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.



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** 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.