Special seminar – edged weapons defense, or “GOODNESS GRACIOUS HE HAS A BROKEN BEER BOTTLE”
In the middle of April, I was awash in a sea of final papers, exam prep, and the handful of remaining presentations I had to give for classes.
Crap which truly doesn’t matter and infuriates me.
So it was without any financial or time-scheduling trepidation that I signed up for the 6 hour special seminar on defending against someone with a knife or other edged weapon while I am unarmed, at Alpha Krav Maga International CT. At the end of the day, we ended up exhausted but excited, having learned a very simple and straightforward set of motions of the arms and hands, using our weight to get the knife/edged weapon away from our throats as safely as possible and then gaining control of it. We also did a fair deal of work practicing how to gain control of a situation where an attacker is atop us while we were flat on our backs, without getting stabbed AND while gaining control of the knife.
I suppose this blog post is partially functioning as an “ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ATTACK MIKE HERE.”
The warm up alone was a brutal 50 minutes of extreme stretching and seemingly small exercises that REALLY lets one know “oh wow, my abdominal muscles are numerous enough to hurt THIS much??!”
We then proceeded to go step-by-step through the stages of such an attack, from punches and hammer fists to headbutts. I was asked to hold the pad a good deal of the time, because Sam is smaller and shorter than me, and wanted to demonstrate that proper technique can move someone bigger than you. Sam is also a former commando, and hits like a goddamned truck.
The steps were designed to be learned and practiced in sequence slowly, to gain command of the technique; this enabled us to put it all together into one smooth motion near the end of class, going from disarming the opponent to fighting them off and then getting away.
So, at the end of the day, sore and tired, I went home. And a few days later (and for more than 3 weeks afterwards), I had a bruise on my right bicep bigger than my wallet, thanks to the high-power and -speed but low-accuracy knife disarm practicing with my consistent partner at krav, Ryan (not my roommate, a different one). Looks lovely, no?
These kinds of injuries build character, I am told. So I have a LOT of goddamned character at this point, then. Jokes aside, I am always looking forward to the announcement of the next special seminar; it will be interesting to see what they do next!!
Defensive firearms training
Though I am not usually told I look like Clint Eastwood (albeit I often tell people around me to ask themselves… just one question), here are a couple of photos of me from the NRA basic handgun training I took through my krav studio (a requirement for getting my CT pistol permit, itself a requirement to purchase a handgun so I can do the defensive handgun training offered through my krav studio).
These lovely photos, by the way, were taken by Jamie Arute, owner of my krav studio, with his FANTASTIC new camera.
The intention is to do as many of the Defensive Handgun and Defensive Long Gun courses as I can while in CT for the next 14 months or so (there are 5 of each course). I will hopefully be purchasing a brand-new and unfired pistol from a friend at krav, later this month; I will bring the bolt-action rifle I got for Christmas to CT to be able to learn to use it for defense of self, home, and family as well. More on these as I eventually do them!
Getting involved as an instructor at krav (we hope!)
Over the past 6 weeks or so, I have been helping out with the kid’s classes at krav, as an assistant instructor. Though this isn’t for certain yet, the hope is that I will be involved as a certified instructor for both the kid’s classes and the adult classes, starting in the fall (my original intention was to start over the summer, but my work schedule with the Law School doesn’t allow this). Perhaps this isn’t the worst change, as it will give me the summer to work on the instructor certification stuff and then be ready to start out right away come late August!! I shall, of course, keep you all updated on this as well.
Coming up on Thursday, there is another proficiency testing, and I am hoping to pass my Level 1B – including things like arm-bars, getting out of several different sorts of chokes; properly falling to the ground from a standing position (called a break-fall); properly getting back up into a fighting stance (called “Mike’s legs are too goddamned long to do this easily); and more. I am confident it should go well, and I hope it does, too – passing it will get me into the Level 2 courses, where I begin sparring with other students, learning gun disarms and knife disarms on a regular basis, and get much more in-depth with defenses on the ground. All things that could very well save my life (and yours, if you’re with me!) one day… so things I want to do as soon and as thoroughly as possible!!
All told, then, this summer should prove to be a riveting and focused period of months spent working to improve my personal safety with and without any kinds of weapons, while also continuing on the concommitant paths to mental wellness (the “I *WANT* YOU TO MESS WITH ME” sort of confidence from being versed in krav makes one feel safe in the actually-mean streets of New Haven) and physical fitness (continuing to go 4-5 times per week; my goal by the end of the summer is to wake up 7 mornings per week and use the punching bag I bought from krav and do ab exercises as well). Stay tuned, as if I lost 30 lbs last summer and 15 lbs since then while gaining a crap-tonne of muscle, maybe this even more rigorous summer of wellness-focus will see even cooler and better results 🙂