Over the weekend our Krav instructor was at the Tactical Defense Institute getting a brush up on his technique in impact weapons such as batons, kubatons, canes and other striking instruments.
Whenever our instructor goes out to train we can always expect to go over that same material when he gets back. When he went to a ground fighting class he came back and we did ground fighting for a month. When he went to a knife class we spent a few classes on knives. When he went to a personal control class we were doing joint manipulations and submissions. So, I was very much expecting some impact weapons when showing up at class.
I was not disappointed.
He walked into class carrying a handful of foam paint brushes. These would be our trainer kubatons. He also had an armful of foam wrapped PVC pipes for batons.
Just as we were getting started a fourteen-year-old girl and her family came in and our instructor asked her if she wanted to participate. Even though she shied away from the idea at first, he convinced her to come and join us.
We worked some strikes and simple techniques with our foamish kubatons and then we worked on each other. There was only two of us in class besides the girl since my husband injured his hand and so I was paired with the girl for the first part of the class. It was no surprise to me that she was very timid and it took a lot of encouragement to get her to do any kind of striking but she was willing to learn and apply herself. She did very well for her first time.
Later on we switched partners and I got paired with the biggest guy in our class. A former wrestler who is probably on the plus side of 250 lbs and somewhere north of 6'3". But he knows how to spar. His seventeen year-old daughter comes to Krav with him often and he doesn't let up on us little gals. He'll make me work for whatever I get which is great.
After a while our instructor introduced a scenario. He was trying to explain to the girl that someone trying to take her to another location was meaning her great harm and it was time to go nuts.
He started circling her asking her to go to a party. She curled her arms to her chest and was saying no but he persisted. Finally he reached out his hand and grabbed hers and started dragging her away. She laughed the sort of nervous giggle of someone who doesn't know what to do and made a few attempts to hit around his hand but he was able to drag her off the mat with little effort.
Then he turned to me.
"You want to come to a party with me?"
"No!" I answered.
He was circling me and staying deliberately outside of my striking distance.
"Come on. Come to a party with me."
"No! Get away!"
"Come on. It's a really cool party. Come with me."
He wavered on my striking boundary and when he leaned forward to cross it I plowed into him, striking his chest with my open hand and bringing my trainer kubaton down on his neck and collar bone. Over and over again I smashed his chest and collar bone area in what he called a recurring hammer first.
I drove him back and disengaged, stepped back, got back in my fighting stance and said, "I don't want to fight!"
He laughed, "I was trying to show her what you would do if I grabbed you but you didn't let me get to that."
Everyone laughed. My husband, JD, sitting on the side lines just smiled and said, "BIG difference from just a couple of months ago! Good job."
So as our instructor approached me again he said, "Let me grab you this time."
I let him grab me by the throat, took my kubaton and got control of his arm and when I had it he said, "Now what are you going to do?" And without much thought I delivered a pretty good kick to the groin. Perhaps just a little harder than I had meant. Even with a cup he fell to the floor with a look of discomfort on his face.
"I meant TELL me what you were going to do."
We had a little more fun after that. Every great once in a while we abandon all structure and just play and which ever student our instructor is playing with ends up on the floor in some strange ball of pain-induced submission. Every GREAT once in a while we students can keep the upper hand and get him to tap out. I was laughing as I tapped out, laying on the floor, with my feet out in front of me and my arm twisted in ways I'm pretty sure arms are not supposed to twist.
When we left class JD told me again what a big difference it was watching me from just a month ago when I would let him and others get far too close to me.
I told him I had that "ah-ha" moment and realized that if someone is getting close to me and I tell him no or to get away from me that his continuing to get closer to me is an overt threat and I will attack when he crosses my strike boundary.
He was pleased with this. It took me a little bit to finally get it but now that it's there it's pretty set.
And I am LOVING working with a kubaton. I've carried one for years and have always liked the idea of a striking weapon (of course, mine also has pepper spray in it so it's even better) but I've never had much training in one. I was always told that I could use a kubaton similarly as to how I would use a knife and that was enough for me, but seeing all the other fun stuff that can be done with it makes me that much more happy to have one on my person. The kubaton is my new best friend and I hope we continue to work with it for some time.
I know eventually we are going to be moving on the the baton and I'll see what there is to see there but I'm thinking the kubaton and I are going to be special friends for quite some time.