Why The Israel Adventure?
by Samantha Hahn and Lisa Coady
The decision to go Touring & Training – Israel Adventure may be a strange concept for many people, especially for those without a link to Krav Maga. Interestingly for Israelis, Krav Maga seemed a strange reason to go to Israel.
For us however, the idea of 10 days training in the holy land where Krav Maga was born, was reasonable enough.
We were completely prepared. We had researched Israel over the net, googled the places where we were going to visit in, read the Lonely Planet’s guide, and some other great blogs about visiting Israel back and forth, and only packed what was absolutely necessary. Almost.
We knew how to say ‘Shalom’, we knew not to talk about politics, but we were never prepared for 50 hours of intense training in 10 days awaited us.
The Presence of Master Eyal Yanilov
Almost everyone associated with Krav Maga knows that it was Master Eyal Yanilov who was Imi Sde-Or’s (Lichtenfeld) closest student, assistant and friend, and that he is responsible for reigniting Krav Maga in the modern world.
But no one knew quite what to expect.
When he walked into the room on the first day of the tour, the entire group fell silent. When he spoke, people were in awe and hung on his every word. When he joked, people were in hysterics. Not at all what we had imagined!
We worked on knife threats and attacks in public places with Master Eyal; performed beach training, a night training at Jerusalem, on top of Masada mount and much more. Alongside Eyal, we trained under KMG Expert 5 Ilya Dunsky at the Sea of Galilee, Haifa and even Jerusalem. Ilya taught us third party protection including gun defense.
When we trained with Eyal, we were privy to his personal tales, his sense of humor and his amazing ability to explain techniques and bring out the best in everyone. “We’ll make a fighter out of you, Lisa!”
Throughout the Touring & Training event, we had several instructors who all came with differing areas of expertise. This allowed us to train using a range of techniques; from basic straight punches through to VIP protection and law enforcement scenarios. Each instructor brought with them a passion and determination that resonated among the students.
The sites where we trained brought with them a rich history that added to the experience.
The Patience & Its Fruits
The 10 days were spent both as expected, both in the touring & training aspects.
We were lucky enough to have had the best tour guide in the country, Avi, whose enthusiasm and passion for Israel was contagious and difficult to ignore. The one year wait for him to take a KMG tour was well worth it.
After a long day of touring Israel, it was customary to end with a rigorous training session. As night fell on the old city of Jerusalem, Albert Kagalski, KMG GIT (Global Team of instructors) Expert Level 3, taught us the difficulty of defending against knife attacks in the dark. His most memorable advice was “don’t disarm when you cannot see, it’s dangerous”. Training beneath the old city walls in Jerusalem with only the stars and the distant car lights to see by, was an experience we will never forget.
Moran, our third instructor and trainer of special forces around the world, took us through a variety of scenarios in different locations. These included staged terrorist threats and knife attacks on a bus, where movement was limited, to escaping drowning attempts in the water by attackers. We defended kicks alongside the Jordanian river, and practiced disarming guns at Hamad Gadar, a hot springs park. Training on top of Ammunition Hill, where the battle for Jerusalem was won, as the sun was setting, was like a scene out of a movie.
Although Israel is a relatively small country, the diversity of the landscape is immense and very beautiful. How lucky we were to be able to train on top of Masada in the middle of the desert in the morning, and a mere few hours later, train on the hot sands on the shore of the Dead Sea. A few kilometres north, and a couple of days later, we were standing on top of a dormant volcano, overlooking Syria. Here we had a chance meeting with Yair Nafshi, one of the most revered commanders in the 1973 battle for the Golan Heights. Irrespective of political beliefs, it was hard not to be moved by this moment.
We were able to experience the peaceful relations and beautiful mix between the Arab and Israeli cultures. This was seen in Akko, a city rebuilt by Ahmed El-Jazzar, and the amazing Bedouin culture in which hospitality is beyond any words.
Our last stop was the vibrant city of Tel Aviv where we were taught by Master Ze’ev Cohen and focused on law enforcement tactics such as the half nelson and VIP protection against physical attacks and gun threats. It was an intense end to some incredible training, and called for a well deserved rest on the beautiful beaches of Tel Aviv.
The Touring & Training – Israel Adventure event was an experience that we will never forget, and one that we hope to repeat…perhaps at the upcoming Master Camps in Israel!
So, why go to Israel? Well, why wouldn’t you?
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Samantha Hahn and Lisa Coady