Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Five Reasons to Love Krav Maga Seminars

What's so special about seminars?

Last night my school First Defense Krav Maga hosted Master Eyal Yanilov, head instructor of Krav Maga Global. He taught a two-part seminar lasting 3 1/2 hours.

The first part described ways to combat the physical stress causing by sitting, using exercises to open and unfix the hips and pelvis. The second part addressed some of Krav Maga's "sweeping" defenses, starting with the "left vs left" technique found in the Practitioner 2 curriculum.

I admit that I'm a "seminar junkie." When I saw my school announce the event, I knew as long as my schedule cooperated that I would attend. One of our senior instructors, Patrick Hards, told me last week that if he called all of his classes "seminars" then I wouldn't miss a single one!

Why am I hooked on Krav Maga Global seminars? Here are five reasons.

1. Concentration. KMG seminars tend to concentrate on a single principle of the system. This is true of many classes, but the difference is that a seminar continues concentrating on the principle over many more techniques. Last night Master Eyal's instruction on sweeping defenses started with left vs left, then added a right-hand version, then defense vs a knife, then vs a side kick, then vs a close choke, then vs a close choke on the ground. By concentrating on one theme over many techniques, it made it easier to see how they fit within the system.

2. Duration. Seminars are usually longer than regular classes, which typically last no more than one hour. The seminar format gives instructors the time to explore many aspects of the principle being practiced. It's theoretically possible to try six techniques in a one hour class. However, students will not get the depth of instruction and the necessary corrections and repetitions to substantially improve their understanding and execution.

3. Attendance. Seminars gather students who might not normally train together. I saw friends from class with whom I do not normally train, due to our schedules. I particularly enjoy seeing attendees from other schools and even other martial arts systems at our seminars. Sometimes we host attendees who have never studied martial arts before. Seminars are a great way to attract brand new students and sometimes add converts from other schools or systems.

4. Instruction. Seminars offer an enhanced instruction experience to students. When I signed up at FDKM in January 2015, I did not initially recognize how blessed we are by our instructor corps. We have an Expert 2 (Nick Masi) as head instructor plus one E-1 and seven G rank instructors active at FDKM. This may not be the case with every school. I do not mean that other schools have bad instructors. Rather, some schools may have a small number of instructors -- perhaps only one. A seminar is a chance to give students a different perspective on the KMG system. In the case of Master Eyal or anyone from the Global or National teams, the level of instruction will be very high as well as being different.

5. Motivation and Memories. I always leave seminars feeling more motivated about training in KMG. Besides the feeling of completing several hours of solid training, there are usually memories and stories that remain. For example, last night Master Eyal grabbed me and two of my classmates to demonstrate a summary drill. He built a one-vs-two drill where the two defenders did push-ups, squats, or sit-ups, waiting for a knife or other attack. As soon as the attacker began assaulting one defender, the other defender was supposed to assist his comrade.

At one point in the demonstration I was on the ground doing sit-ups. Suddenly the attacker was on top of me, trying to choke me as we wrestled against some equipment near the front wall of the school. It took me a while to flip him over because I felt the wall on my left side and my fellow defender jumped to assist, on my right side. During the struggle I heard Master Eyal say "Come on guys, Israel has fought shorter wars than this!" That was his way of saying I was taking too long to solve the tactical problem. The history major in me thought that was pretty funny, even as I was fighting underneath two people!

Thank you to Master Eyal for training us last night; to Pat Hards for "offering his body to science" as Master Eyal's demonstration partner, to Nick Masi for hosting Master Eyal at FDKM, and to my partner John for a solid training experience.

What do you like about KMG seminars, or seminars in general?

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