One of our Texas friends could write a manual on how to live life to the max. She is whip smart, stays in top shape, participates in some extreme adventures, is a fabulous cook, and enjoys the great outdoors in all its glory. She’s not a big fan of gyms with weights and machines and would rather keep herself in condition by participating in activities with a physical endurance component – like frigid overnights on a mountain after trekking a few miles over challenging terrain to get there.
We chatted over dinner and she mentioned that she was enrolled at a local Krav Maga place, then invited us along to see what it was all about. She wanted Sheila to join in the class, but Sheila only had golf clothes in her suitcase, no workout gear. “Bring your camera,” she said.
Krav Maga (translated from Hebrew) means contact combat. Yup. That’s what the classes involve. It’s a fusion of techniques from boxing, wrestling, and judo, developed for the Israeli Defense Forces, and combined with fight training – with the end goal of self-defense.
The focus is on real-world situations and learning efficient methods to fend off attacks from the bad guys and take control of the direction of the attacks. Originally developed by Hungarian-Israeli martial artist Imi Lichtenfeld in the 1930s, Krav Maga became a practical way to combine other fighting styles (including street fighting) and teach them quickly to the Israeli military. As time passed, other techniques using elbows and knee strikes, low kicks, Aikido and Jiu-jitsu were also included under the broad umbrella of Krav Maga.
Krav Maga has a philosophy emphasizing aggression, and simultaneous defensive and offensive maneuvers. Variations of Krav Maga are now being used by military, law enforcement, and intelligence organizations around the world. The Brits and the US Marine Corps teach their own versions to their recruits.
For the average person off the street, Krav Maga teaches street self-defense using:
Krav Maga also promotes awareness, strength, and self-defense skills specifically for women. Some locations have classes that focus on rape prevention techniques and tactics, to build both inner and outer strength. Women can learn to spot danger signs, but also learn how to defend against common chokes, grabs, bearhugs, and other attacks, including fighting on the ground and when confronted by a weapon. This allows women to leave class feeling safe, strong, and empowered.
The instructor for the class we attended, Nick Delgadillo, emphasized to the Level 1 group that the aim is to “defend and then attack.” As the class continued and various moves were practiced, the mantra, “As I’m striking, I need to improve my position,” became internalized.
Krav Maga is designed to be practical and intuitive for people of any age, shape, or size.
Tips and reinforcements are delivered in a positive way throughout the class:
The progressive curriculum covers the most common types of attacks and threats first, to make students comfortable with using basic blocks, punches, chokeholds, and strikebacks. In later classes, students focus on more violent situations involving weapons, multiple attackers, and ground fighting. Krav Maga students work with each another in reality-based exercises, and the ambience is usually very supportive, yet goal-oriented.
What To Expect
Fully certified instructors guide training sessions and make sure that the environment is open and positive. Krav Maga is designed to teach students self-defense techniques in a short amount of time, with the goal that you should start feeling safer and more confident almost immediately. Students are taught how to react to the initial shock and paralyzing fear that comes with a sudden attack.
A quote from Nick’s website:
“Defending yourself requires that you are able to make an aggressive and violent counterattack. This is one of the ugly realities of self-defense and this is the truly hard part for nice, normal people living in the real world. Come train with us and we’ll teach you how to make an ugly face, hit hard, and go home safe.”
Defense Krav Maga is located at:
4036 Kemp Blvd. Wichita Falls, TX 76308
As of this writing, classes are held:
Krav Maga – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 5:30 PM.
Precision Striking – Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 PM
They’d love to hear from you. Visit the website, www.defensewf.com to check them out. 🙂
Nick Delgadillo is a Starting Strength Seminar Staff Coach, Krav Maga instructor, and Muay Thai and Brazilian JiuJitsu practitioner. He’s been teaching people of all walks of life how to fight and lift for over 10 years. Nick is highly effective in preparing people both mentally and physically for sport, combat, or the game of life.
Notes from Patti:
Nick’s class was astounding in its content. I came away with a sense that this should be the type of self-defense class for me. If I still lived there, I would sign up in a New York minute! Bravo to Nick Delgadillo for empowering the class members, and to V. for taking me to the class. 🙂
The Kerrians are a fictional couple, but the class (V. included) and photos are real.
Banner and Nick’s photo at the end: courtesy of Defense Krav Maga, Wichita Falls, Texas.
Photos of the class members in action: Patti Phillips
Thinking of moving to Ireland?
And you think joining the Garda might be a good idea?
And you think you’re in great physical shape?
Consider this: before any candidate can be included in the final group of applicants, he/she must pass a test for physical endurance, known as The Physical Competence Test, in addition to the Shuttle Test. As I mentioned in the previous article, “An Garda Siochana, the Irish National Police,” there were recently over 60,000 applicants, so competition is tough. To give you an idea of the requirements, the Garda website provides this chart for the Shuttle (also called Beep test) so that you can compare your capabilities to the expected norms:
MINIMUM Standards for the Shuttle Test (running back and forth in a gym – 20 meters (about 65 feet) in each direction – the levels indicating how many round trips you should make within a set time)
|18-25yrs||Level 8.8||Level 7.6|
|26-35yrs||Level 8.1||Level 6.6|
MINIMUM Standards for the ‘Sit Up’ Test (one minute)
MINIMUM Standards for the ‘Push Up’ Test (no time restriction)
Physical Competence Tests –
This part of the physical test demonstrates whether the candidate is capable of chasing after a suspect, and then, once the suspect is caught, struggle with him/her in order to make the arrest. Because, trust me, if you can’t do this part of the test, you won’t make it as a street cop.
Part 1 – the Obstacle Course
You have three minutes and 20 seconds to get around the course three times. Go!
After a running start,
Slower than 3:20? You fail.
Part 2 – the Push-Pull Machine Test
What’s the maximum force you can muster? This test indicates how strong you are when you’re battling against a suspect who doesn’t want to be caught – after you’ve chased him/her for several minutes through the alleys.
A video detailing the Physical Competence Test can be found here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXo3roYoCUw&feature=youtu.be
Get past this pre-screening stage and there are a number of tests to eliminate the possibility of the unqualified becoming a Garda Trainee. If you pass each of the interviews, psych evaluations, personality questionnaire, language proficiency assessment, report writing tasks, written tests, medical exam, and physical tests, (and anything else the powers-that-be deem necessary) and rank high enough on the list of qualified applicants, you might become a Garda trainee. If so, you would attend the Garda college to complete the first 34 weeks of your training. After that, you will have both supervised and unsupervised field training, with periodic rigorous testing along the way. It will take about two years to finish, but at the end, you will attain a BA in Applied Policing.
The Garda College is the national center for police training, development and education within the Irish State. The coursework is divided into two major sections, Operational Training and Crime Training.
Operational Training consists partly of:
Candidates learn to drive the official vehicles and based on operation needs, may also learn to drive vans, 4×4 vehicles, motorcycles, and H.G.V.s
After initial firearms training, if hired, the candidates permitted to carry firearms must take refresher firearms training three times a year. They are checked for Range Safety, Weapon Safety and accuracy. They also receive tactical training, as well as how to use non-lethal weapons such a tasers.
Constitutional, Human Rights & Diversity Office
Candidates become familiar with the proper way to handle incidents that may involve human rights, diversity as well as any possible constitutional violations.
Communications and Information Technology Training
A.F.I.S. (Automated Fingerprint Identification System)
A.V.P.L.S. Automatic Vehicle Personnel Location System)
C.A.D. (Computer Aided Dispatch)
I.C.C.S. (Integrated Communications Control System)
MOS computer Program skills
Rannóg na Gaeilge
If needed, candidates learn and become proficient in the Irish language.
Crime Training consists of:
Students learn in small groups with realistic policing re-enactments and must use the group discussions to solve the problems, just as would be done in actual policing.
During this basic training, candidates would:
Develop skills needed for traffic issues (checkpoints, drink/drug driving etc.)
Crime Training used to be known as the Detective Training School. These days it incorporates the Garda Technical Bureau, the Forensic Science Laboratory, and even some outside agencies. Also studied: Basic Fire and Arson, Money Laundering, Financial Crime, and Drug Awareness.
Additional course work or refresher courses are available for the police after they have served in the field for three years (or if the local station has a need for it) in: Fingerprints, Photography, Forensics, Ballistics, Documents, Mapping, and Forensic Law.
Special Investigative Training is handled here for Family Liaison Officers as well as for the Road Security Criminal Interdiction Awareness Program.
The Garda Síochana Interview Model has four different levels, ranging from basic questions of witnesses, to serious and complex investigations, including those involving sex crimes.
After a fairly rigorous combination of classwork, supervised and unsupervised field work, along with continuous testing during the two years, graduating candidates are able to work in Community Policing, Traffic Control, Public Order, Detective Duties, investigating Organized Crime, Fraud and Drugs Offenses.
“Crime prevention is everybody’s business,” a quote from the Garda site, is a motto they promote to all the candidates, as well as the community at large.
How does this training compare with that of your local law enforcement agency?
*All photos from www.garda.ie
An Garda Síochána
Ever wonder what it would be like to be an Irish cop? Not a cop of Irish heritage living in the USA, but a cop who lives and works in Ireland. Is the job more glamorous or grittier than the U.S. version? Take a look at some of the aspects of the job as well as the requirements for becoming a candidate for the two-year training program for the Garda.
An Garda Síochána is the national police service of Ireland. Back in the 1920s, Ireland had just become a free state and needed a strong national police force. Almost 100 years later, it has over 14,000 members, has offices in every county, and is now considered to be a community based law enforcement agency.
A Commissioner heads the agency, assisted by Deputy and Assistant Commissioners. Ireland is divided into six geographical regions for the Garda’s purposes, with 28 divisions, each headed by a Chief Superintendent. Superintendents oversee the 96 districts scattered throughout the divisions. Inspectors and Sergeants conduct investigations, with the help of the Garda trainees and civilian employees.
A statement on the Garda website reveals current philosophy: “Modern policing entails much more than crime fighting. Reducing the fear of crime and working in partnership with communities are the keys to making a positive difference and improving quality of life for all citizens.”
‘Reducing the fear of crime’ is a terrific goal and one that many hope is reflected in the Garda’s daily community interactions. Very little is worse for a civilian than being afraid to leave one’s house because of terrorism, or of local hooligans taking over the streets. We, as citizens, want to feel safe in our own homes and neighborhoods, wherever we live in the world. Bravo to the Garda and the community for making that a stated objective as they work to reduce crime, both locally and across Ireland.
What else does the Garda do?
In 2016, over 200 million Euros was earmarked to provide upgrades to the Garda training and equipment. That investment was made so that they could “attract, develop and retain the best people.” It’s a tough world we live in, and we all need hi-tech support and well-trained personnel to catch the bad guys and help the community.
Cyber crime is here to stay and the Garda is working to create groups throughout the country that can address the issues involved, with specially trained officers at work.
Drugs, organized crime, sex crimes, human trafficking – all require a different type of scrutiny, investigation, and partnerships with other agencies and departments than ever before. Intensive training in these areas is supplied during Garda college.
An effort to address the problems of the victims is reflected as well in the establishment of Victim Service Offices.
Crime prevention and detection is foremost in every law enforcement agency, but the Garda also works to improve road safety, reduce local “anti-social behavior,” and maintain Irish national security. Part of their strategy is to be more visible in the communities they serve.
They might also:
What does the vetting process entail?
The initial application is filed online by most applicants and eligibility requirements must be met before moving to the next level of screening.
Sounds reasonable, although I would have trouble with the two-language requirement. I just don’t have the ear for languages, but I do know that it helps to have that second language in many parts of the U.S.
The candidates must also demonstrate good character, be certified that they are healthy, of sound mind, and be physically fit to do the job. With the many thousands of candidates, competition is fierce and only the top applicants will move on for the interviews and other assessments.
What’s the pay scale?
The yearly pay for a rookie cop is close to 24,000 Euros, with an additional 4,600 Euros for housing. On March 7, 2017, the rate of exchange was 1 Euro=1.06 U.S. dollar. The Garda candidates have no choice of assignment, so the housing allowance is an incentive to get qualified applicants to apply even if the assignment might be to an expensive big city. The Commissioner has the right to place the successful candidates anywhere within Ireland.
On this side of the pond, law enforcement pay scales might not be broken down so visibly, but we know that the bigger cities offer more money to their officers to adjust for the steeper cost of living. After 20 years of service, members of the Garda can make 50,000 Euros, which includes the same housing allowance. There is a possibility for overtime in some areas, but as everywhere else in the world, sleepy little villages never seem to have as much crime as the big cities.
Physical Competency Test for pre-entry testing plus information about the training program itself.
*Photo credits and quotes: www.garda.ie
Visit them for more information about An Garda Siochana.