more days of intense activity and even pain. However, pass or fail I now have the desire to shut the cat in the box only long enough to see whether it is alive or dead by the end of the experiment. If I pass I will feel like a king. If I fail I will be dissapointed but I will know that I flew back 10,500+ miles to do this and can retest at any time in the future.

It was only when I actually saw my checked baggage fuck off on the conveyor belt at Heathrow terminal 4 that I finally realised I was definitely going back for GIC 2. 7 hours to Adu Dhabi. 2 hour stopover. 12 hours to Melbourne.

When I got to Southern Cross station at 5.30am and it was 2 degrees centigrade I was laughing my head off. Amazed at my own audacity to treat a journey around the world like a trip to visit friends in the next town. I’d finally stopped being Schrodinger’s pussy.

The fears we don’t face become our limits.


Nuff said.



---------------------------------------------------------

** It was.
*** Actually 25 minutues.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Getting Ready



So I’ve been away from Krav Maga General Instructors Course for nearly 3 months. We completed part 1 in April and a week later I flew back to England and from there to Crete.

In that time I have spent many hours keeping fit.

My cardio levels were piss poor during part 1, even though my general fitness was OK. The 12 day, 8 hours per day, gruel fest was something that taxed the limits of my stamina.
So for part 2 I’ve been doing some serious work.

In Crete I would go running, usually twice a day. In the morning I’d do the “long” run of about 3 miles and then get home, get a 3 or 4 egg omelette and a filter coffee after a quick shower.

Later I’d do the joy that is “Bring Sally Up” (leg raise version) and later still the utterly enjoyable and not at all horrid AC/DC “Thunderstruck” punch bag workout.

I’d also mix in some Yoga now and then and make certain that I ate shed loads of protein each day. Something I read in a Jack Reacher novel that turned out to be true, is that if you drink at least 5 litres of mineral water per day, you can basically do what the fuck you want.

So...pissing like a racehorse (my first, morning tinkle lasted a good couple of minutes each time) I spent a week getting my body flushed free of toxins and then had the joyous experience of being able to get shitfaced of an evening and then go running with little or no hangover the next morning.

I couldn’t get a punchbag in Crete (my father, who I was visiting, lives in a fishing village) so I improvised. I went to the local DIY shop and got a couple of rough sacks, filled them with old clothes and strung them from the beams on the balcony with some rope. Not the most sturdy of contraptions but it meant I could at least do technique work albeit not any heavy punching.

I found a cheap fitness tracker watch on Ebay and got that shipped over so I could monitor heart rate, calories burned and steps taken each day.

I would do inclinded push up on the benches along the sea front on my 2nd daily run.

I got back in touch with Krav Maga Chania, the nearest club to Dad’s village and hired a 125cc motor scooter to travel out the 4 times on a Friday to train and teach with them. 

Dimitris the club owner was very welcoming, translating my lessons to Greek for his students and welcoming my input each time. The trip was 60 miles each way and I only did this on the same night once, where I crawled into bed at 11pm shivering and feeling very sorry for myself after 2 hours facing what looked like the time vortex from the intro credits of Doctor Who (darkness and motorbikes are not nice for a novice rider).

I practiced Krav Maga on the roof of Dad’s apartment (only space big enough, wasn’t just to pose) and made sure I did at least 2 sets of 40 push ups per day.

My appetite was huge and my energy levels were high.

I kept this pace, knowing that on 29th June I fly back to Melbourne to complete the GIC.

I’m ready.

See you in a few days.  

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Making It Work




When I completed the General Instructors Course (part 1) in April I had a week or so making my way 1000 miles south from Gold Coast to Melbourne before flying back to the UK. After a few days there I headed over to Crete where I now reside with my awesome Dad in his flat overlooking the beaches and village of Plakias. 

Now...

With GIC's that run in Europe, you usually get about 1 to 3 weeks between the first and second parts. In Australia, presumably because Oz is so flabbergastingly vast, you get a whopping THREE MONTHS between the two chunks of training. 

Of the 15 of us who took the 12 days from April 3rd to 15th under the tuition of E4 instructor Rune Lind, I am the only one to reside outside of Australasia.
To keep your skills and fitness sharp, you are advised to keep training regularly between 1 and 2, and to teach if at all possible, preferably at your own club under the supervision of your existing instructors.

I know that most if not all of the other guys are doing this, both those in Australia and those who came from New Zealand. 

Now...

I'm in a place which is 57 miles from the nearest KMG-affiliated club. While I have the DVDs for P4 and P5, I'm currently missing P1 to 3 and also G1.

I'm also living in a sun kissed paradise of sand, sea, surf and cold beers. so it would be very easy to simply kick back and spend my time drinking, eating and shagging.

However...

I went into GIC with a mindset of wanting to achieve something I've not achieved before. That was/ is to push beyond my pain barriers and get into a state of fitness that would leave me ready to do, as Rune put it "everyday tasks without problems".

My fitness for GIC 1 was just about enough. I was in a lot of pain throughout but carried on and joy of joys, my phobia of fighting was cured on day 11 of the course, after 42 years (stemming from THIS childhood incident).

But now in Europe in a lovey Cretan fishing village...what to do?

Regular training was out of the question due to the 114 mile round trip to get to Krav Maga Chania to train with Dimitris and his students. 




Nobody in Plakias is into Krav so I would need to practice on my own...meaning no one there to correct any mistakes I make. 

I had to think of ways around this.

So I did.

The closest thing to a sports shop in this village is the beach ball section at the local supermarket so a punch bag was out of the question. I took a trip to the local DIY store on the outskirts, and bought 2 rough sacks and a length of rope. Then I scrounged a load of old clothes from friends and out of my own luggage, two old pillows and stuffed hey presto! A makeshift punchbag**




Then I decided to get fit enough to come home from part 2 without limping onto the plane. I go running twice a day, morning and afternoon. I do the Moby "Bring Sally Up" leg raise thingy nearly every day. I do the "punch, punch, sprawl" that is AC/DC's 'Thunderstruck' workout on my homemade punchbag. I do yoga for my lower back once per day. 

My fitness, after 3.5 weeks of this regime, is now pretty good.

On the roof of the building I'm living in is a nice, big, flat space where I can roll out my yoga mat and practice the basic moves of Krav Maga.

But how to train and teach?

The first week I hired a car. A friend was meant to be sharing the cost but bailed at the 11th hour. Despite the rental being relatively cheap, it still cost me 55 Euros including the petrol, which isn't peanuts if you're living on savings. 

So the following week I took the bus. Not too brilliant either as it's 2 buses there and 2 buses back and I need to stay overnight due to training finishing at 10pm.

So...24 Euros for the transport, 14 for the hostel and about 5 for food. 43 Euros...better than the car but still not great.

Then I hit on the best option. A scooter hire place down the road rented me an older 125cc bike for 200 Euros for a month. That works out at 8 Euros a day and the petrol to travel the 114 miles is about 7. 

Awesome!

So now I can go and train Monday, Wednesday and Friday with the club and it will cost me 15 Euros per day.




A friend who is an existing instructor in the UK had recently posted me the DVDs for P1 to G1 so I can practice what I need to do before I get to Oz again. 
As the postal service here sucks, it will take a week but it means I will have the curriculum to practice with on the roof with my laptop and yoga mat.

My appetite has obviously spiked since I started working out and protein is high on that list. The beauty of having the scooter is that I can stop off at the only Lidl in 40 miles...halfway between here and Chania..and stock up on oodles of cheap tinned tuna and meatballs. 

I've also found a place where snails are hiding and despite the yuck factor, cooking them with rice is a great way to bulk up for free, even though you have to hang them in nets for a week to purge them of the toxic crap they've been munching on.***

Overall, I'm not as confident as if I was training with a club a mile or two down the road where the students spoke the same language as me. BUT....Dimitris from Krav Maga Chania is a great guy who lets me teach while he translates into Greek and gives me both feedback on my teaching AND private one-on-one lessons before the group arrives.




This feels good because I'm making a situation work that was initially hard to solve.

The future's bright. The future's solvable.



-------------------------------------------

** I killed it the first time I used it. Had to revisit my knot tying training from Scouts way back in the early 1980s.

*** Last year I didn't purge them and I had the shits so bad the next day that I set the smoke alarms off in the taverna toilets.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Greatly Increased Cardio




 On April 15th I finished the first half of Krav Maga Global’s General Instructors Course. 

This was 12 days of 8 hours per day of solid training. We kicked off at 8.30am every day, broke for lunch at 12.30, continued at 2pm and finished (usually) between 5 and 6.

I had been told, way before I even applied for it, that this was a Generic Instrument of Cruelty. Designed to test you to your physical limits and make certain that you not only knew the Krav Maga syllabus from P1 to P5 almost perfectly BUT that you were of a level of ability equal or greater to a G1.

I had kept fit in the weeks leading up to the GIC. Running, moderating & monitoring my diet and going on lots of lovely long walks. The Greater Intake of Carbs that I was told to be expecting once the training started, had me weaning myself off sugary treats, ice cream and fast food. I tried very hard to get into a system of living that would Give Intensive Care when it came to crunch time on April 3rd.



I had also signed up to the Krav camps in Gold Coast, that were due to run in the 3 days leading up to the GIC. This got cancelled due to Cyclone Debbie** and I then had 72 hours to kill in Broadbeach Waters, just up the road from where we would be training. I decided to Get Into Cycling, buying a 99 dollar bike from K-Mart and trying to keep everything on an even keel before we met Expert level 4, GIC instructor Rune Lind.

A friend of mine who has taken and passed the GIC said to me that “If you get up on day 3, then you know you want to continue”. While day 1 was hard, I left feeling satisfied with how the day had gone. Day 2 I was still buzzing and only slightly sore BUT true to predictions…day 3 was where the pain began.



The body needs time to recover from a serious beasting and the ONLY guy I know on the course who claimed to have relatively little problem with the regime was a bloke who had been training 3 hours a day for the 6 months prior to GIC commencing. Going Isotonic Crazy, wasn’t my way of prepping for this, however I wished that I had after a little while.

Day 4 and onwards my body and mental state fluctuated between abject pain and a determination to continue. This course is HARD.

Getting Into Character on day 5 and I was tired beyond belief. One good thing about having the bicycle was that I could cycle to and from training, loosening up my sore muscles a little bit before we got stuck in. 



Learning Krav Maga while also pausing for lectures on how to teach it, means that your mind and body are both being pushed to limits as you have to be able to sit, listen and take notes while sweaty, bruised and tired

The age range of the guys on the course ranged from an amateur boxer aged 21 to a retired soldier aged 56. Levels of ability were P1 to G3…and that was just KMG or IKMF certifications. Some people held high ranks in other disciplines and martial arts. There was only one female attendee.

In the early days we were joined by several existing, recently qualified GIC instructors who were utilising the “free top ups” factor of the course, meaning anyone who’s graduated may come back to take parts 1 or 2 again…as often as they want. 



Grinning Instead of Cursing when the workouts and techniques became painful, proved to be a slog. I’d known this course would be tough but I had never imagined just how much.

Some of the candidates would sleep after lunch, just a light nap. I tried this only once, fearful of having a Genuine Insomniac Collapse, and realised it wasn’t for me. Getting Into Character after 90 minutes of eating and sleep…not something I could get used to.

Lunch consisted of two cups of filer coffee from the local 7-Eleven plus a big, fuck-off salad with a jumbo sized tin of tuna mixed in. Some of the other guys were eating meals that would have satisfied two or three “normal” human beings.



As we moved through they days there were markers used to tick off the passage of time. Day 3 was the Determinator. Days 4 or 5 was where Rune had joked that we had the right to bring in a “bag of wingeing” as the soreness and potential injuries would be at a peak by this point. Day 6 would be where our bodies began to get used to what we were putting them through. Day 6 was also the much anticipated “halfway point” (until some sod pointed out that it was technically only the “quarterway point”) while Day 9 meant 3/4 gone and Day 10 was double figures.



By Day 11 we hadn’t done any sparring and I thought we’d got away with it. Bringing my 16oz Gloves In a Carrier bag every day, this was the one piece of kit I’d not used. Then, at about 5pm on the 11th day, Rune casually told us to get gloved up. We then had about 20 to 25 minutes of full on fighting, with variations being thrown into the mix. First partners had to choose one to defend only, while one attacked. I was with an amateur kickboxer who’d trained for about 15 years. As I was the defender I kept getting booted in the head and he basically handed me my arse. The numbers being odd, we had a “free radical” who could walk up to any existing pair and choose one of them to fight with, while the unwanted protagonist would then assume the FR’s mantle and bugger off looking for someone else to have a scrap with. 



After the exhaustion factor had been reached, passed and then reachieved…Rune then put on Robbie William’s song “Let Me Entertain You” and said brightly “Fight until the song finishes, do not change partners”.

I can safely say that this experience has finally cured any and all phobias I had about sparring.

Through stick defences, groundwork and seemingly endless drills, the Guttural Intense Cursing got louder and more profane as we soldiered on. 



Something that occurred with the predictability of jet lag was the “brain overload” meltdown that occurred on numerous occasions. This was basically when you would be able to do relatively complex or new techniques…but forgot the basics. Illustrating very clearly the importance of drilling stuff over and over again to integrate it into muscle memory I found myself suffering from amnesia over how to do a forward roll, a backward roll and an outlet stance. For the outlet, Rune actually had to take my left hand and move it to the correct position. I felt like sneaking off and having a little cry in a corner somewhere but recovered, carried on and after a few minutes asked Rune if I could have a “word”.

When I confessed my Girly Intention to Cry he smiled and said “It’s not just you. There’s at least one other person in here who feels the same way. It’s day 12. your brain is full, it can’t take any more information”.



Injuries were minor but present in about 2/3 of the assembled crew. I messed up my neck doing the joyful Rebirthing exercise (basically the shield wall attack from Battle of the Bastards in Game of Thrones…but without the spears) and had pain in my left hip and left knee. Other guys were wearing sports braces & bandages and as we lined up for the initial Kida each morning, it started to more and more resemble the “after” photos from a St John’s Ambulance medical journal. 

Even on the last day we didn’t get a respite from the regime. Breaking earlier than normal due to a public holiday affecting public transport, Rune had us spend most of the time doing grading-esque drills, asking us to perform specific techniques. By the end of it we were all running on fumes and met Rune in the back of the room for private feedback before heading out.



That night I fought off the Genuine Intention to Crash and went out with the guys for a meal and some beer. Everyone was sore, everyone was tired but we’d had a good time and had made it through without anyone having to drop out due to injury or fatigue.

Pain and exhaustion and only half done.

Was it worth it?


COURSE IT WAS!!!


Friday, 7 April 2017

On The 5th Day...



On 3rd April 2017 I started to study for the Krav Maga Global General Instructors course.

This is a 23 day training programme in how to be a Krav teacher. 

It’s something I had occasionally dared to dream about in recent years but several factors had put me off applying.

For a start it’s expensive. Nearly a month of tuition doesn’t come cheap. Secondly it was something you had to be recommended for…you couldn’t simply pay your money and turn up. Thirdly and most importantly, I had heard stories from people who’ve attended and passed the GIC that it is bone achingly, bruise inducingly, energy sappingly….HARD.

My confidence both on a social level and with regard to fighting were never that high. My instructor back in the UK actually laughed when I asked him if he’d put me forward for the GIC in March 2016 (as I recall, his exact words were “You’re not ready”) and it was only after flying to Israel in June to do the Kids Instructor Course that my confidence was boosted. After we’d finished the 5 day tuition in how to deliver Krav-based lessons to little ‘uns, the Deputy Director of KMG, Ze’ev Cohen beckoned me over for a little chat. Nervous and wondering what heinous crime I may have committed, he said with a smile “Your ability to teach, especially to children is outstanding but you need to work on your striking”. 

I went backpacking in August of last year and headed off to Australia, taking in New Zealand for a visa run from January to March. After training with a few clubs in both countries I got the national director Adam White to endorse my application for the GIC that was starting in April and waited impatiently, like a 7 year old on Christmas Eve, for the first day of the course.

Now…I’ve heard GIC described as many things. My favourite quote is that it’s like “university meets a car accident”. Another is that “for the first five days we looked like refugees”. The course has a reputation of being HARD.

It has two parts, the first being 12 days and the second 11. Depending on where you are, the break between them can be anything from a week up to three months. You are given tuition in fighting and how to teach in the initial phase, and will be given 3 tests in the second. Theoretical, teaching and a Graduate level 1 grading (as only G1s and above can teach, with G4 being the earliest point where you can actually grade Practitioners). 

On day 1 we started at 8.30am, broke for a 90 minutes lunch break at 1pm and finished at about 6 o’clock that night. 8-ish hours of Krav Maga. The day was hard but I felt like it was a good, albeit full-on introduction to what we would be doing. However, by the morning of day 2, the pain had started. 

I woke up sore and stiff, my arms and legs bruised. Still full of energy though, I had a big bowl of porridge and a filter coffee before cycling off to the training. 

Day 3 and I was in more pain. Carpet burns on my arms, my left knee hurting like a bitch (had ACL repair in September 2015) and my energy flagging. 

Every night I would come home, take a shower, eat a huge amount of food (with the backbone of the diet being meat pizzas) and then go to sleep. 

On day 4 I was beyond tired. My body hurt when I arrived to start the day’s lesson and after about an hour I was distracted by just how achey and exhausted I was. The fact we were doing ground releases (throwing someone off/ away from you who is attempting a chokehold on the ground) and I was partnered with an ex-army guy who has biceps the width of my neck didn’t help.

I limped home wondering if and when the magical moment would come when the pain ebbed and my body got used to it.

Lo and behold…that happened.

This morning for day 5 I woke up decidedly non-achey, non-grumpy and eager to start the day. My alarm was set for 7am but I woke up about six thirty and just decided to get up anyway. I no longer hated the traffic on the way in and did not wish genocidal thoughts upon other road users. I didn’t forget anything (day before, I had almost set off without that most necessary of tools, the groin guard) and felt energised and ready to get stuck in.

The instructors of this course had told us (and Facebook comments had backed it up) that it is usually around the fifth day the body adapts to the regime and the pain buggers off. Being cynical by nature, I had decided to take all stories with a pinch of salt. This one however, turned out to be true.

Through all the pain and exhaustion (my fitness levels are good but not up to Olympic athlete standard) I had held out that the event horizon was not too far away. Persevering when you are ready to drop is something that requires a certain mindset and that is clearly what Krav Maga Global want from their now and future instructors.

We are not only doing training in the physical side of how to fight, we are also making notes and having discussions in our group with regard to  what we’re being shown each day. The process is mentally AND physically demanding.


Day 5 was where the GIC summit was reached and I began to run down the other side. There’s still a long way to go (18 days in fact) but from now on it’s a pleasure and not something I do with gritted teeth.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Little Voice




As I posted last blog, I have recently been accepted to take the General Instructors Course in Australia.

Excited doesn’t describe how I feel as I get ready to do what I once considered an unobtainable dream. I’ve been doing yoga every day. Stretching. Push ups (tricep ones, not those fairy ones with your elbows poking out) and a LOT of walking.

I’m basically getting ready for one almighty big training session lasting 12 days…and that’s just part one!!!

As confident as I am about going for this, and as relaxed as I was about applying to do it there has been a little voice going off like a gossiping fishwife in my head for about a week now.

Basically the problems arose when I realised that the pain in my left knee and lower back AND left hip were not going to simply bugger off after a brisk walk or three. They remained. I need to be at the very least, physically fit for this training and back problems twinned with knee ache are not good omens.

In September 2015 I had my left knee’s anterior crusciate ligament rebuilt in surgery that lasted about 4 hours. It hurt like fuck for about 2 weeks after and hurt like a bitch for a good few weeks after that. Finally, months later, the knee was deemed fully fit and I went back into training for Krav Maga. 

Since I’ve been in Australia & New Zealand I’ve been doing a lot of running to try and get my cardio levels up. Problem was that last week I went on a 7 mile run and my knee decided to throw a tantrum. 

For the last few days there’s been an acidic pain in it and research has led me to believe this is something torn in the knee itself, or alternatively aggravation of something that was already a bit wonky. 

I realised that the yoga I was doing was only partially helping as a position called Full Pigeon was putting too much stress on the knee joint. Also, by trying to assume the Lotus position I was also stretching it further than it wanted to go.

For a little while now I’ve had this type of monologue going off in my head.

“You should bail now. Think of all the money you’ll save. It’s going to cost you over £2000 just for the course and then there’s accommodation on top. Then you have to come back to finish part 2 in June which means another £700 for the flight. It’s better if you just do the P&G camp the days before and then change your flight to go home about the 10th. You can see your Dad in Greece earlier and you can catch up with friends in the UK. It’s nice but think of ALL THAT MONEY and what if you end up crippled? I mean how are you going to get home? You’ll have a month of being stranded before your flight on May 2nd. Best to leave this. You weren’t cut out to be a General Instructor. Best stick with the Kids Instructor Course you already have. After all, you could use that money for other things. Play it safe.”

This goes on most of the day and I analysed what it was telling me in its whiney, nasal tones and most of it is just scaremongering. My self preservation skills are kicking in and part of me is not the fearless adventurer who set off in August of last year with a backpack and a bandana. Part of me realises that I’m 24 hours MINIMUM from home, in a time zone of 12 hours difference and am very far from what I knew and felt comfortable with. While I have a safety net it is one that it takes a long time to set up and activate. 

Today I told my inner voice to go fuck itself, and I went to a medical centre. The robotic receptionist told me that it costs $50NZ just to see the doctor so instead I went to a little Chinese guy who does massages and paid him $30NZ to look at my back and knee. He put that tingley, electrode thingy on my back and kneaded the hell out of the sore bits. Afterwards he said that if the knee didn’t get better his recommendation was that I didn’t do the GIC, something I knew anyway. 

I went home, drank at least 2 litres of water (ever seen piss after a deep massage, not nice, best to flush it out) and am now feeling more positive about it all.

Bailing if I’m injured is something I knew I’d have to do and had prepared for it. Bailing in anticipation of it…that’s just paranoia & insecurity. 


Thanks little voice but I’m now switching you off.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

No Dessert


I recently got accepted on to the General Instructors Course for Krav Maga Global.

This one is running in Australia with part 1 in the Gold Coast and part 2 in Melbourne.

After many years of doing Krav (7 to be precise) I have already attained both P5 and done the Kids Instructor Course but felt it was time to take things to the next level.

I trained with SGS Krav Maga in Sydney from November to January and the club’s owner Steven Kratsas agreed to endorse my application. Later on, I met the head of KMG Australia & New Zealand, Adam White who said it was a ‘go’.

Super excited doesn’t describe how I’ve felt since my application was accepted. 

The chance to attain not only G1 but to actually be a qualified instructor…something that as recently as a year ago I would have considered beyond my capabilities. 

To wear the “INSTRUCTOR” T-shirt and fulfill my dream of being able to teach Krav Maga to children as more than an Assistant KIC Instructor (the official title given to those who hold KIC without GIC).

To feel proud at what I’d achieved and know that I had reached a pinnacle that I had once considered to be as remote as the summit of Mount Everest.

So…I booked my flights and accommodation around part 1. Booked my flights but not the accommodation (yet, anyway) around part 2 and started revising the curriculums for P1 to P5 and also making sure I stay fit (I’m currently backpacking so am not attending Krav regularly and have to be creative in my fitness regime). I’ve also started making notes on what I eat each day and how much food I shove down my cake hole.

I’ve heard GIC described in many way. An instructor I know in the UK said it was like “university meets a car accident” and one said that “if you get up on day 3 then you know you intend to continue”.

All in all I am ready yet nervous for the upcoming 12 days of GIC part 1.

But…

Just before the GIC starts there is a P & G camp running in Gold Coast. Run by Rune Lind and Adam White this is a 3 day training camp where people from P0 to G4 can be immersed in Krav Maga. 

I consulted Adam White as to whether it was OK to do this as well and he said it was up to me.

So, I thought about it and procrastinated and then booked the course. As a P5 I’m eligible for the G camp and have never trained at G level before. 

Now….

The online booking form had various bits to fill out such as whether you wanted accommodation (nope) or what size T-shirt you required (M). The big question for me though was “do you want to grade?”

Having taken P5 only 4 months previously to the G camp I am ineligible to actually test for G1 but I mulled over the idea of doing it as a “dummy run” in preparation for GIC. After all, the extra tuition would be great and it would be superb to get an assessment of my abilities up to that point.

Then I thought about it a little more objectively.

After 2.5 days of training at a G camp (with the other half of day 3 for the grading) my body will be tired and I will have worked hard. My P5 grading was incredibly hard work and I’ve no doubt that G1 will be even tougher.

I’ll get invaluable G level tuition from 31st March to 2nd April and then on the 3rd, will jump into even more immersive training. I have no desire to prove that I’m “hard” or that I’m a Terminator-esque warrior of the mats in order to make it through everything on offer. 

End of the day, Krav Maga is about being level headed and being able to walk in peace, not limp home in pieces.

I want to be tired yet happy to face a new day when we wrap up G camp. I don’t want to risk getting injured or knacker myself out in a grading that is superfluous to what I need right now. As awesome as it would be to do a ‘dry run’ and be told that, had it been a real test, I would have passed, it is a toy that right now I don’t need to play with and can be left in the box.

I want to start GIC fit and ready, not fighting sleep and yearning for coffee.

The G camp is the main course, the grading is the dessert.

As much as I love dessert, this time I think I’ll skip it and have an early night.