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Once Upon a Seminar

By Eyal Yanilov


Giving an interesting and worthwhile seminar is something that has been occupying my mind and time for years. I always want to give more value to the students attending and not only consider the fact that it is me who is teaching the seminar. Naturally each instructor has his or her own style and personality, but aside from the experience and knowledge that I can share, I want the trainees to gain an additional benefit. Such benefits can include;  understanding the system better, learning about the history of the system, hearing about real life events that changed the way Krav techniques and tactics were developed, learning how KMG is used in governmental forces, etc’.

One example about how technique changed – was an incident where Imi’s neck was cut slightly during a demonstration. He had executed a technique with an inside defense against a straight knife stab, moving to the live side. At that time the official technique was with a relatively short hand defense, a minimal body defense and a straight counter punch with the fist rotated upwards. As a result of this small cut (we used a real knife), Imi understood the fault in the technique and changed it to a sweeping forearm defense (and larger body defense). That was one of the first cases such a principle was used in a Krav technique.

It is important to realize that Krav Maga techniques have evolved changed and new ones created through hard real life experiences, realistic experiments, logical contemplation and brain-storming or as a result of an idea that emerged in someone’s mind. However very often Krav Maga techniques have also been created or modified due to bloodshed, injuries or even death. One should value the knowledge that KMG has to offer as it is derived from real life situations, designed and proven methods aim to avoid violent conflict and save lives. The above mentioned incident was just a minor scratch, luckily, but perhaps it saved someone’s life years later.

During seminars I try to demonstration a system; how different techniques connect and relate to each other, how certain principles appear in a group of techniques. This really verifies the fact that KMG is a system, not just a bunch of techniques assembled together. I do my best to show how certain games, missions and drills improve the performed techniques, the reaction time, the mental state and the physical performance of the trainees. The result is a boost for the students and their motivation.

The most important thing that KMG’s students and club members can do to improve in KM is to train on a regular basis with their local instructor, a few times a week. The seminars conducted by myself and other members of KMG’s global and international teams are merely a way to absorb some insights and inspiration.

During seminars I tell the students stories of Krav History. For example many years ago, while teaching under cover, anti-terror and military units, I needed to solve new problems arising in the late 20th century –  due to modernized battlefields and urban warfare that Imi did not approach, as well as newer and characteristic criminal assaults. Faced with these problems,  I used to approach Imi every other day with a new dilemma, problem, set of incidents and designated solutions I had thought about (all based on what he had shown me before in other areas and fields of the system) and we would discussed them. As a result many new topics, tactics, principles, training methods, problems and solutions have been updated in the system since the late 1980’s.

In my seminars I try to bring to the students real life stories and events that demonstrate:

  1. The need for KMG, like specific attacks against civilians. Today it’s easy to find them on YouTube.
  2. Events in Israel that changed the way KMG act in specific situations – we have had many  attacks with knives, stones, sticks, firearms at close range since the 1980’s, as well as incidents from different parts of the world. KMG is an organization present in about 60 countries, so we have gathered data from different corners of the earth.
  3. Examples of the outcome of the use or lack of use of KMG techniques and tactics by KMG students in Israel and around the world who were attacked, and of officers who used their knowledge in KM.
  4. Behavior of attackers and bystanders – examples of how attackers approach a victim who has fallen to the ground, how they attack and what bystanders do or don’t do.


In the following paragraph you will see the technical aspects of a seminar I delivered a short while ago to a couple of hundred students

As in most seminars, I begin with some warm-up, coordination drills, functional games, Primal Move exercises and continue with some multiple opponent games to elevate spirits and attitude.

I then continued with techniques related to inside defenses against different attacks:

  1. Defending a straight strike
  2. Defending a straight kick to the mid-section or head
  3. Sitting on the ground and defending a front/regular kick to the head
  4. Lying down on the back and defending stomping kick to the body or head.


Following this I presented the defenses against straight knife attacks which included:

  1. Inside forearm defenses that create either a sliding or sweeping effect to deflect the knife attack
  2. Dynamic defenses, meaning moving the body out of the line and channeling the attack and the proceeding attack that the assailant commonly proceeds with.
  3. Defending a knife stab from a ground siting position while the attacker comes from the front
  4. Defending a straight stab when the defender is lying on the ground.
  5. Additional  variations are presented and practiced


At the end of the seminar we did a simulation with a 3rd person, like a friend /family member where the attacker either attacks the 3rd person or the defender her/himself.

Conclusion drills include decision making and performing correct and incorrect actions under “dangerous conditions”.

See the clip that demonstrates some of the techniques I give in the seminar (not filmed on location).

Naturally the physical efforts and demands in the seminar were suitable for the group and the main demand was really technical and tactical; exercise for the mind.

In a regular seminar, as with the one described above, the instructor may find himself with a relatively large number of participants (that seminar above had over 100 people and my personal record for 2012 is 380 participants in a one day seminar). In every seminar we have to keep everyone safe and still give first-hands on experience. This is an expertise that one has to have before standing in-front of a big group.


Be safe



p.s. – I trained with Imi (Krav Maga founder) from 1974 until 1998. Krav was always the main topic we discussed, even in the hospital at his death bed, where it was just the two of us, we continued to discuss it up to the point where he went into a coma (he passed away about 3 hours later). For me it was always an opportunity to brain storm together and learn from him and at the same time it always energized him, even at the age of 88 few hours before he left his body.