So it’s been a busy past few weeks. Here are just a few things that Krav Maga Maryland and I have been up to over the past two months:
In mid-March, I taught the first three days of a seven-day Phase A instructor certification hosted here in Columbia. This is the first official step in Krav Maga Worldwide’s instructor development track. Candidates are evaluated on not just physical skill, but instructional presentation, leadership, articulation of Krav Maga principles, and the ability to absorb life-saving techniques in a short amount of time. As a result, there is about a 30% failure rate across the country for instructor candidates. During this week, Krav Maga Maryland’s own Jennum O’Hara, Anne Barkett, and Dennis Mason successfully completed and passed the Phase A certification! Also, a good friend, Dennis Chesgreen of Baltimore County Police Department, also completed and passed the course. I’m proud beyond words for these folks who have already put forth so much time, effort, and talent. I’m confident they have many more years of accomplishment to go.
At the end of March, we hosted over 120 participants for our Active Shooter Seminar, planned and executed by Krav Maga Maryland’s lead instructors, Ryan McCamley and Jeff Marcus. These two phenomenal individuals brought a level of creativity and intensity to the training that I’ve never even heard of, much less seen in person. They reached far past simple Krav Maga techniques, instructing on evacuation plans, strategies for communication, relaying suspect description to police, when to run/hide/fight, and what to expect from a police response. Again, I was proud beyond words of these two friends for their contribution and sacrifice.
In early April, Krav Maga Maryland ran our second Level 5/Brown Belt test. Few Krav Maga schools in the world have even one group of students who have reached this level. The curriculum included advanced handgun techniques, edged weapon defenses, long gun disarms, throws and takedowns, as well as a comprehensive review of Levels 1-4 of the Krav Maga Worldwide curriculum. The test lasted over 3 hours, and ended in a sparring session that included stand-up fighting, grappling, knife attacks, stick attacks, and multiple attacker drills. The students who completed the test are Julia Kurisch, Irina Kolb, Matt Roberts, Rohan Phansalker, and Mark Evans. Once again, proud beyond words.
Last week I was in the Burbank, CA area to train with International Tactical Training Seminars. I attended their 5-day Ultimate Tactical course. It touched on just about every gunfighting scenario you could imagine; speed shooting, reactive targets against a knife threat, shooting in and out of vehicles, one-hand shooting under stress, utilizing cover and concealment, low-light shooting, long-distance pistol shooting, and hostage recovery situations. There were two highlights for me during the course. The first was the instructional staff – Scotty Reitz, Dane Hurst, and a host of other veterans from LAPD’s Metro Division/SWAT were our instructors. Hearing the stories of their disciplined training and their true heroism filled me up as one would be satisfied after a huge meal. The second highlight was when I accomplished two consecutive hits on a man-sized target at 185 meters with my Glock 21. “Uncle Scotty” told me not to bother telling people – most folks wouldn’t believe me. Truth be told, I didn’t believe I could do it myself, which is why it was so special. I struggled a lot with my skills for most of the week (more on this in my next blog post), so it was especially satisfying to do something that felt nearly impossible.
Krav Maga Maryland also says goodbye to two separate instructors, both for exciting reasons. Andrew Carver, recently promoted to head coach of CrossFit 10-10, has secured a contract with the US Navy to be guaranteed a chance for BUD/S, the qualifying program for the US Navy SEALs. In an extremely short time, Andrew has returned an immense amount of vitality and energy to CrossFit 10-10’s programming. While we’ll be sad to see him go, we are also excited at his pursuit of an elite military career.
Also, Dan Ciambor, who has been a student with us since 2005 and a Krav Maga instructor since 2010, is relocating to South Carolina for work. Despite a number of other athletic accomplishments (including “Mr. @#$(* Maryland 2004 Bodybuilding Champion”), Dan has continually pushed into new areas of training and eagerly shared it with Krav Maga Maryland. He been a dedicated student and instructor, and has shared his passion and knowledge with hundreds of KMMD students. He will be sorely missed.
We’ll be meeting this Friday night to celebrate the contributions of both Andrew and Dan at Frisco Grille on Dobbin Road. All are welcome! I can say for my part that I am proud beyond words to have had a hand in both Andrew’s and Dan’s development as instructors.
So, I apologize for my radio silence. Look out for more regular posts in the coming weeks!