British politicians have not been immune to the violent crime that is so plaguing the citizenry. In addition to the stabbing/shooting of Labor MP Jo Cox by an alleged British Nationalist, 4 out of 5 MPs have reported being victims of intrusive or aggressive behavior including threats with knives and hammers.
Following a spate of death-threats revolving around the Brexit vote and change in Prime Minister, a company has stepped forward to offer MPs and and their staffs basic self-defense training.
The training, known as ‘Krav Maga’, combines elements of jiu jitsu, judo, boxing and street fighting and is specifically designed to fend off gun or knive attacks.
The free lessons, which are being provided by Parli-Training, are aimed at protecting MPs against stalkers, terrorists and political extremists.
MPs will be taught how to defend themselves against swinging punches to the head and attempted knife attacks.
Two MPs as well as 18 assistants attended the first Krav Maga training session a in Whitehall on Thursday, according to the company’s founder Mendora Ogbogbo.
I am not quite sure what to make of this. First, the very notion of “self-defense” is a little fuzzy in England to say the least. Just last week we reported on a homeowner who was arrested for assaulting a burglar who tried to stab him in his own home.
The second issue I have is the efficacy of such minimal training. I have been taking Krav Maga for the past year, though my summer fishing-guide and Mr. Mom schedules caused me to cut back from 3-4x a week to barely 1x if I was lucky. Now that the kids are in school again I have ramped my regimen back up, but I have noticed a difference.
I passed my yellow belt test last February, when I was training full time. After missing so many classes in just a two-month window my skills have degraded significantly. We did choke-defense last week and I frankly sucked. The instinctive reaction has lost its edge, and I found myself having trouble remembering the right series of moves for the right situation.
The key to Krav is that you meet a threat with violent, explosive force. There are no rules in street-fighting, If I am legally justified in laying a finger on someone (again, not a given in the UK), I am justified in gouging eyes, striking the throat, or kicking the perp in the groin. I am not sure that this is the kind of training they will receive.
As far as learning disarming techniques, even after a year of training I am not confident in my abilities to execute the moves effectively when facing a lethal threat. A couple of classes are not enough.
I suppose the most important lessons you can learn in such a basic level of training revolves around not giving up. In fact, that was the goal of the yellow belt test. Our instructors were not looking for perfection in our movements, they were trying to get us to quit the grueling physical challenge of the test. But the lesson is important.
NEVER GIVE UP!
Fight back for all you are worth. If that lesson is instilled in the MPs and their staffs, then it isn’t entirely worthless. But a couple of classes do not a martial-artist make. It is even more important to simply be vigilant (Condition Yellow), keeping an eye out for threats and not getting complacent. The best defense against a violent threat is to not be facing one in the first place.
My instructor Jim C. demonstrates various choke-defense techniques. Both the photo at the top and the video are from the Bullman’s Kickboxing & Krav Maga Facebook Page.