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 24 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.